No idea where to begin

I will be choppy in this post, hoping to not lose readers to length…

Together 20 years, married 12. No children. Shared debt/house/car payment/loans. He left me in Nov 2012 ( Lived in another room in the house since Aug 2012, then physically moved from the home in Nov 2012). He makes about $18k more per year, than I do, with the ability to make additional income at will. He wants me to sell the house (while I and my 2 dogs live there),then pay off the debts and be done. I don’t really want to leave my home, but cannot afford the house/car payments and debts alone…I certainly didn’t buy them alone…

Since he left me, should I file for separation and divorce or should he?

Can I expect any type of separation support or alimony? How can I even guess how much, so I can plan on what to do?

What should I do to protect my rights?

What do I do?!?

  1. It doesn’t matter who initiates the divorce process.

  2. Maybe – however your incomes are relatively close, so you may not get much. There isn’t a set formula for alimony so I couldn’t begin to tell you an amount, but it’s based on the dependent spouses need and the other spouses ability to pay.

  3. You need to start gathering/making copies/documenting as much paperwork as possible on bank accounts, cars, houses,retirement, 401k, valuables, etc. You’ll need to know all this during asset distribution which is essentially 50/50, but there are some arguments for separate property or what you two want to trade baseball card style.

Neither party can file for divorce until November, 2013. If you are interested in settling the other issues (support and division of assets), you could consider filing for those claims now as well. The court considers 16 factors to determine whether you are entitled to alimony.

In addition to gathering documents, you would be well served by having a consultation to discuss all the outstanding issues and your options for how to proceed.