Mindy was trapped in a violent relationship with Tom*. He abused her physically and emotionally. He also subjected their young daughter to regular threats of violence, calling her a “whore” and threatening to kidnap her and take her to a place where “no one would be able to find the body.” He also told Mindy that he would shoot their daughter in the head and find another woman who could give him a new child. Mindy was finally brave enough to press charges, and Tom went to jail for two years. Mindy, along with her mother and daughter, moved to a new home and tried to start her life over. Unfortunately, within a week of Tom’s release from jail in 2013, he found Mindy’s new home and left a threatening note in her mailbox.
Mindy was horrified at the prospect of Tom re-entering their lives, and, after finding Community Legal Aid, applied for a restraining order with the help of her attorney, Jeff. But to her shock, at the hearing, the judge denied Mindy’s request. Jeff knew that the request was denied on improper grounds, and he filed an emergency motion with the Mass. Appeals Court. A single justice reheard the case and ordered that a different judge in the Probate and Family Court hear the request. During the second hearing, Jeff and Mindy prevailed. Unfortunately, Mindy’s struggle wasn’t over. Tom had filed a request for visitation rights with their daughter.
Jeff was able to have Mindy’s daughter’s psychotherapist testify at trial that it would be extremely unhealthy for the child to have Tom in her life. Mindy was terrified that if Tom had visitation, she would be putting her daughter “in the arms of a monster.” She was afraid her daughter might not survive. Thanks to Jeff’s advocacy, and Mindy’s strength, the judge agreed and ruled that Tom was to have no contact of any kind with their child.
When asked about her plans now, Mindy says she is focused on only one thing: making sure her daughter grows into a healthy, safe adult. “My life revolves around her,” Mindy says. “I’ll be okay – I’m an adult. But I want to make sure she is great and successful in life and not ever in the same situation I was in. And now I can do that.” Of her experience with CLA, Mindy says, “Jeff is a great lawyer. He’s a fighter, and because of his fight, he pushed me to fight, and I’m very thankful. If it wasn’t for CLA, I don't know what I would have done. I’m very grateful.”
*To protect our client, the names and photos are not real.