I met Kathrin – not her real name as to protect her identify – in 2010, in Vancouver BC, Canada. She is a German citizen and at that time was working in Canada on a visa. As time went on, we grew closer and married in early 2011. In the fall of that same year, we had a beautiful daughter Natalie – also not her real name. During this first year, I embraced my role as a father. I worked hard to finish school while working to be in a better position to support my growing family. Kathrin obtained her permanent residence.
With return tickets in hand, we went to Germany on a family vacation to visit our daughter’s grandparents in February 2013. Less than a week after our arrival, to my surprise, Kathrin said she was not returning to Canada and was going to keep our daughter with her. The pair didn’t make it on the plane for their return flight. In hopes of reuniting with my daughter, I pursued legal action.
Immediately upon my return to Canada, I filed a Hague Application under the Hague Convention (www.hcch.net). After months of being apart from my daughter, the German court found that Kathrin had wrongfully withheld Natalie in Germany and was ordered to return our daughter back to Canada in July 2013. Upon their return, Kathrin filed an application to relocate our daughter to Germany. Meanwhile, my parenting time increased to shared parenting – 50 percent. My daughter, now 3, and I recovered our relationship and our bond grew stronger.
As part of the legal proceedings, a psychologist spent time with me and my daughter. As a result, he conducted an expert report in which he strongly recommended against the relocation. He explains that my daughter and I have a strong bond, and that a move to Germany would jeopardize it.
We also obtained an expert employability assessment report as part of the legal proceedings. The expert concluded that we both had good employability in Vancouver and the lower mainland, and that my field is also in high demand in the area.
In February 2015, after a gruelling 11-day trial, we received a decision. To my disappointment, it stated that Kathrin would be allowed to relocate to Germany, bringing our daughter with her out of country, completely dismissing the expert psychologist’s recommendation. I anxiously need to appeal this detrimental decision, so that I can keep my daughter in Canada. Even though her mother and I are no longer together, I want our daughter to grow up with both parents actively involved in her life.
Now that you have the background information, here’s where I ask for your help. Between the Hague process and the relocation trial, I depleted my savings and borrowed thousands. I am unable to afford the legal costs and the costs of the appeal, and thus I am seeking your help. I love my daughter and I want to be an active part of her daily routine. Please help me.
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