Today was my first meeting with my attorney. I was put in touch with him by one of my good friends, and he's amazing. He was so nice, and even though I was incredibly nervous he made me feel a little more at ease.
We went over the things M and I have already talked about - visitation, child support, etc. I didn't realize we could put stipulations about alcohol and smoking (both of which M claims to have re-quit after he broke up with his girlfriend, but we all know how much I can trust anything he says) during visitation times. He let me know about that, and he thought the smoking thing would be especially appropriate due to E's prematurity. I was pleased.
He brought up something else... alimony. I had planned on asking for some, but didn't expect it to be a whole lot. Certainly a fraction of whatever child support was. Besides, we were only married for 2 years. But he suggested that I ask for a little less than DOUBLE child support in alimony.
I'm really struggling with that. My main concern is that I get enough money from child support/alimony/whatever you want to call it to cover daycare. I can handle diapers and food, and I have many generous friends who have given me hand me down clothes for E. The figure he's suggesting would put me a couple hundred dollars over that.
Which is great. Except.. I know M's stuck in the two bedroom apartment he moved into when he moved in with his girlfriend. I know what that apartment costs. I know how much he makes. I have a general picture of what his other bills are.
He simply can't afford it. There is NO WAY he can afford to pay me that much.
My attorney pointed out that the point of alimony is to try to maintain the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed, or at the very least equalize mine and M's standards of living. That would effectively do that - he'd have to move in with family or rent a room, which is what I'm doing. He wouldn't, however, have the luxury of being able to apply for public assistance, since he would still be in too high an income bracket (I think).
I'm just not sure how to reconcile this all. On the one hand, he caused this. He chose this for us. I didn't. And when you make a choice so rashly, the consequences usually crash down on you pretty heavily. That's life. And he has to live with the consequences of the choices he's made.
On the other hand.. I'm not the kind of person that can look at another person's unfortunate situation and say, "Sucks to be you!" I'm forever putting myself in other people's shoes, and when other people hurt, so do I. Even people I don't particularly like, or am mad at. Or who are just plain douchebags, as M is. I can't imagine inflicting that kind of stress on him. Even though he earned it. I've realized that this is an inherent personality flaw that I need to work on if I'm ever going to survive in this cruel, cold world, but that doesn't help me now.
The only thing that makes it seem even kind of okay is the realization that I have to look after E. Getting the money is best for him in the short term and the long term. I think.