The Justice & Diversity Center’s (JDC) Family Law Project successfully helped a client facing a number of challenges, under the representation of volunteer attorney Omar Jabbour. Jane was referred to JDC by the family law court advisor, and she was initially receiving assistance with her custody battle from another agency.
Jane was experiencing a lack of financial resources: she had previously been employed by the family business which her now former spouse was claiming he owned entirely. In effect, this left her with no independent source of income. At the time she sought help, Jane was living with her spouse and continued to do so for some time. Being a recent immigrant only exacerbated the cultural, social, gender, and language-related barriers she was facing. Jabbour also explained how he had to work to make sure that she was adequately understood by himself and others.
This situation put Jane in a highly distressed state, and she was anxious about the case. “At the outset, she was primarily worried about having access to her son,” Jabbour explained. “At one point, the other party made allegations against her that threatened to restrict her access, and she was adamant that she continue to have access to her son.” She was further concerned with making sure that the dissolution actually occurred because the other party was actively trying to convince her to drop the proceedings and return to the marriage. Towards the end of Jabbour’s representation, Jane revealed the financial impact this situation had on her because she was worried about how her spouse had been managing his finances.
Jabbour’s representation of the client ran all the way through the successful obtaining of a judgment in late 2022. He also addressed child custody issues by preserving the existing order that she had obtained initially. “It was a lengthy process largely because the other party was constantly sabotaging our efforts,” said Jabbour. “He would claim financial hardship, then was difficult to locate, then repeatedly contacted my client trying to convince her to drop the proceedings.”
The case ended in a successful obtaining of a judgment, with a division of property, and resolution of custody issues. Jane was extremely gracious for Jabbour’s representation and JDC’s assistance in her case.
Jabbour recalled working with his first client at JDC nearly 10 years ago and encouraged BASF members to similarly donate their time to the Pro Bono Legal Services. “It is such an incredibly rewarding experience. As someone working in the private sector, it’s incredibly rewarding to use my law degree to benefit folks who would not otherwise have access to legal services,” said Jabbour. “The entire team at JDC is just incredible. They offer training, guidance, and assistance. I never felt that I was alone or on an island. I learned so much and took great pride in being able to represent my client and never could’ve done it without them.”
Editor’s Note: Jane’s name has been changed to protect her identity.