“I’m extremely happy,” *Tricia told us after the divorce from her husband was finalized in April 2021. They had been married for 20 years. Between them, they share 7 children, most of whom are now adults.
Tricia was the opposite of happy when she contacted Legal Aid in April 2020.
“She was angry, anxious, and depressed, a true victim of many years of abuse,” observed Paralegal Haunani Magalianes, Hilo Office. “Sometime during their marriage starting in 2001, her husband had abandoned her - physically, mentally and emotionally. As a result of the abuse and abandonment, Tricia was forced to finally get a divorce.”
“I was in for the long haul, you know, till death do us part. I’m a one-man woman,” said Tricia. “But he would accuse me and say all kinds of nasty words, with no remorse for what he did wrong. I had to call the cops because I did not want to have any contact with him.”
Part-Hawaiian and a Hilo resident, Tricia is not new to assistance from Legal Aid. She received legal help from us on multiple occasions, including advice on housing and a TRO against her husband, since she became a client in 2003.
The quick resolution of Tricia’s divorce was refreshing for her, and definitely great news.
“He was angry after receiving the papers, so he reacted badly saying he would not sign anything. Ultimately, Patricia’s husband chose to ignore the divorce action, which allowed us to obtain a default against him through the court,” said Haunani. “Patricia was extremely happy and relieved to be a free woman.”
Tricia’s husband was given 20 days to answer after he was served the divorce papers. Because he failed to answer the Complaint for Divorce, a motion for default was filed and granted by the Court. Tricia is now living her best life.
“I’m happy, I love my life. It’s the happiest I have ever lived,” she said. “I don’t need a man. I’m really happy and thankful.”
“Tricia was beyond happy when she got divorced,” echoed Haunani.
“I find that to be the case with many of our clients on the Big Island," Haunani said. "Many of our clients have been separated for a long time but they don’t know how to navigate the divorce process. When we are able to assist them, they are very relieved. We’re basically helping them start a new life. For me, it’s a privilege to be able to assist our community with their legal needs. I am very thankful to be in a position to be able to do it."