Nilda Rivera: CWEALF's Amazing Community Advocate
Nilda serves as an incredible source of support for women across Connecticut. In her role as a Bilingual Community Advocate at CWEALF, she advocates for women going through challenging divorces and custody battles. She empowers these women to navigate the complex legal and agency systems with greater self-sufficiency and confidence.
The value of Nilda’s work was evident in a case that she recently took on. A client came to Nilda’s office in despair. She had immigrated to the United States to be with her husband, who had explicitly promised to care for her here. She wouldn’t have left her home and immigrated alone to a foreign country without her husband’s assurances because she had very few connections in the United States and spoke only limited English. And yet, shortly after she immigrated, her husband abandoned her. He took the security deposit for the apartment that they shared together and left her all alone to try to navigate a country that she could still barely make sense of.
Nilda’s client arrived in her office with little remaining hope. She was confused and didn’t understand her legal options. Nilda took the time to listen to her story and develop a plan of action with her. The client had previously met with a worker at Family Relations who had told her that she wouldn’t be able to get alimony, given the relatively short duration of her marriage. Nilda’s client had requested an interpreter, since she had little knowledge of English (much less English legal terms). The Family Relations worker insisted that the matter was simple, and so Nilda’s client signed the proposed agreement, which didn’t allow for alimony, without an understanding of what exactly she was signing.
Nilda immediately recognized that her client had been deprived of her legal rights, and she went to Court with her to get the matter straightened out. The husband of Nilda’s client had hired an attorney who was present in the court room, but Nilda’s extensive knowledge of the legal system makes her just as valuable as an attorney in many ways.
With Nilda’s help, her client was able to get 3 full years of alimony. This was a tremendous comfort for the client, who otherwise could have easily ended up homeless, without family or close friends in the country. She was also able to gain confidence in her ability to succeed on her own and ended up maintaining a job, getting an apartment, and starting college for a degree in Social Services. Nilda gave her client the power to take control of her life.
We at CWEALF are so amazed by Nilda’s work and we hope this story helps demonstrate how valuable she is to our organization. She’s a powerhouse!
For information on the divorce process, click here.
If you are trying to represent yourself in the court system or a state agency process and would like direct help from Nilda, you can call CWEALF toll-free at 1-800-479-2929 or local at 860-245-6090 to set up an appointment. If you live in the New Haven area, you can meet with Nilda on Mondays from 10:00am-2:00pm at Junta for Progressive Action.
By Dvora Walker, Legal and Public Policy Fellow at 3 Feb 2016, 12:35 PM
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