When Henrietta Bello’s ex-husband sued her for child support, she was shocked. She knew that her ex-husband earned far more than she did – he has a well-paying job, while she relies on Social Security Disability Insurance, which provides her with financial assistance because a disability prevents her from working. Moreover, their son spent the majority of the year at a boarding school (which he was attending on a full scholarship). When home, their teenager split time with both parents equally, making the request for support even harder to understand or justify.
Ms. Bello’s ex-husband had hired counsel pursue Ms. Bello for child support. Legal Aid guided Ms. Bello through five years of contentious litigation. This included complicated income and public benefits calculations, investigation into Mr. Bello’s income and earning capacity, and aggressive government and opposing counsels. In the end, Ms. Bello was able to prove that, not only did she not owe support, her ex-husband owed support to her. Ms. Bello, who had never asked for the court to intervene in the first place, achieved a just outcome that allowed her to provide for her son while protecting her limited income. Ms. Bello is deeply proud of her son, now a sophomore at Vanderbilt University.
“I could not believe my eyes or my ears the outcome of my case. It’s a good feeling to know that when you really need someone on your side, there’s a place to go to.”