Several years ago, somewhere in a neighborhood on Oahu, *Vanessa had quietly struggled in her marriage.
Her husband was violent towards her, causing her significant distress and fear for herself and her kids. It was an extreme case of physical and psychological abuse.
In 2019, knowing that she could no longer continue living under such conditions, Vanessa sought the help of Legal Aid for a divorce and a TRO against her husband.
Thanks to the diligent work of Staff Attorney Malia Alexander, a five-year Order for Protection against her husband was ordered by the court. This kept Vanessa and her children within a safe distance from him.
Later, when Vanessa asserted a claim to her share of marital property, her husband retaliated by seeking to dissolve the Order for Protection. Managing Attorney Makia Minerbi successfully represented her.
The court denied her husband’s motion, adopting Legal Aid’s argument that he had failed to allege a material change in circumstances, thus the Order for Protection would stand.
“Vanessa felt relieved after the court’s decision because she didn’t want him through her door to drop off the kids,” explained Makia.
“Before I came to Legal Aid, I knew very little about Hawai‘i Family Law,” said Vanessa, an immigrant whose first language is not English. “Legal Aid helped me understand the process and legalities of divorcing with children.”
“Legal Aid changed my life,” she said. “I was comfortable asking questions and voicing my concerns without judgement. Everyone, not only myself but all parties involved, were treated with respect.”