Ann’s lowest point came when she found herself curled up on the bedroom floor, in tears, having been served with court documents. She didn't know what to do next or where to find help and felt petrified about what the future held for her family.
Ann had asked her ex-husband to deal with his ongoing severe alcohol dependency to ensure that their children were safe with him during their periods of contact. She was worried about the impact it was having on their mental health, and the risk to their safety.
When he refused to discuss any of her concerns, she felt she had no choice but to stop the children’s contact with their father. In response, her ex-husband hired a lawyer and issued an application for a Child Arrangements Order to court.
Free legal advice through LawWorks
Ann, who works part time, could not afford to pay for a lawyer and did not qualify for legal aid. She had no idea where to turn until she sent a question to Free Legal Answers, the online platform run by charity LawWorks.
Her question was answered by a pro bono family lawyer, Simon Bruce, who also volunteers at Dads House Legal Advice Clinic, one of the clinics in the LawWorks network. By transferring the case to Dads House, Simon was able to give Ann more in-depth legal advice and support on her case.
A huge relief
The relief that Ann felt after speaking to Simon was enormous. He was able to negotiate with her husband’s solicitor and come up with a solution that satisfied both parents, including regular alcohol testing and the build-up of supervised contact with the children.
This agreement was presented to the court at a telephone hearing by Simon, representing Ann on a pro bono basis and made into a court order immediately by the magistrates who heard the matter.
“The words “thank you” are not adequate for the literally lifesaving help I received from Simon and his law clinic," says Ann. Without any means to legal advice and facing my ex-husband’s lawyers and court alone, I was left feeling completely overwhelmed with fear and hopelessness in respect of protecting the children.
"Simon contacted me; he listened to me without judgment, calmed my fears, and readily answered my never-ending questions always with patience and understanding.
"It took a tremendous weight off my shoulders. With his words, “you are not to worry anymore - I will do the worrying,” I was again overwhelmed but with relief, not fear anymore. Thanks to his expertise and dedication to the case we received the best outcome in relation to the children's welfare in the future.”
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By leaving a gift in your will to LawWorks, you can help the charity to provide access to justice for those without the means to pay for legal advice.
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