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Client Story: Martha Gamboa

August 19, 2020

I am a single mom and love spending time with my kids. They always come first. I was in an abusive and violent situation at home. My ex-husband told me that without immigration papers I had no rights and would lose my children if I complained. I’ve been here for 20 years, but I was scared and didn’t realize this wasn’t true. He thought I would leave him if I gained citizenship.

The abuse continued, and he threatened to kill our kids. I had no choice then but to get a protection order. One day I had to leave my house quickly, breaking our lease. The house was already in poor condition when we moved in, but the landlord billed me for almost $8,000 in pre-existing damages. I couldn’t pay that kind of money, and I was afraid that I would be forced to go back to my husband.Martha Gamboa

My DV mentor connected me to Northwest Justice Project. My NJP attorney helped me negotiate and reach an agreement with the landlord: they could keep my deposit, but they would wipe out $7,000 in unlawful charges.

My ex used to tell me I couldn’t accomplish anything without him. Thanks to NJP, I now have custody and a protection order. I did not file for child support because he always said I would never be anything without him. Now, I am finding out there are many things I can do, and I don’t need his help. 

It’s hard because I did not ask for this. I never thought I would get a divorce. My DV mentor gave me courage and hope. Without the help of NJP, I could never have come so far. My kids and I are safe, I have applied for my green card, and I’m working to get my own house for my kids. Eventually, I would like to go back to college, but I need to take these challenges one at a time. 

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