Navigating the Guatemalan legal system can be incredibly difficult, particularly for rural indigenous women who encounter geographic, economic, and language barriers to accessing justice. WJI works to confront these challenges through our Legal Services Program, which brings free services in Kaqchikel, the local Mayan language, directly to communities. One of the legal team’s victories this year was a judgment awarding Patricia,* a single mother from Patzún, eight years of unpaid child support.
Patricia waited over eight years for her ex-husband to provide child support, but the payments never came. She tried to go to court on her own to compel him to pay, but the process was exhausting, frustrating, and confusing, a sentiment shared by many women seeking child support in Guatemala. So when Patricia first heard about WJI from her cousin, she reached out immediately.
WJI represented Patricia throughout the legal process, helping her to navigate the justice system and receive the assistance her family needed. With WJI’s help, Patricia finally received a judgment requiring her ex-husband pay child support.
Of WJI’s legal team, she says, “I felt supported through all of this, and more than anything, I trusted them.” After her husband finally paid the child support, she shared, “I felt great. It was a huge help to me, and most importantly, to my children… I can finally pay for them to continue their studies.” When asked what advice she would give to other women in similar circumstances, she says to “never give up.”
*Name changed to protect client’s privacy