Divorce Corp- The Divorce Industry Exposed

Posted on January 4, 2014. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , , , |

A shocking exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry, Divorce Corp shines a bright light on the appalling waste, and shameless collusive practices seen daily in family courts. It is a stunning documentary film that anyone considering marriage or divorce must see.

DON’T BE LEFT IN THE DARK ABOUT DIVORCE.

Nearly every household in America is affected by Divorce and sadly too many families fall victim to divorce court. Whatever the causes or reasons for divorce it’s vital to have all the information. Here we provide a user friendly resource for navigating the complex US family law system.

Find Divorce statistics, divorce how to’s, divorce self-help and essential information on child custody, child support, alimony/spousal support, custody evaluators, divorce lawyers, divorce reform and much, much more. Search for a divorce topic or browse the blog entries below.

*If there is a topic you would like to see covered that is missing please contact us here.

Our goal is to reform the outdated family law system and give you clear and unbiased resources so you can make the healthiest decisions possible. We are not divorce lawyers or family law professionals. We are concerned citizens who want to see divorcing families find peaceful solutions to one of life’s biggest challenges.

http://divorcecorp.com/media/

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BOXER, LAUTENBERG, KERRY, LUGAR, INHOFE JOIN COLLEAGUES TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION CONDEMNING INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Posted on August 3, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction | Tags: , , |

 
Bipartisan Resolution Calls on Countries to Do More to Prevent and Resolve Cases of Children Abducted by Parents Across International Borders
 
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today joined Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK) and 10 colleagues to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning the unlawful international abduction of all children. The resolution also calls on the United States and the international community to take additional steps to resolve current and future abduction cases.
Tragically, international parental child abduction continues to be a common occurrence. According to the U.S. Department of State, last year 1,367 American children were reported abducted by a parent from the United States to a foreign country.
The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the principal tool for a parent seeking the return of a child abducted across international borders. The Convention provides a legal framework for securing the return of an abducted child so that judicial authorities can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the child. However, many countries do not participate in the Hague Abduction Convention and the Convention does not apply to abductions that occur before a country joins.
The resolution calls on all countries to join and fully comply with the Hague Abduction Convention and to take other steps to prevent and resolve cases of international parental child abduction. The resolution also expresses the Sense of the Senate that the United States should “aggressively pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, consistent with the Hague Abduction Convention, and through extradition, when appropriate, and facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned.”
“These abductions are devastating for the parent who is left behind and are extremely harmful to the children involved,” Senator Boxer said.“I have met parents who have not seen or heard from their children in years, and this is simply unacceptable. The international community must be united in its condemnation of child abduction and in its commitment to resolve custody disputes by rule of law.”
 
“International child abduction is a tragic situation that impacts not only the parents who are left behind but also the children who have been illegally separated from them and denied any contact,” Senator Lugar said. “Bringing greater attention to this issue is important if we are to change other governments’ attitudes to these abductions.”
 
“Conservatives and liberals rarely agree, but on the issue of these child abductions, we see eye to eye,” Senator Inhofe said.  “Unfortunately, some countries around the world are complicit in allowing these unacceptable acts.  The heart wrenching stories I have heard from parents is not just devastating for them, but destructive for the children.  It is time for the Senate to act in a way that will help end this injustice.  This well written measure is a high priority.  I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join in this effort.”
 
“International child abductions aren’t faceless crimes, they’re real and they’re tragic,” Senator Kerry said. “Over the last two years, I’ve gotten to know Colin Bower, a Massachusetts father who had full legal custody of his two young sons and whose life was ripped apart when they were abducted and taken to Egypt. We’re still fighting and working to get his boys home and reunite them with their dad. If you know Colin, you know it’s almost a cliche to say that this is any parent’s worst nightmare and a tragic, all-too-real reminder of why the United States must condemn international abductions and work to resolve them.  The international community must stand up and do all it can to make this right.”
“We saw firsthand the devastation that international child abductions cause for parents and children when New Jersey resident David Goldman had to fight for years to be reunited with his son Sean.  We need to gain the support of countries around the world in condemning this practice and agreeing to cooperate in the return of abducted children. This resolution will help us prevent these tragedies in the future,” said Lautenberg, who was instrumental in helping the return of Sean Goldman from Brazil to his father in the United States.
 
In November 2009, Senator Boxer and 21 colleagues wrote to President Obama urging him to address international parental child abduction with Japanese leaders during a trip to the country. Japan remains the only G-7 industrialized nation that has yet to ratify the Hague Abduction Convention.
The resolution introduced today will help continue to raise the profile of this important issue in the United States and across the globe. Additional cosponsors of the resolution currently include Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The full text of the resolution is below.
##
RESOLUTION
To express the sense of the Senate on international parental child abduction.
Whereas international parental child abduction is a tragic and common occurrence;
Whereas the abduction of a child by one parent is a heartbreaking loss for the left-behind parent and deprives the child of a relationship with 2 loving parents;
Whereas, according to the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of the United States Department of State from April 2010, research shows that abducted children are at risk of significant short- and long-term problems, including “anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, [and] aggressive behavior”;
Whereas, according to that report, left-behind parents may also experience substantial psychological and emotional issues, including feelings of “betrayal, sadness over the loss of their children or the end of their marriage, anger toward the other parent, anxiety, sleeplessness, and severe depression”, as well as financial strain while fighting for the return of a child;
Whereas, since 1988, the United States, which has a treaty relationship under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this preamble as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) with 69 other countries, has agreed with its treaty partners to follow the terms of the Hague Abduction Convention;
Whereas the Hague Abduction Convention provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to the countries of their habitual residence where competent courts can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the children;
Whereas, according to the United States Department of State, the number of new cases of international child abduction from the United States increased from 579 in 2006 to 941 in 2011;
Whereas, in 2011, those 941 cases involved 1,367 children who were reported abducted from the United States by a parent and taken to a foreign country;
Whereas, in 2011, more than 660 children who were abducted from the United States and taken to a foreign country were returned to the United States;
Whereas 7 of the top 10 countries to which children from the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011 are parties to the Hague Abduction Convention, including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia;
Whereas Japan, India, and Egypt are not parties to the Hague Abduction Convention and were also among the top 10 countries to which children in the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011;
Whereas, in many countries, such as Japan and India, international parental child abduction is not considered a crime, and custody rulings made by courts in the United States are not typically recognized by courts in those countries; and
Whereas Japan is the only member of the Group of 7 major industrialized countries that has not ratified the Hague Abduction Convention: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That—
(1)   the Senate—
(A)  condemns the unlawful international abduction of all children;
(B)   urges countries identified by the United States Department of State as noncompliant or demonstrating patterns of noncompliance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this resolution as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) to fulfill their commitment under international law to expeditiously implement the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(C)   calls on all countries to accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention and to promptly institute measures to equitably and transparently address cases of international parental child abduction; and
(D)  calls on all countries that have not acceded to or ratified the Hague Abduction Convention to develop a mechanism for the resolution of current and future cases of international parental child abduction that occur before those countries accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention in order to facilitate the prompt return of children abducted to those countries to the children’s countries of habitual residence; and
(2)   it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should—
(A)          aggressively pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, consistent with the Hague Abduction Convention, and through extradition, when appropriate, and facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned;
(B)           take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child abducted to a country that is a party to the Hague Abduction Convention is returned to the country of habitual residence of the child in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(C)           continue to use diplomacy to encourage other countries to accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention and to take the necessary steps to effectively fulfill their responsibilities under the Hague Abduction Convention;
(D)          use diplomacy to encourage countries that have not acceded to or ratified the Hague Abduction Convention to develop an institutionalized mechanism to transparently and expeditiously resolve current and future cases of international child abduction that occur before those countries accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention; and
(E)           review the advisory services made available to United States citizens by the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, and other United States Government agencies—
(i)                 to improve the prevention of international parental child abduction from the United States; and
(ii)               to ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to United States citizens who are parents of children abducted from the United States and taken to foreign countries.
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American father wins custody of child after divorce from Japanese woman

Posted on June 19, 2012. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law | Tags: , , , , , |

Jun. 16, 2012 – OSAKA —

A Nicaraguan-born man who lives in the U.S. state of Wisconsin has been awarded custody of his 9-year-old daughter, ending a four-year court battle with his former Japanese wife.

Moises Garcia married Emiko Inoue in 2002 and settled in Wisconsin where their daughter Karina was born the same year.

However, Emiko took the girl with her to Japan in 2008 against her husband’s wishes. Garcia fought passionately—and spent about $350,000—to get his daughter back. The liver transplant doctor learned to speak Japanese so he could communicate with a daughter whose English was slipping away.

He hired lawyers in Japan and flew across the Pacific nine times to press his case and try to see his daughter. He enlisted the help of the U.S. State Department and his native Nicaragua. He became active in an advocacy group—Global Future—run by U.S. parents whose children were taken to Japan.

Garcia won a major victory in 2009 when the Japanese courts—which did not recognize the U.S. court that granted Garcia full custody—determined he should have visitation rights. And he kept fighting when his ex-wife appealed and the case dragged on for years.

In all that time, he only saw his daughter three times. The longest visit was for just under two hours at a hotel restaurant. Another visit lasted 10 short minutes at a school open house.

The Osaka High Court, in handing down its ruling, said that Karina had become used to life in the United States with her father and that forcibly returning her to Japan now would be bad for her.

Karina is the first U.S. child abducted by a Japanese parent who was returned to the United States with the aid of the court system.

Her case remains an anomaly, however, because Karina likely never would have been returned if her mother hadn’t flown to Hawaii in April 2011 and been arrested on child abduction charges.

Inoue spent months in a Wisconsin jail until she reached a plea deal with prosecutors: her parents would send Karina home to Garcia and Inoue would be given probation instead of a lengthy prison sentence.

Until laws change in Japan—and family courts gain the power to enforce custody rights—it will be nearly impossible for other parents to be reunited with their children, Garcia said.

“When my ex-wife was arrested, we finally got the enforcement that was missing from the Japanese courts,” he said at a press conference in a Milwaukee hotel. “If my ex-wife had never been arrested, Karina’s alienation would have been completed.”

Japan Today/AFP

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Obama to host Noda at White House on April 30

Posted on April 19, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , , |

Politics Apr. 18, 2012 – WASHINGTON —

U.S. President Barack Obama will host Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Washington on April 30, for their first meeting since North Korea’s rocket launch, the White House said Tuesday.

Obama wants to address a “wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the U.S.-Japan security alliance, economic and trade issues, and deepening bilateral cooperation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

“The two leaders will also discuss regional and global security concerns,” Carney said in a statement—with North Korea’s rocket launch likely high on that agenda.

The April 30 meeting will be the second one-on-one talks between the two leaders, and the first at the White House. Noda took office in August 2011.

The last meeting took place in September last year on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, in which both were taking part.

North Korea claimed its rocket launch last week was to put a satellite into orbit as part of celebrations to mark the centennial of the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung, as his young grandson Kim Jong-Un takes the reins of power.

The United States and its allies, however, said it was a disguised long-range ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions.

The test ended in failure, with the rocket disintegrating in mid-air soon after blast-off and plunging into the sea in a major embarrassment for the reclusive state.

And the U.N. Security Council responded by tightening sanctions on Pyongyang, warning of new action if the isolated state stages a nuclear test.

The United States and Japan are both party to long-stalled six-way negotiations on ending Pyongyang’s nuclear drive, along with China, Russia, and the two Koreas.

Carney said after the launch that Washington “remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region.”

The United States also confirmed it would not go forward with an already suspended deal to send food aid to North Korea.

Japan and the United States have differed on Iran, upon which Washington has imposed crippling economic sanctions over its suspect nuclear program. But last month, the Pacific allies came to a compromise.

Noda has said Tokyo would strive to reduce its oil imports from the Islamic republic, while the United States last month said it was exempting Japan and some European Union members from tough new sanctions aimed at Tehran.

The United States has also pressed Japan on child abductions, urging it to sign the 1980 Hague treaty that requires countries to return children to the countries where they usually live.

Japanese courts virtually never award custody to foreign parents, especially men, and authorities have never returned overseas a child snatched to Japan.

U.S. parents have pursued more than 120 cases to seek access to their half-Japanese children.

Under growing foreign pressure, leaders in Tokyo have voiced support for signing the Hague convention, but it would only apply to future cases.

© 2012 AFP

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U.S. congressional panel advances bill on child abductions

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , |

Mar. 28, 2012 – WASHINGTON

A U.S. congressional panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would punish nations for not addressing child abductions, putting pressure on Japan which has never returned a child to foreign parents.

The House foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights approved a bill that would pave the way to call off cultural or scientific exchanges or deny export licenses to countries that do not promptly seek to resolve abduction cases.

“Our current system with its endless delays and lack of proper accountability has failed too many,” said Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey and chairman of the subcommittee.

“It is time for an approach that backs our demands for adherence to international obligations with penalties and makes very clear to foes and friends alike that our children are our priority,” he said.

The measure still needs approval from the full committee and House of Representatives along with the Senate to become law.

While the bill would apply to all countries, the United States has the most pending cases with Japan where U.S. parents have pursued more than 120 cases to seek access to their half-Japanese children.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men, and authorities have never returned overseas a child snatched to Japan.

Japan long argued that it is protecting women from abuse. But under growing foreign pressure, Japanese leaders have voiced support for ratifying the 1980 Hague convention that requires countries to return children to the country where they usually live.

But even if Japan signed the treaty, it would only apply to future cases.

Doug Berg, who served with the U.S. military in Japan, said that his two children were abducted in 2009 and that he has not heard from them even after last year’s devastating tsunami.

“The only time I ever get to see them, really, is when I dream about them. I don’t know where they’re living. I’m not allowed to know,” he said.

“That’s a shame that we call that country an ally of ours,” he said.

The bill would call on the president to make a diplomatic demarche to another country if a child abduction case is pending for more than six weeks.

If a country has 10 or more cases pending, the United States could take tougher action such as refusing to grant export licenses for goods, withholding aid and canceling exchanges or official visits.

Japan Today

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An Abduction Story

Posted on February 9, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction | Tags: , , , , |

AMERICAN VIEW – WINTER 2012
An Abduction Story

By Leila Elmergawi

I was about four years old when one day my father dressed me up in nice clothes and took me to my grandparents’ house. At my grandparents’ house, there was a beautiful woman who I didn’t know and when my brother saw her he ran to her and hugged her. My father told me that this woman was “my mother!”

Leila Elmergawi

My mother talked to me in words I did not understand, as I couldn’t speak English. She tried to hug me but I got scared, started crying, and ran away. My father tried to bring me back to the room and told me it was okay. He told me that I had to be polite and come back to spend some time with my mother, who had come all the way from the United States to see me (I was in Egypt then). Finally I went to spend time with her. Since I couldn’t understand what she was saying to me, the toys that she gave me were the only thing that made me smile. This was the last time I saw my mother for a long time.

Right after this, I started paying attention to conversations between my father and his family about “abduction,” “the kids’ mother,” “leaving the country,” “lawyers,” and “U.S. embassy officers.” I had no idea what all that meant. My father told me that he had abducted me from the United States, where my mother is from, and that he would not allow my mother to see me again because she was trying to take me away from him. We lived in a state of fear for a few months until one day we left the country.

We lived in three different countries, traveling from one place to another hiding from my mother and the American authorities. In the very beginning, I had feelings of anger and resentment towards “my mother” because I had to go through all this. I loved my father very much and didn’t want to be taken away from him. Later on, as I grew months and years older, these feelings of anger and resentment were mixed with feelings of abandonment and sadness. I wished I could see my mother. I was jealous of all my friends who lived with their mothers and I wished I knew mine. The only thing I knew about my mother then was her first name and a fading memory of the day I saw her, and I dared not ask about anything else.

I never knew what it was like to have a mother. Anytime I read children’s books, instead of wondering like other children what fairies looked like, I wondered how the characters in the books felt about having mothers. I always thought that having a mother must be the most wonderful thing in the world. At the same time, songs about mothers and Mother’s Day were my worst enemies. I refused to think that my father, whom I deeply loved, and still do, and who I knew loved me very much, would do anything to hurt me. I always thought that there must be a very good reason why he had abducted me from my mother. However, I always felt sad and incomplete, and I blamed it all on my mother.

Leila with her mother

I lived with these mixed feelings towards my mother until I was 13 years old, when I found out that my mother was able to get in touch with my brother and that he had been talking to her. I became very angry with him. I felt angry because I felt that he had betrayed my father and wasted all the years we had lived hiding in “exile,” which is how we felt at the time. I went to my brother’s room one day. He was talking to my mother on the phone and he said she wanted to talk to me. I reluctantly held the phone and heard her voice for first time. She said that she had been looking for me for years and that she was happy to finally know where I was. I could speak some English then and I understood what she said, but all I could do was cry and I could never say a word back.

I was torn for days and months after that. I wished it wasn’t up to me to make the decision whether to talk to my mother or not. I also felt I was betraying my father. If my father had known what was going on then and had asked me if I wanted to meet my mother, I would have said “no” to avoid hurting his feelings. It took a long time before I could even consider accepting my mother into my life and I felt that I couldn’t see her. She was just a stranger to me after all. Because of her patience and persistence, however, I finally agreed to see her. She came to Egypt and I sneaked out of my father’s house to see her for the first time in many years.

However, this story is not about me. I am a 26-year-old adult now. I have been in contact with my mother ever since I saw her in Egypt 12 years ago and I spent every summer with her when I was in college. Despite all the emotional distress I lived through as a child after I was taken away from my mother, and all the agony and suffering that I endured in silence, I am lucky! I now know my mother and she is a big part of my life as I always wished her to be. Nothing will bring back the years I lived without her in my life, but I don’t know what kind of person I would have been today without my mother.

This story, however, is about the hundreds of children in Japan who wake up every morning with the same feelings of agony that I felt growing up, deprived of having one of their parents in their lives. I was shocked to learn about this fact when I was in Japan doing an internship at the American Embassy in Tokyo last year. I also learned that Japan has actively engaged in talks to study the consequences of signing the Hague convention to prevent further cases of international parental child abduction to and from Japan.

However, it shattered my heart to learn that the hundreds of children who have been abducted to Japan in the past may not be returned to their homes or ever see their other parent again until they are adults. They will have to grow up with the agony I felt, suffering everyday and unable to do anything about it. My mom had been looking for me for years and we were both lucky she finally found me. Some of the left-behind parents that I met in Japan are close to losing hope of ever finding their abducted children. I wish I didn’t have to sneak out of my father’s house to see my mother when I was a teenager. I hope the system in Japan will have more options for these many children who were abducted to reunite with their parents and end their suffering without having to sneak out of their homes.

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Japanese parents unarmed in battle for kids taken abroad amid radiation fears

Posted on February 8, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention | Tags: , , , , |

 

By MANABU SASAKI / Staff Writer Asahi Shimbun

A woman who has not seen her two children since March, when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, is starting to give up hope of ever seeing her sons again.

The woman’s apartment still contains the brand-new jacket and school bag that her older son would have used if he had entered elementary school in April. The mother, a civil servant, also finds herself searching for her two sons in her apartment when she returns home from work, despite knowing deep inside that her home is empty.

But it wasn’t the quake or tsunami that separated her from the boys, aged 5 and 7.

“It is like a kidnapping,” said the woman, who lives in the Tokai region.

The boys are now in the United States with the woman’s American husband, who has refused to return to Japan, citing radiation fears. He has also filed for divorce.

There is very little she can do to win custody of the children because the Japanese government has not passed the necessary legislation to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Under the convention, if a parent illegally flees with a child under 16 to another nation, the child has to be returned to the former nation of residence.

Tokyo signaled its intention to ratify the treaty after a number of high-profile cases involving Japanese mothers taking their children to Japan without the consent of their foreign ex-spouses or in defiance of court orders.

But since the Fukushima nuclear accident started in March, Foreign Ministry officials have received a number of inquiries from Japanese parents whose spouses have left Japan for their home nations with their children in tow, using the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as an excuse not to return.

About the only thing ministry officials can do is pass on lists of lawyers in the foreign nations where the spouse has gone to.

“We feel sorry for the parents because this is a form of negative publicity from the nuclear accident,” a ministry official said. “We hope the couples will hold calm discussions based on objective information about radiation.”

The Tokai woman’s husband in March took the boys to the United States for what was supposed to have been a one-month visit. But the Great East Japan Earthquake soon struck, and the husband refused to return to Japan, expressing concerns that the sons could be exposed to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Daily reports in the United States showed the damage from the quake and tsunami. Nuclear experts often appeared on TV citing the dangers of the radiation spewing from the Fukushima plant.

The woman used a TV phone over the Internet to talk with her husband and children, trying to convince them that the Tokai region was safe.

But the children, perhaps influenced by their father, also expressed concerns about the danger of waves flowing inland as well as poison in the air.

The husband initially said he would return to Japan once the situation at the nuclear plant stabilized. However, by summer, he had withdrawn about $17,000 from his wife’s bank account and had rented an apartment in the United States.

In November, he filed a lawsuit in the United States seeking a divorce. He did not abide by his initial promise even after the Japanese government declared the situation at the Fukushima plant to be under control.

The woman met her future husband in 2001, when she was studying in New York. They were married the following year.

The husband was still a student, and living in New York was not economically feasible. So the couple decided to move to Japan with the wife working to support the family.

But now, she lacks any assurance of finding a stable job in the United States. She feels the possibility is low that she would be granted custody of the children under such conditions.

She has consulted with a U.S. office handling inquiries about abducted children. If Japan had joined the Hague Convention, the United States would have been obligated to return her children to Japan as a member of the convention, the office told her.

But Japan has not yet joined, leaving her and her children uncovered for protection under the convention.

She also consulted a lawyer in the United States because she felt the only way to get her children back was through a lawsuit of her own. But she was told that U.S. courts looked at how the children were being raised over the most recent six months. That would put her at a disadvantage because she had been separated from her children since the natural disasters.

Having allowed her children to remain in the United States because of radiation fears ended up working against her.

A court case in the United States can be time-consuming and costly, and she has no guarantee of winning.

Through letters and phone calls, she repeatedly tells her two children that they mean everything to her, but she has no idea when she may see them again.

“I hope the government joins the convention as soon as possible to prevent parents from successfully fleeing with their children,” she said.

Officials said there have been cases of lawyers recommending that parents flee Japan with their children because there is a good chance they can get away with it.

“Custody battles with a foreign nation should be resolved through international rules after joining the Hague Convention,” said Mikiko Otani, a lawyer who specializes in divorces among international couples. “It is extremely difficult for an individual to find a lawyer in a foreign nation specializing in such matters and proceeding with legal action.”

She also said many parents in Japan face difficulties because there are few lawyers knowledgeable about international divorce cases.

“There are risks involved in international marriage because of differences in laws and cultures,” Otani said. “There are also major differences in thinking on divorce and custody, so there is a need to be aware of the need for a basic understanding of the related laws.”

By MANABU SASAKI / Staff Writer
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Six nations press on Hague treaty

Posted on November 13, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Hague Convention | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Kyodo

The U.S., Canada and four other countries have jointly urged Japan to take legal steps to ensure that parents who have removed their children after the failure of international marriages will not be preferentially treated contrary to an international treaty on cross-border child custody disputes, government officials said Tuesday.

The six countries — including Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand — submitted the joint statement in writing, the officials said. It was part of the Justice and Foreign ministries’ one-month public consultation from the end of September on interim proposals for domestic legislation prior to Japan’s accession to the treaty.

The rare move reflects the countries’ strong interest in Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The treaty is designed to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence.

The envisioned domestic legislation would indicate that children will not have to be returned when the parent has fled an abusive spouse or could face criminal prosecution, presumably in connection with the abduction of offspring, in his or her country of habitual residence.

The joint opinion, submitted by the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo on behalf of the six governments, states that the interim proposals deviate from the convention, which allows the return of children to be rejected only when they could face a “grave risk” if returned, making spousal violence and other reasons inapplicable, the officials said.

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