Another Installment in LAF's 50th Anniversary Retrospective Story Series
This year LAF is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. In the spirit of the celebration, we’re sharing stories from various clients whose lives LAF helped to transform over the past half century. This story began almost a decade ago, and lasted for years. Attorney Kate Shank says she still keeps up with the client and they see continue to see each other many years after the case closed.
Christina's family today: Junior, Janicee, and Christina, with Kate Shank
Christina had an Emergency Order of Protection against her husband when she came to LAF in 2007. He was physically abusive towards her- he slapped her, hit her, blackened her eye, and fractured her arm. Much of the abuse occurred in front of the children, creating fear and sleepless nights for the whole family. When Christina came to LAF for help, Kate Shank happily agreed to represent her to obtain a plenary Order of Protection and a divorce. Looking back, Kate described Christina’s abuser as “the very caricature of a bad guy.”
Over the next few years, Kate successfully represented Christina to extend her Order of Protection and to obtain a divorce from her husband. In the divorce judgment, Christina received sole custody of her children, child support, freedom from marital debts, a share of her husband’s retirement accounts, and an order denying her husband visitation. The Order of Protection and divorce judgment also gave Christina something intangible and invaluable – the confidence to know she and her children could live their lives in peace.
Kate continued to represent Christina over the next six years and extended that Order of Protection two more times. In 2014, Christina agreed to a permanent a restraining order which prevents her ex-husband from initiating any contact with the children until they are 23 years old, and forbids him from ever having contact with Christina. Today, Christina and her children are excelling. Janicee, 19, has graduated from high school and is taking classes at a city college. Junior is 17, a rising high school senior who is preparing for the ACT and looking at colleges for next fall. Christina works full-time and is happy and healthy.
Kate praises Christina’s strength through the nearly decade-long legal battle against her abusive ex-husband. As Kate explains, “Even with child support that was unreliable at best, Christina has always managed to maintain steady employment, keep stable housing for the kids, keep them academically achieving, and stay strong for them. Christina and her children are a remarkable family and I am grateful to know them.”