Thank you all for the helpful advice. My situation is rather complicated by the nature of our custody agreement and the unwillingness of my partner to stop being co-dependent with his daughter.
Assistance in our state (PA) is almost non-exsistant. We are just over the income level for food stamps and energy assistance. We all receive medical coverage thank goodness, due to my partner and I both qualifying for workers with disabilities insurance,
Child support is a joke due to my partner. Yes, he filed for child support on the father, who promptly "injured himself" on the job and quit working, which lowered his income and resulted in a lowered support payment of $50.00/month. As for the mother, she does not work and is required to pay the minimum of $50.00/month, which her father pays for her, so net result is zero.
We have had many heated discussions about the whole situation and a few all-out fights. We both agree that the child will never return to either parent, but that is where our agreeing ends.
I am now just interested in making sure I can get myself financially secure for retirement and raising this little girl for 12 more years. My partner's health is a concern, and I have urged him to make arrangements in the event he should leave us, but he refuses to discuss the matter.
I don't know what my options would be and don't have the funds to consult my own attorney. Any input?