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Bonnie (not her real name) and Dan (not his real name) split up after he was convicted several times for assaulting Bonnie and for child abuse. One night afterwards, Dan snuck into Bonnie’s apartment and kidnapped their daughter from her crib. For over a year, Bonnie had no idea where Dan and her daughter lived and Dan would not allow her to visit their daughter. Confused by the court system, Bonnie was manipulated by Dan’s lies about the parenting plan process and the Court entered a default judgment against her. Grief stricken, Bonnie contacted MLSA.
With her MLSA attorney by her side, Bonnie finally got to tell her side of the story, and for the first time in the entire process, she felt like the legal system actually worked. The Court set aside the default judgment and entered a parenting plan that granted Bonnie full residential custody of her daughter. Bonnie was reunited with her daughter and has started learning how to live a life out of Dan’s control.
MLSA's advocates provide free legal aid to Montanans across the state on issues such as orders of protection, dissolution, parenting plans, support, and more.
In 2012 MLSA domestic violence survivor attorneys and advocates closed 44 abuse cases as well as many of the 600+ cases involving dissolutions, custody and visitation, and support.
Attorneys and advocates provide training and education on common domestic violence legal issues to community partners such as social service agencies, pro bono and private attorneys, law enforcement, and courts.