Danielle's Story

 


Danielle came to us after an abrupt change in her family. 

We assisted Danielle after she had abruptly moved out of her family home with her young daughter, following the breakdown of her marriage. As a result of costly legal fees, Danielle applied for a divorce with help from a legal advice clinic, but she was incredibly confused about how to fill in the financial arrangement applications for it. Danielle was worried that should she get the forms wrong, her husband would respond with abuse and continue to delay the divorce proceedings. As a result, the legal clinic referred Danielle to make an appointment with our remote service.  

One of our volunteers emailed Danielle a Zoom link in advance and confirmed what paperwork to bring, with the hopes of going through the financial settlement forms together. On the day, it was clear Danielle was very anxious, having trouble connecting to her camera and becoming stressed, but we reassured her that it was good enough to continue, sharing my screen to explain each question on the form. A small moment of kindness that made the world of difference as she fixated over the complications of the legal processes ahead of her.  

Alongside this, however, was the issue of child arrangements. A court had agreed set days for her husband to see their daughter under Danielle’s supervision. Yet, her husband would delay making plans and then try to change them last minute, often late at night, and if she didn’t agree to them, he would send her angry emails. The situation was becoming incredibly nerve wracking for Danielle, who was struggling to eat or sleep and felt uneasy about what her husband might do. She feared he would even try to take their daughter abroad and not return her. This had been mentioned to the free legal advice clinic, who also expressed their worries. So, together, Danielle and our volunteer agreed that it was best to return to the clinic and discuss ways to prevent this, while we would continue helping her fill in the appropriate court documents to make sure she had proper access to justice, despite her fears.  

They made sure to clarify key issues brought forward in her applications, and the next steps she would need to take, while also sending her as many useful links she needed to understand the court process fully. Long meetings can often feel overwhelming for clients, especially when they are going through situations as stressful as this.  

Marriage breakdown can escalate rapidly and it’s an incredibly draining process for all involved. Danielle and our volunteer both knew the process would be long, and not easy, but with the support of our service, she felt much better prepared to tackle it and finally feel secure with her daughter. Our volunteers are always on hand to listen and ensure that the clients’ voices are heard.