Story: Domestic violence survivor saved from foreclosure

Kathy's Story – All Rise for Civil Justice from Voices for Civil Justice.

A survivor of domestic violence that lasted more than two decades, Kathy nearly lost her home to foreclosure after her husband left her with nothing. Legal Aid Chicago’s staff helped Kathy get the divorce and a loan modification to stop the foreclosure on her home.

Effective legal representation is the single most important factor in whether survivors can escape the cycle of physical abuse and economic coercion. Yet fewer than 1 in 5 low-income survivors ever get to see a lawyer. Because funding is scarce, legal aid organizations must turn away half of the eligible people who seek their help. Reforming our civil justice system is key to ensuring all domestic violence survivors get legal help when they need it.

Kathy endured physical and emotional abuse by her husband for 24 years. When he finally left, she nearly lost her home to foreclosure. Terrified of becoming homeless, she turned to Legal Aid Chicago. With their help, Kathy was able to get a divorce, save her home, and create a stable life for herself. Watch Kathy’s story below:

“At the end of the divorce case, because we had so much in-house expertise and were able to work together, we were able to both save the house [which had been deeded in both his and her names] and get it for Kathy. To see someone like Kathy, and see that a year later she’s doing fantastic, it helps me realize just how important this job is, how worth it, it is.”

— Benna Crawford, Supervisory Attorney, Children & Families Practice Group, Legal Aid Chicago