I'm in the planning stages of officially separating from my husband. Since our situation seems slightly unorthodox, I am having trouble finding the right kind of advice for how we should proceed. I'll try to keep this a concise list for simplicity.
1. Currently (and historically) he works and I SAH/homeschool our two kids, 5 and 2. He makes about 60k, and I currently make no income. We are in a lease through May, and hope to stay together until then to avoid breaking lease and pay off some debt.
2. I am interviewing for a job that will hopefully schedule me for Fri-Sun shifts so we can avoid childcare. H will adjust his schedule to M-Th. My job will likely get me about $800/month- just enough to pay rent on an apartment. We're talking about getting separate apartments in the same multi-building complex located on the bus line and within walking distance to the job I'm expecting to get. He busses to his job already, and the car is used for errands and taking kids for recreation. We also have bikes with attachments for kids (trailer and tag-along) we've used for family bike rides.
3. We want to attempt 50/50 custody: I'll have kids Mon-Thu and he'll keep them while I work Fri-Sun. Overnights for kids with H are yet to be determined, as DD still nurses and both children may have trouble spending nights without me for awhile.
4. We need to figure out how much he should pay to me, since my income will only cover my rent. Should we arrange some sort of salary for the childcare/schooling I provide?
5. I am uninsured and facing a hip surgery (should be minor, but obviously an expense).
6. We have debt- currently around 5k on cards and 20k for a new car we bought (replaced two old ones). I hope we can eliminate the card debt and be left with only the car to deal with by the time we separate in May.
7. How should we handle the car? It's brand new, but was recently vandalized. We're looking at around $500 for repairs (insurance deductible), I think, to get it back to new again. Should we sell it outright or create some contract for sharing it indefinitely? I was thinking we could allocate the car use to whichever parent is with kids, returning it to other parent with full gas tank. What about repairs? How would that be handled?
8. As long as I am SAH/Homeschooling, I don't see how I can bring my income higher than the aforementioned $800/month. So, I don't see any possibilities for me buying a car or establishing savings. If we're officially divorced, I can probably get medicaid and probably food stamps. We're in a metro area and will be able to use the bus for solo trips and some recreational ventures.
9. Since we have no savings and are basically living on credit and paycheck, how can we afford legal and financial advice? Do you know of alternatives or ideas how we can agree without spending much $?
10. Lastly, I have no family in our area. I moved to H's hometown for his ability to be more financially stable here upon becoming pregnant. Should I include an annual stipend for traveling to see my family with kids, or is that a bit much?
11. Taxes- how do we do that? Who claims what and how?
12. Moving house- As I mentioned, we're planning on separate apartments, which should add up to about what we pay in rent in our current house. I suspect I should have the financial agreement in place in order to have my own lease. There's really no other way I see I could get my own lease when I'll barely make the rent in monthly income. Thoughts on that?
Am I forgetting anything major here?
Just to add a bit of detail, he's a pretty great dad and just not so great husband. I trust he'll be fair and respectful with the kids during his time with them, and I have no desire to be unfair with him in any way. I only want to ensure that I am always provided for as long as I am the childcare provider. If kids go to school some years down the road, I would obviously be able to earn more income, but we are both pretty set on homeschooling if at all possible. DD is only 2, so she's not able to attend school for free yet anyway. I don't suspect he will be playing dirty, but he does get that type of streak in our arguments at times, which has me only slightly on edge. I know he has the best interest of our children as his top priority, and screwing me over would ultimately do that to the kids. He has no desire to sabotage his parental rights or relationship with the kids.