You found out that your husband has filed for divorce and now you wonder how you are going to make it on your own. You have lived with his support since your first child was born and haven't been in the workforce since then. Now that you must try to make ends meet, you might feel flustered. Fortunately, you have some protections in California that you might be able to count on.
Financial support might be possible
You might be able to get both spousal and child support to help ensure that your standard of living remains the same as you are accustomed to now. Of course, the child support would be contingent upon you having custody of the children.
Spousal support is a complex issue in California. In most cases, alimony payments are only temporary and have an expiration date. The exception to this is if you have been married for longer than 10 years. Then, your marriage qualifies as a long-term marriage. This means that you could be eligible for permanent spousal support payments. Those payments will continue until you die, your ex dies, you get remarried or you meet a condition the court sets as a criterion for the support to end.
Negotiations for child custody and property division are often possible
You have the option of negotiating the property division and child support agreements for the divorce. Typically, this involves mediation. You should prepare for the first session by finding out which assets and debts must be divided. Make sure that you have an idea of the settlement you want, but don't become too entrenched in your position - leave room for negotiation.
Mediation works best when both parties are willing to compromise. You should also make a list of issues that need to be addressed in the custody agreement. For this agreement, your child's best interests should always come first. Don't try to use child custody to get back at your ex for the divorce, and don't allow him to use it punitively.
You will be fine
Even though the divorce might have been a shock, you can take control of your situation. Don't let the past - or your ex - take control over you now. Learn about your rights under California law and be prepared to exercise those rights. Additionally, be sure to take care of yourself so that you can show your children that it is possible to overcome difficult situations. You may need to brush up on your skill set to re-enter the workforce once again, so make sure that you do all that you can to enhance your abilities while you receive your spousal support payments.