Spencer/Murray Family Legal Fees

Update: We’ve run though the funds raised (big thank you to everyone who donated) but my abusive ex is still dragging his feet and now refusing to even respond to proposals sent and is trying to convince everyone I have somehow “orchestrated a conspiracy” against him and have all the officials “in my pocket.” I’ve had to borrow $10k from my parents in order to pay for the upfront fees to go to trial. He’s even refused to sign the GAL agreement, but she is meeting with all the kids this week.

This has put an incredible strain on my relationship with my parents, and I still owe my past lawyer. I hate asking for help, but we’re drowning - and that’s exactly what he said he was going to do if I tried to fight him in court. If you can help even a little, or share this to spread the word, I would be forever grateful. I really don’t want the cost of ensuring the kids health and safety to be bankruptcy.

Original post:
You always hear about how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship, but very seldom does anyone speak about how hard it is to make that abusive person relinquish their control over every small aspect of your life... and in this case, that's not solely me, but the four children that came out of that relationship.

I finally found the strength to leave in May 2015. As of right now, September 2018, I haven't been able to finalize the divorce. My first lawyer spoke to my ex without my permission, and said he was "much more reasonable than I made him out to be" and that "all of my problems could be solved by going to college." I don't have to point out to anyone that knows, but an abuser often seems like a "good guy" outside of the home, it helps keep his control. I was forced to forgo the retainer and fees to that lawyer, and move onto one that would hopefully understand the difficult situation we were in, doubling the costs right off.

With my second lawyer, she seemed to understand, and when she was doing her job, she was great.... but it was nearly impossible to EVER get a hold of her. A Guardian ad Litem was brought in for the sake of the children, and after her investigation, she found that it was not in the children's best interest or safe to remain in his household. When she filed her findings, he retaliated against the kids, blaming them. The GAL recommended an immediate restraining order, removing them from his household.

My lawyer did not assist with this at all, and didn't inform me until the time that the papers needed to be filed that she wasn't. I filled them all out myself, and the court officials were willing to bring it to a judge who approved it after the normal hours. (bless him) It lasted for two weeks, and my laywer didn't attend that hearing either, I was left alone to defend it, with no reason as to why. Over the following weeks, he convinced his command to retire him out of the Navy, out from under NCIS who had been conducting an investigation regarding the abuse, knowing that once he was out, they couldn't prosecute. He then took a poorly paying job just long enough to have his child support drastically reduced, and once the court approved it, he quit and got a job that pays over twice as much.

I have been trying for months to get my lawyer to fight back, to refile financials. She had even said that we could potentially file against him for deliberately manipulating the court. None of this has happened. I've tried and tried to be heard, but only got charged for the contact while nothing happened. For whatever reason, she doesn't have the time for me, but is willing to charge me an insane rate for it. While she was doing that, I was trying to get these things filed as well as the fact he has not complied with the court order to have a psychological evaluation with a parenting aspect, to file retirement paperwork. On top of this, he has had zero contact with the kids since February, when the court ordered that all visitation would be supervised with a court appointed official, and that we could record any conversation with him.

Instead of listening and helping me file over the last months, she instead decided to file to withdraw as my lawyer with absolutely zero notice that she had done so just this past week. This leaves us all in an incredibly dangerous position, he could try to file anything and I don't have representation. I know he's been dragging this out to bleed me dry of money, in a ploy to finally get what he wants.

I told my lawyer with the drastically reduced child support, I was unable to make payments to her, and that was why we needed to file ASAP. It didn't happen. Now I owe her over $4000 on top of the almost $5000 I have already paid out to her, and she's left me in a terrible, vulnerable position.

Please, if you have anything at all to help us, consider donating to help us pay this lawyer, and to afford yet another retainer to secure a new lawyer to hopefully finish this case once and for all. The kids are flourishing without his abusive influence, their school grades and personalities finally allowed to blossom. They've worked through a lot in therapy as well, and I'd hate to lose all of that progress they've made because I'm unable to come up with the thousands of dollars for a lawyer... the third time.

This has been a nightmare for all of us, getting away from him. Physical, sexual abuse, verbal, emotional as well. Hacked phones and emails, zero privacy. Being monitored against our will. The NCIS case was handed off to Island County Prosecutors, and I'm hoping to hear from them soon. Please help me help keep these kids in a loving, safe environment where they no longer have to deal with abuse. That freedom, it's priceless, and it would mean the world to all of us if you are able to help.

Your thoughts, wishes, prayers, vibes and energy for our benefit are also gladly welcomed, thank you for taking the time to consider this.

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Debra Spencer 
Oak Harbor, WA
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