Brooke* was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her daughter’s father. Battling drug addiction, she consented to an order giving custody of her daughter to her mother. Sadly, a year later, Brooke’s mother passed away. The sudden passing of her mother brought about an inspiration within Brooke that led her to seek treatment for her addiction, secure and maintain stable housing and ultimately receive regular visitations with her daughter.
During this time, Brooke’s brother had custody of her daughter who was sharing a room with her two younger male cousins. With a lack of supervision, causing Brooke’s daughter to fall behind in school, Brooke knew her only way to improve her daughter’s circumstances was to seek sole custody.
When Brooke turned to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) for help, Kassandra Brescia, Staff Attorney – Domestic Violence, quickly jumped into action. She immediately identified the threat of the brother’s objection to a custody change and the possibility of the child’s father also seeking custody. Kassandra worked diligently to prepare Brooke for her scheduled inquest case. She obtained all the necessary documents and determined there was no legal custody order in place for anyone, including the brother. She also found that due to the father’s abusive history, he should be excluded.
The day of the inquest, Brooke’s brother and her abuser did not attend the proceedings. After the judge reviewed all documents, Brooke was granted full custody of her daughter!
Unfortunately, Brooke’s story is not an anomaly. People face many obstacles like addiction, domestic violence, death, child custody, and more. We want our neighbors in the Hudson Valley to know that if you fall on hard times, we are here to help.
*Denotes name has been changed.