C., if you have already filed your paperwork then the date of separation has already been established. If he rented the apartment for himself, then that is where he lives. You and the kids can stay in your home and you can change the locks. He lost the right to come and go at your home the day he rented the apartment. He does not get to come back and forth without your permission. He can stop paying the bills. You should get a lawyer. You can charge your attorneys' fees on a credit card and ask the court to have him pay, including the monies owed to your prior attorney. The courts are very familiar with situations just like yours. However, in going through a divorce, one seems to dwell on their circumstances and think they are unique. They are not and given time, the court and attorneys will work it out. I suggest you immediately seek the advice of a family law specialist. You don't mention how long you were married but instead state that you have been a stay at home mom for almost 10 years. if you were married that long too, then you will get spousal support in addition to your child support. I believe you are qualified as a long term marriage in california. So spousal support will be applicable to you. There are so many things that attorneys know that we do not, and every divorce is the same yet different and what applies to one may not apply to yours, so definitely retain yourself another lawyer. Ask for references. Call the Sate Bar Legal Referral in your area and get a referral. Remember, you don't have to like your attorney, you just have to have a good one. They get paid to make the decisions you are not equipped to make . Good luck and seriously, get yourself a lawyer. your kids need it and so do you.