This is not the time to be nice. You got out for a reason and this is not the man who needs to have your kids. I hope you got a great lawyer. Have faith mama.... I went thru a very ugly custody battle and was too nice in beginning.
Some tips :
Read the retainer agreement if there is not a retainer agreement ask for one.
Phone calls to the lawyer offices cost big bucks. no matter if it is a 1 min convo they charge you for 15 min. which is a lot of money. ( upwards of $50)
So gather your questions and be direct and to the point to get your moneys worth .
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING
Keep a notebook and a calender. Courts want to see the kids with the parent who tries to work with the other parent not antagonize and hurt the opposite parent by use of the kids. (One reason I ended up with full custody was because xh antagonized me for years using kids as weapons... courts cited that in the decision)
Make sure you have the kids the majority of the time they are not in day care. and write it down.
I would contact the Womens shelter or womens services in your area and see if they can guide you thru this time. Many have a legal advocate, counseling services for you and your kids. As well as there being support groups, and simply said they know the ropes.
Have you been to the human services office yet? They may be able to help you with food expenses.
This is such a hard time. Good for you for getting out. Take care of yourself. Stay strong.