Ms. Jones* reached out to us during that first summer of the pandemic. In March of 2020, multiple crises had converged to a breaking point for her family. As the virus counts rose and shut down orders went into place, Ms. Jones’ husband was in the midst of a serious mental health crisis.
The family had been facing challenges for some time. The couple married young, just out of high school, and quickly had two babies together. They were struggling to make ends meet, and dealing with the husband’s mental health issues without professional support.
In March, after an episode of violence, Ms. Jones called the police and had her husband removed from the home. Afraid of what her husband might do, she got a Temporary Protective Order to try and keep her and her children safe.
Shortly after, he served her with a divorce. He had obtained a good lawyer, and she was intimidated about the situation. Ms. Jones got in touch with Legal Aid, and Attorney Mara Block took her case.
Quickly, the Legal Aid team got a temporary consent agreement to get child support started, because her husband hadn’t been paying anything, and she was struggling to keep her family afloat. This helped give her some temporary relief while Legal Aid lawyers worked on the divorce.
At first, Mara in the team made some progress in mediation, but soon conversations came to a grinding halt. After months of harassment, Mr. Jones decided to waive his rights to the children. The Legal Aid team was able to get Ms. Jones an increase in child support, so that she can afford to keep her children safe and housed. With full legal and physical custody, and safety from her abuser, Ms. Jones and her kids are able to start fresh.
Mara said, “I think it made such a difference that somebody really had her back, saying (to her abuser): we are not going to be intimidated by you, and we are going to get what we’re entitled to under the law.”
Thank you, Mara, for your advocacy!
*name changed to protect client confidentiality
It’s almost #GivingTuesday, and we need your help.
Did you know that women aren’t guaranteed lawyers in domestic violence situations? That means that victims either have to go it alone, or have to find funds to hire a lawyer themselves. This can be an impossible task since financial manipulation goes hand in hand with domestic abuse.
That’s why we need you.
Studies show that lawyers are the best way to prevent future violence. You can help get free lawyers to women living in poverty, by making a donation to Legal Aid this #GivingTuesday. Your dollars have a direct impact on survivors and their children. With your help, victims can leave abusive situations and keep their children safe. Please make a donation now at: http://give.atlantalegalaid.org/givingtuesday (all donations will be matched up to $20,000!)