Elisa* came to LACLJ after escaping from an abusive relationship. She had already divorced her abusive husband and obtained custody of her three children, all of whom are diagnosed with autism. However, her ex-husband was continuing to use the legal system to threaten and harass her and their children. Her ex-husband had retained multiple attorneys and filed several motions to take custody away from Elisa. He also resumed his violent behavior, assaulting Elisa while attempting to make contact with the children.

Elisa came to LACLJ through the Shriver initiative, a court-based project that focuses on very high-conflict custody disputes, often involving domestic violence. She was confused about the process and was unaware that she had a court hearing the very next day. LACLJ’s lawyers defended Elisa against several motions to change custody and a lengthy custody evaluation. Thanks to the support of LACLJ’s attorney Alex Zuniga, Elisa was able to maintain custody of her special needs children and obtain protective orders limiting their father’s visitation. Elisa now lives with hope that she and her children are safe from abuse and the stress of a contentious court battle.

*Client’s name has been changed for confidentiality.