My sister Jessica was in an abusive relationship. Her ex was emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually and financially abusive to her. He was also abusive towards their three children.
My family and I urged her for years to leave but she lived overseas and was isolated from us which made it difficult. Our mother sought help from a professional on how we could get her to escape and get her and the children safely back to Canada. One day Jessica finally found the strength and quickly fled Japan. She arrived home with the children, broken and scared, but they were all safe.
What has happened over the next eight years has been one shock and disappointment after another with the Canadian court system. She's had to quit her full-time job because she needed to take too much time off to attend court dates. After her first lawyers’ bills amounted to over $100,000 for four years of court she was forced to self-represent and to claim bankruptcy.
Her ex has not paid a dime of child support or spousal support. The arrears of over $90,000 he owes her and the children cannot be collected because he resides overseas and the Family Responsibility Office cannot touch him and he knows this. He hasn't paid the $11,000 court costs he's been ordered to pay her or the 50% medical/extracurricular costs for the children. He has basically abandoned his children financially. He's rarely made an effort to come and see them. The last time he saw them in person was five years ago and he took that opportunity to hurt them during access. For years he stalked and harassed her with thousands of emails, phone calls at all hours, angry voice messages and unwanted visits to her home. He harassed myself and other family members also. Restraining orders were given to her and six of our family members. He was then arrested for breach of a restraining order for continuing to harass her with daily emails. She lives in fear of him every day. After his arrest, he ignored the kids and any court proceedings for two years. My sister and her kids blossomed with no contact, no stress, and most importantly no more fear.
Then the kicker. He filed a new court application in a different court and somehow managed to get legal aid through Legal Aid Ontario. He is not a Canadian citizen, he is a wealthy businessman who owns English schools, a diving resort, and he also travels the world teaching martial arts, he should not have legal aid or our tax dollars assisting him.
Once he was manned with a bulldog lawyer he began attacking her again through the court, demanding Skype access to the children even though he doesn’t bother to come see them, or support them. It's all about control over her life. The stress has been unbearable and overwhelming as she struggles to support her kids on her own and now with the help of her husband.
After two draining years of self-representing herself at a disadvantage she's been forced to retain another lawyer with the help of our family. This case is now being pushed towards a trial even though she wants to settle. She's agreed to access between him and the kids but now he's accusing her of parental alienation because the kids don't want to talk to him. The reason the kids do not want to is obvious, they do not know him, he hasn't visited them, they've had minimal contact, he's hurt them when he was around them, and also the abuse (physical and verbal) towards their mother was seen by the them. She has been able to shield them from most of it as she is constantly trying to protect them. However, they can sense and see the stress and fear she is under. Nevertheless, she is being blamed for alienation and he is now seeking full custody and asking that she have no access to them for a period of time.
She needs help! Our family is running out of funds, she cannot afford a lawyer and can't compete with the endless legal aid funds her ex has access to.
The system is broken and she has nowhere to turn. She feels like she did before she left him, being beaten down and attacked, but back then she had the choice to leave. Now she can't, she is stuck in this place of constant bulling by her ex and by his lawyer with legal aid funds. There is no escape or a way out other than to fight back. To do this she needs funds to assist in this legal battle against him to protect these three incredible children.
With your donations, we can help this family, and defend what is right. Please give what you can to help her in this fight to stand against abuse, bullying, fear and control. With your help, she’ll have a chance to keep her children safe and end his reign of terror. Myself, my sister, the children and our entire family would forever be grateful for any assistance and help given to us.
Thank you from our family.
- Jess Hand
- Tony Hand
- Cathy Corcoran
- Dorothy Penney
- Noel Hand
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