Nancy Gains Confidence and
a New Start
A woman and her children find safety and
financial stability after an abusive marriage
For 19 years, Nancy stayed with her husband and the father of her three children in spite of his controlling behavior and physical abuse. She feared their children would be emotionally scarred if she did not keep the family together. Nancy's husband watched her every move, limiting her abilities to work and to keep in touch with her family and friends. He kept Nancy and the children completely dependent on him financially, and Nancy felt isolated and trapped.
After an incident of domestic abuse that led to a criminal order of protection, Nancy was referred to LAF. She was worried about the repercussions of taking action against him, but Hilda Bahena, an attorney at LAF, reassured Nancy about her safety and explained her legal and non-legal options. Nancy learned that she could regain control of her and her children's lives. Together, Nancy and Hilda concluded that Nancy should divorce her abuser.
Nancy's decision surprised her husband, because he never thought she would be able to leave him. As he had done in the past, he tried to woo her with false promises that he would change and never hurt her again, and warned her that their children would suffer if the family did not stay together.
While the case was pending, Hilda ensured that Nancy's husband paid the mortgage, car insurance, and phone bill, and gave Nancy money for food. The court listened carefully to Nancy as she testified about her abuser's behavior and explained why she was requesting property and maintenance. The judge granted Nancy sole custody of the kids and sizeable child support, sole ownership of the home and nine years' worth of maintenace, the family car, and minimal debt.
Although divorce is one of the top reasons why women become poor, Nancy has been able to rent out her marital home for enough money to cover her new rentand her mortgage payments, with cash left over every month. Nancy is now more financially stable, safer, and more in control of her own and her children's lives than when she was married.