Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors So They Can Rebuild Their Lives | Missouri

Client Success Story | Legal Aid of Western Missouri

Legal Aid of Western Missouri and other LSC-funded legal organizations across America help low-income clients access the civil justice system. LSC grantee clients include veterans and military families, homeowners and renters, families with children, farmers, the disabled, and the elderly.

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Leanne,* a 37-year-old housewife and mother of three kids, had been involved in an abusive marriage for 15 years.

Leanne knew she had to escape after her husband slammed her head against the wall and choked her so hard she passed out in front of the kids. When her oldest son tried to help, he was thrown to the ground, put in a headlock, and burned on his arm with a lit cigarette.
After police arrived at her house, Leanne was taken to the hospital with a concussion, two black eyes, and bruises all over her body. She had to get a brace for her neck.

That night changed everything for Leanne. She immediately filed four Orders of Protection against her husband, seeking safety for her children and herself. When her husband realized he was not allowed in the home, he hired an attorney and filed for divorce within six weeks.

Meanwhile, Leanne was without any income after losing her job due to the residual effects of her injuries and an impaired ability to work. Her mother in law, who owned the family home, served Leanne with an action for Unlawful Detainer. Leanne and her children were being kicked out, after nearly a decade of living there.

Facing homelessness and destitution, Leanne contacted Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMO) for help. With three kids looking to her for shelter, support, and strength, she felt hopeless and alone and was starting to regret ever calling the police on her husband.

LAWMO attorneys represented Leanne in the Orders of Protection, the Unlawful Detainer, and in the divorce proceedings. After several court appearances and arduous negotiations, the Unlawful Detainer action against her was dismissed. Leanne and her kids were able to stay in their home for many months, until they could find a new home. She was granted full custody of her children, who now see their dad only in the safety and care of a therapist.

*Names have been changed

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