Saturday, November 13, 2010

Laws Are Great... When They Actually Work

"How Do Domestic Violence Laws Encourage False Allegations?"

During my divorce, my ex-husband removed all the money from our joint accounts and put them into an account at another bank in his name only. This left me financially destitute (I was a homemaker of 17 years who had, at the time, been a full time college student).

I had no money at all and no family to support me. I was told that I needed to take him to court and the judge would make my ex make the funds available to me (according to the law). The only catch? I couldn't afford an attorney to do just so (because I had NO MONEY)! I tried to call for legal aid but under the following guidelines I was not allowed free aid: we have children together, we share ownership of a residential property, he never physically abused me.

I had several people encourage me to lie and CLAIM he beat me so that I could qualify for the legal aid. I absolutely could not do it, simply on principle (and, to be honest, because of fear of being caught committing perjury) but I could see where so many women would be desperate enough to do so. It was humiliating and terrifying to be indigent, especially KNOWING that some of that money was mine but that I had no avenue with which to exercise my rights in order to obtain it.

As an afternote, when we went to court for our final divorce proceedings HE had an attorney (and I didn't) and I wasn't awarded anywhere near what I was owed (according to state law) simply because I couldn't afford an attorney to represent my own interests.

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