Dolores* is a Central American woman who first came to Ayuda’s Domestic Violence and Family Law (DVFL) team in 2018. Her abusive romantic partner of over four years, Arnold, had recently violated her in front of her children, leading her to call the police and file for a civil protection order. A few months later, Arnold was deported back to his home country, leaving Dolores unable to seek more permanent protections against him. 

Four years later, Arnold was back knocking at her door and coerced her young children to let him enter her home. After he strongarmed Dolores into handing over the keys and title to her car, she began the process of seeking a civil protection order against Arnold once again. 

But Dolores’ challenges were not over just yet. Without knowing Arnold’s location, she could not serve him with court documents needed to move forward with a civil protection order.  

After Dolores’ court date had been delayed twice due to her abuser’s unknown whereabouts, she finally received a phone call from Arnold. Ayuda’s DVFL team went to the court and got permission to serve Arnold via text message. At long last, Dolores had a trial date in sight.  

On the day of the trial, Dolores and her Ayuda attorneys met with Arnold and his representation before the court’s attorney negotiator. The goal was to reach a favorable outcome without having to go to trial, which can often re-traumatize survivors. After a few hours of negotiations, the parties had come to a set of terms that satisfied Dolores’ concerns. She left court that day with a two-year civil protection order, temporary custody of her children, and child support for the term of the civil protection order.  


*Names have been changed to protect the client’s privacy and safety. 

Dolores Story
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