Kristen felt hopeless.

She was in a controlling marriage that contained verbal abuse and, when she became pregnant, the abuse turned physical.

To protect herself and her unborn daughter, Kristen found safety in a shelter. 

Kristen’s husband retaliated and made allegations with Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) stating that he was actually the victim of the abuse, not the perpetrator.  He was successful in persuading DCFS and the court to grant him custody of their daughter. 

An allegation like this from DCFS, not only effects families but, in Kristen’s situation, can greatly effect her job as a counselor.

This is when Kristen reached out to Ascend Justice for help.

Her team at Ascend Justice, along with partners at Ackerman LP reassured Kristen that something could be done to clear her name and regain custody of her child.

This gave Kristen so much hope.

She found the strength to carry on and fight for herself and her baby because now she wasn’t alone.  Though she had a traumatic past of drug addiction, self-harm, and mental illness, she felt heard.

“I felt like I finally had someone standing up for me and representing me in a way that honored my story and that recognized me as a mother.”

Kristen states that, without the help she received from Ascend Justice, her lack of hope would’ve kept her in an abusive relationship.

“I would have went back to him and I could have lost my life and my kid could have been raised in an abusive household.”

The DCFS decision was reversed and Kristen’s name was cleared.

Because of the strong support of Ascend Justice and Akerman LLP, Kristen has been able to move on with her life with her daughter by her side.

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