posted in Child Custody
on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
For some families throughout the United States — including those in Connecticut — international relations can cause serious confusion when it comes to a custody battle. In one recently resolved case, a 39-year-old man and his 9-year-old daughter have been reunited, but that was only after several years of separation and a considerable amount of legal, cultural and political disagreement.
Several years ago, the man — a physician — had filed for divorce from his 43-year-old wife, a legal resident of the United States who was born and raised in Japan. In February 2008, the man’s wife took their daughter to Japan and did not return despite court orders to do so. She no longer had legal custody of the child at the time and an arrest warrant was put out. When she returned to Hawaii in April to renew her resident status, she was taken into custody and returned to the state that held her warrant.
Since then, she has been in jail on charges of contempt and interfering with child custody.
The 9-year-old recently returned to the United States with her grandmother and her father’s Japanese lawyer. Her arrival, along with a plea agreement, allowed her mother to be released from jail and only convicted of a misdemeanor by pleading no contest.
The reunion is the first involving a child abducted to Japan that has been completed largely through legal intervention. Japan has finally promised to sign an international treaty regarding children who were illegally taken out of the home country by the parent, but it would not apply to the 120 ongoing cases of American parents trying to get their children returned from Japan.
In cases like this, it is important to not just work with experienced attorneys, but the government, which can use diplomacy to try and achieve a resolution.