"I didn't have a penny to name and I got the best lawyer in the city! Without your assistance I'm afraid to think where I'd be today. Thank you so very much."
—Valerie*, Her Justice client
Every time you donate to Her Justice, you are standing up for the
principle that we all deserve a fair shake, and the recognition that
with the right tools, thousands of poor women and their children can not
only survive, but thrive.
Did you know that Her Justice is
one of very few organizations in New York City that provides free
representation to women who just need child support? There is no right
to a lawyer in these situations, and when child support can represent
more than 40% of a poor woman’s income, having an advocate on your side
can literally determine whether or not your children eat. Identifying
essential legal issues and anticipating unintended consequences are all
part of what a trained attorney can offer our clients.
Valerie* was living with her husband and two children, aged 11 and eight, in their three-bedroom apartment. Over the years, Valerie’s husband became more and more controlling, and was emotionally and verbally abusive. One night he attacked her physically, and Valerie called the police. A criminal court judge issued an order of protection against Valerie’s husband, preventing him from coming near her home.
But, as always, it was more complicated than that. Because Valerie’s husband was the superintendent of their luxury condo building, the family’s apartment and utility bills were all provided as part of his employment. The order of protection kept him out of Valerie’s home to keep her and the kids safe, but that meant it also kept him out of the building, violating his employment agreement. Valerie and her two children were evicted.
Valerie is a community college graduate and was working full-time as an operations coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital, making $35,000 a year. Now she was a single mom, homeless, supporting two children just because she wanted to live safely! She and her growing son and daughter had to move into her mother’s small apartment while her abusive husband continued to live in a three-bedroom apartment, refusing to provide support for their children.
Luckily, Valerie turned to Her Justice for help. We immediately connected her with Amanda, a volunteer attorney from one of our partner firms, who quickly went to work. Amanda discovered that not only did Valerie’s husband earn over $100,000 a year, he also collected thousands of dollars from the building’s tenants in tips for doing odd jobs and at the holidays. With no rent or utilities to pay, he clearly had the resources to care for his children, but he refused.
Thanks to Amanda’s legal skills and support, the Court awarded Valerie $900 a week in child support and maintenance—hardly a King’s ransom in NYC, but putting her back on solid ground.
Valerie walked into court with a skilled and determined attorney by her side, ready to stand up for her rights. She walked out of court with the resources she and her two children needed to break free from poverty and abuse and rebuild their lives.
You can help more women like Valerie by making a gift today! We stretch every dollar you donate to provide $6 worth of high-quality legal services. Your donation will ensure that women, who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, gain access to the legal protections they need to transform their lives.
*Client’s name has been changed to protect her identity.