Oh dear, this is a bit close to home ! My wife ( who is American ) went back to America 6 months ago but at least we're not talking divorce just now and still remain on very good terms.
In answer to your specific queries, it is impossible to comment in too much detail without knowing your circumstances. But yes, he can claim periodical payments from you. He can also claim a share of your assets. But - - -
One cannot get blood out of a stone. If you cannot afford to make periodical payments, a judge would not order them except at a very nominal level, and 50% of nothing is nothing.
As for your husband saying he wants a low paid ethical job - well he can, but if he is capable of gainful employment producing a reasonable wage, and deliberately chooses to take a low paid job, I don't think he can expect you to pay the price for his ethical scruples.
As to whether you claim anything from him - the answer is Yes. Claim everything. That's not to say you'll get it. You probably won't. But the reason why you claim the whole lot is simply that, if you don't, you will prejudice your right to claim it later if circumstances change. At this stage, madam, you don't know enough about your husband's circumstances to come to any conclusion about whether a claim by you is realistic or not. So claim the lot. Have you considered what might happen if your husband prospers and lands on his feet ?
The fact that you have a dependent child is likely to be very much in your favour, incidentally.
Furst of all, check if you are eligible for any form of legal assistance. Go to the CAB website ' adviceguide ' which will give you the current limits.
Secondly, there is information on this website which you will find helpful. It is designed to help those who cannot afford a solicitor. Do not despair. I can assure you that some posters on this site, who have represented themselves, have achieved rather good results.
Sooner or later you will come across a rather daunting document called a form E
, which you will have to fill in. My advice is to download it, and start collecting together the information you will need to complete it. Try not to be too scared of it, most of the form won't apply to you anyway. If you can show that you can't afford to pay anything, or have no assets worth claiming, it must help your cause. Do a detailed budget of your income and expenditure, and, most importantly, collect the documentary evidence ( bills, payslips, bank statements, credit card bills ) to back up what you say.
And please bear in mind that we will be happy to give you moral and, I hope, practical support !