You would get child tax credits plus the £65 per week plus child benefit. When do you finish studying? It is possible he could be required to pay more whilst you look for work but doubtful as it seems he is in a lowpaid job.
Check out what state help you will be eligible for at www.entitledto.co.uk before you go so you have some idea what your income will be. Financial settlements depend on the particular facts. There is no law that assets are shared mathematically 50:50. Unless there is more than enough to meet the needs of both parties assets are shared according to need and the priority is the welfare of children and keeping a roof over their heads. When there is a discrepancy in incomes and a higher earning spouse has the ability to pay spouse maintenance may be a factor.
A free first appointment is for the solicitor to give you a general idea of the process and for you to determine whether you want to use that particular solicitor. It's unlikely you will get a detailed breakdown of a possible settlement at the appointment, but if you haven't already done so you can check the solicitor is actually a solicitor. There is nothing wrong with using a paralegal or legal assistant but you should know what you are paying for and some people only realise later they haven't engaged a solicitor. Also if the solicitor is a member of the family lawyers organisation Resolution it's worth satisfying yourself that they are committed to the code of practice to resolve issues in a non confrontational way.
Arrangements for children need to agreed rather than one separated parenting making decisions unilaterally. Good contact for children relies on parents working together and respecting each others right to privacy and a family life. Trying to negotiate contact arrangements that can work for everyone isn't restricting contact. Perhaps mediation would help to defuse the situation and find a way forward.
OK, deep breath. Go along with a good idea of your marital financial situation - any equity in the house, pensions, cars etc etc.
Beyond a startpoint of a 50:50 split in marital assets plus child maintenance there doesn't seem to be any specific requirement for STBXDH to support you. However, the children's interests come first and your children are small: without spousal maintenance what kind of lifestyle would your children have - would you be able to support them? will your studying mean you can earn more in the future? So go along to the solicitor with some idea of a realistic long term plan.
The toughest thing about divorce is that you have to negotiate with the person you are divorcing, and you tend to be doing it shortly after the split when things are at their most emotional and everyone is a bit irrational. It is tough.
You don't have to go with the first solicitor you find. Make appointments with 3 or 4 and go with the one you feel most comfortable with - you're likely to be spending quite a bit of time in their company, so find someone you can trust to work with you.
I don't know about legal stuff I'm afraid, but do know that husbands don't always know either and so try not to get worried. I would ask questions like what responsibilities does he have to provide for you while you train? Does he have to keep the family home for you and dcs? sit down and think what you would like to know. Also I booked a free half hour, took one and a half hours and she said that the first consultaion was free however long it took. Hope you have a good solicitor? I would also advise that it may be worth employing a 'better' solicitor,I was advised that some may be cheaper per hour/letter etc but won't be as competent so will have to write/ring/do more work.
My husband has walked out on myself and the dc (aged 4 and 7). He says there is noone else . I suggested last night that we sort out days for him to have the children so that they can get into a routine as at the moment he is turning up randomly whenever he feel like it and then the children are asking can he stay for tea and to put them to bed, which he does! When I suggested this he got really nasty and said that if I am going to restrict access and he can't turn up whenever he wants then best we talk money as he is not willing to pay for anything more than neccessary if I wont let him do what he wants. I went on the maintenance calculator and according to that I am eligible to claim £65 per week. I have booked a free 30 minute meeting with a solicitor on Monday, what questions should I ask her? Also would £65 per week be all the financial help I could get bearing in mind I am a full time student and sahm. We have a mortgage and all the bits that go along with owning your own home, I really can't afford to support myself and the dc alone . Thanks for any advice you may have, I have also posted this in Legal Matters but thought I would also ask those of you that have been there. x