Legal Fees for Victim of Domestic Violence
Organized by: J L.P.
J L.P. via Crowdrise
January 27, 2016
EMERGENCY: Court is upcoming.
Most states do not include the emotional, economic nor psychological abuse that occurs within Domestic Violence. A Victim must PROVE to the courts that she/he is in fear of their life to obtain and keep a Restraining/Protective Orders [Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA)] for their safety. The Victim must face the abuser in court, should the abuser feel he can ‘win’ his case because there wasn’t ANY physical abuse, the victim is encouraged to drop her FAPA since emotional, economic, all the hidden abuses are hard to prove. This was the case for me.
My child and I live in daily fear of our “Monster”. In 2014 we fled from one state to another, where I have family and because we were in fear of our lives and for our safety. We came with what clothes I could pack in a duffle bag, penniless (Economic Abuse, the Monster controlled all finances within the home) and pseudo homeless- family took us in temporarily.
Upon my arrival in the new state, I contacted the local Domestic Violence entity who helped me craft and file a Protective Order, however, the Monster is allowed 30 days to contest the Order.
The Monster, in my case, contacted the court on the last day to contest. He then then drove two days with his family in tow to contest my case, he hired a local attorney. I was advised to ask the courts for continuation until I obtained legal counsel. Because the way the laws are currently, a Victim is more than likely to obtain a FAPA if they were physically abused, less likely if any other type of Domestic Abuse occurred. I was advised to drop the case because I did not have enough ‘proof’ that I was in fear of my life, that I was ‘abused’. Arriving at a hospital unconscious after a car accident because the Monster did not want to call an ambulance; barricading myself and child in a public restroom and the Monster trying to break down and eventually bending the bathroom stall door; being isolated miles from the nearest town; having no money to call my own; being threatened if I “didn’t act right in public’ ... No, none of that was enough “proof”.
Had I been able to file and obtain a FAPA, my child would have been protected under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act as an emergency jurisdiction would have been put into place immediately, however this did not happen and we are still living in this nightmare.
Since I was not in the state more than six months, the abuser was able to file for divorce in the "home" state. The Monster tried to make claim that I was the abuser, I spoke to the Judge in the home state, the Judge dismissed the Monster's case for a Protective Order, but ordered jurisdiction of the child to the home state .
Long story short, I have been going through legal battles since that time period. I'm currently attending college, so I can earn a decent living after graduating, and my funds have been drained.
My child's age allows the courts to hear and take in consideration, the choice as to where and with whom the child wants to reside. The child made this decision yet the Monster still fights.
For my child's safety and aninominity I will refer only as "the child" or "child".
The child has told, attorneys, therapists, teachers and family as well as recording and filing an affidavit as to their choice. The child strongly feels the Father checked out when the child was eight years old. The child only has a few more years in high school, yes we are speaking about a teen. Currently the way Parenting Time/Standard Visitation is set up, is phone visits until such time a therapist sees that the child is ready for unsupervised face-to-face visits. Yet, the Monster is continuing to drag us through court hearings, unnecessary travel expenses, etc.
We fled BECAUSE of abuse. The child is not overjoyed by the phone visits, which have not occurred in almost a year, attorney's have exchanged my number, ask him why he hasn't called.
Another hearing is set for the beginning of February. I only know this by referring to court information available publicly. I am in desperate need for immediate funds to continue to pay legal fees. The amount I'm requesting is just the tip of the iceberg, at this time , I'm not sure how much more is needed. My attorney is needing this soon, to file an answer for the early February hearing.
One may ask, why haven't I contacted my local Legal Aide Assitant Programs; I have. He has also contacted Legal Aide along with just about every attorney in the area. It is a conflict of intrest even if they do not represent him. One phone call, changes everything.
Whatever you can donate will be greatly appreciated.
Bless you, and we deeply thank you. If you have any questions or validity, please feel free to contact me.
The United States Dept. of Justice defines Domestic Violence as such:
"We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work."
The last three definitions; Emotional, Economic and Psychological are equally and sometimes more damaging than Physical and/or Sexual Abuse. One can heal from Physical abuses, the bruises and broken bones heal. Often the abuser uses the last three abuses FIRST to slowly manipulate and control his victim which then leads to physical and or sexual abuse.
"Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers."
Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org.