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U.S. and Japan Discuss International Custody Disputes


According to an article in the Washington Post, the U.S. is urging Japan to re-address its position on child custody disputes between U.S. citizens and Japanese citizens who have children together. The U.S. is also asking Japan to join an international convention on child abductions.

In recent years, a number of Japanese-born mothers have fled the United States with their children, refusing to the let their American ex-husbands visit. Japanese law allows only one parent to be the primary custodian of a child, and it's usually always the mother, leaving the father without any access to his children.

While the Japanese are entitled to their laws, the U.S. became concerned when their laws started affecting U.S. citizens. According to the article on the Washington Post, more than 75 American parents have been affected by Japan's strict child custody laws.

U.S. officials recently met with the Japanese Foreign Ministry in an attempt to try and resolve the issue. The U.S. is also urging Japan to sign the Hague Convention on International Child Abductions, which seeks to ensure that custody decisions are made by the courts where the child was born, not by where the mother was born. The convention also protects both parents' rights of access to the child.

The issue garnered attention in November when the story of Christopher Savoie, an American, hit headlines. Savoie's ex-wife took the couple's two children from Tennessee to her native Japan. When Savoie went to Japan to bring his kids home, he was arrested by authorities, despite the fact that his ex-wife violated a U.S. court order not to leave the country.

The Japanese eventually dropped the charges and he was able to return to the U.S. His children, however, are still in Japan with their mother.

If you are going through a custody dispute and would like the advice or legal counsel of an experienced Jacksonville child custody attorney today by calling our firm.