Imagine being asked to give up your children to a spouse because a court-appointed legal guardian said that you are unable to financially care for them. What would you do? Thankfully, there are organizations such as HOFLA, the Heart of Florida Legal Aid Society, to help people in these dire circumstances.
Rebecca Groover, and her three sons, Nathan, 9, Connor, 6, and Caden, 4,
came to HOFLA for help after she had moved to Florida from Virginia in
2008. HOFLA, a United Way partner, is committed to providing
professional and effective legal advice and representation to those less
Rebecca was unemployed at the time of her separation and did not have a high school diploma. Her husband was college educated and earned a six-figure income annually. He had agreed to provide child support but refused to pay her any alimony. The legal guardian recommended that the children be returned to their father in Virginia based largely on her lack of income. Rebecca and her attorney felt that she was entitled to some spousal support due to her situation. HOFLA agreed to take Rebecca's case free of charge and filed for dissolution of marriage on her behalf.
“I was trying to do everything I could to fight for my children, and my lawyer, Melissa, did all she could to help me,” Rebecca said.
The trial took an entire day. While the judge made his decision, Rebecca wrote a letter to God. She asked him to make the judge see the truth and not take her children away from her.
The judge announced his ruling and within minutes, three years of litigation ended. He granted Rebecca custody of the children, approved monthly alimony and awarded her ex-husband non-local time sharing. Since the judgment, Rebecca is living in her own home, employed in a management position, and studying for her GED with plans to go to college and become a teacher.
“If I had not found HOFLA, I would have never won my case and would not have been able to take care of my children,” Rebecca said. “I’m very blessed.”
HOFLA and the United Way of Central Florida help people in our community like Rebecca each and every day. For more information on how to be a donor or volunteer, please visit www.uwcf.org.
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