Gaining Back Her Dignity

Gwen* came to the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law with her “heart in her hand” as she describes her desperate situation. In her senior years with serious health concerns, her husband abandoned her and refused to provide any support. With the help of the Center, Gwen regained financial stability and got back some of the dignity she had lost.

Gwen’s Heartbreak

Unable to work because of recent  life-threatening surgery, Gwen was living on a meager $800 monthly Social Security payment when she arrived at the Center.  Her adult sons did what they could to help, but it was humiliating for her to accept their support and live with them. Her estranged husband, to whom she had been married for many years, was retired and working off the books to support himself. Gwen estimated his income from his combined pension, Social Security and new employment to be roughly $5000 a month. But, she had no idea how to change things when a friend suggested she contact the Center.

Gwen’s Life Changed From Dire to Good 

Over the course of a year because of the help she got from the Center, Gwen’s life changed from penniless to good. Through skillful lawyering, a team from the Center and private pro bono counsel, Anh Nguyen and Louise Nixon, succeeded in securing  Gwen’s share of her husband’s pension including past due amounts and spousal support to equal $2,500 a month-tripling her monthly income and providing financial stability for her lifetime. Their advocacy on her behalf restored her sense of self-worth and “compensation” for her part in sustaining their family for so many years.

*Name and photo changed to protect client’s privacy.