Pro bono representation—order of protection, child support, child custody and visitation
“I was in a bad relationship with my baby’s father. Before coming to inMotion, I would never have believed that a group of lawyers would care, especially about me—an undocumented immigrant.”
Laila is an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Paraguay without documentation. She and her four-month-old child lived with her ex-boyfriend, the child’s father, as a virtual prisoner in his parents’ home.
Laila shares, “I had to live with my ex-boyfriend and his family because I was just an immigrant without papers. He tried to call the immigration authorities and the police. He filed for sole custody and said he was going to take away my son and put me out on the streets. I was so scared. I did not want to give up my son and I had nowhere to go.”
Despite Laila’s great fear of the police, she felt she had nowhere else to turn and no choice but to ask for their help.
“When Laila came to the precinct,” says Richard Reinhardt, an officer in the NYPD’s domestic violence unit, “she was frightened, isolated and unwilling to believe there was any place set up to help an undocumented immigrant like herself. I had information about inMotion on top of my desk and I dialed their number for Laila right away. She talked with their staff and everything started moving forward. I knew they could help her in ways I couldn’t.”
With Laila facing an imminent court date, inMotion moved quickly. A team of attorneys at K&L Gates LLP stepped forward to represent Laila in just a few days.
But Laila needed more than effective lawyers to succeed in escaping from her abuser. InMotion connected Laila with a social worker who helped her create a safety plan and assured Laila that seeking refuge in a domestic violence shelter would not impact her custody case. Using a network of partner agencies, her social worker succeeded in finding confidential housing and other essential benefits.
Laila’s attorneys quickly secured a temporary order of protection, and over the next nine months they appeared in court several times to represent her in the on-going child support and child custody cases. As a result of her lawyers’ forceful representation, Laila obtained a permanent order of protection against her ex-boyfriend and was awarded full custody of her son and child support from the child’s father. And with her lawyers’ help, Laila also received her work permit from the immigration authorities.
Reflecting on the changes in her life, Laila states, “I got a lot of things that in the beginning I thought were impossible—I got my own apartment—my work permit. I have a new job and am planning to return to school. Now I am a strong woman. My lawyers and inMotion made me realize that I have a voice and can take control my life and my son’s future.”
Laila adds, “When I left my boyfriend’s house, my baby was four months old. He’s not a baby anymore—he’s 23 months now and very happy. And I am very happy and tremendously relieved that I don’t have to deal with that situation anymore.”
Learn more about Laila’s attorneys.
Note: All clients' names and personal details have been changed to protect their identities.
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