Seek advice

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I'm married to a Japanese national
We were living in Europe (US Forces) she decides to return to Japan when I received posting to US.

She left our child with me.

To make a long story short, I am filing for divorce and am curious as to what I can do or should do to ensure I maintain custody of my child.

Several lawyers I have spoken with regarding this matter seem to think I have a very strong case if she contests.

Do you have any recommendations to ensure I maintain custody.

In all the research I've done I have not come across a scenario
like mine.


Posted By:
Andrew (51 posts)
1/25/2004 8:38:01 PM
Don't let her kidnap your child   profile
Well given that you have literal custody of your child now, you are in a pretty good position.

The first thing to be sure of:- if she decides to "visit" your child, it may be a kidnap attempt. She will know that once she takes your child to Japan, she has the entire Japanese legal system to protect her the moment she steps through customs in Japan. Whatever happens, do not allow your wife the window of opportunity to take your child back to Japan. If you can ensure that, at least you have a legal battle on your hands.....more than most of us here, whose children have been kidnapped from us(!).

Anyway, I'd advise you go to the CRCJapan discussion forum for more advice.....

CRCJapan discussion forum:-


Edited 25/01/2004 20:38:53
farmerted (2 posts)
1/29/2004 4:11:15 AM
Thanks   profile

Thank you for the reply, I never imagined I would be in the position I'm in now. Actually having custody of my child, not something I imagined a year and a half ago.

My lawyer made a rather compelling case that things will go favorably in the courts as she literally walked away. Her leaving was not sudden or rash and I did not put her out. She shipped household goods through the US Military this was scheduled two months prior to her departure from Europe. My biggest fear is that she will come here and attempt to kidnap or simply be as big of a pain in the ass as possible.

Should the later happen, I'm confident that a restraining order will sort her out. The courts here seem to be more concerned with not disrupting the childs routine, seems to me an irrational woman would warrant a restraining order.

aaaaa (1 posts)
2/9/2004 10:29:59 PM
restraining order not enough   profile
A restraining order wont do it. She can get the kids out of the country much faster than you can find her if she violates it. The US is great at keeping people out, but does nothing to stop anyone from leaving. You really need to read more about what you can do, as it is very hard to stop.

I suggest you see the following pages, in particular the comment at the bottom of the second one by an American citizen

Also some tips on other things to do to prevent her taking them out of the country.

Also see the following for horror stories of what can happen if she gets physical control of them, particularly on a vacation etc back to Japan.

Good Luck
Jason (5 posts)
2/16/2004 8:35:24 AM
Becarfeul   profile
My advice to you is to be very careful.
Even if the US courts support you for custody, there is nothing stopping her from taking your child and fleeing back to Japan. This happens sooooooooo much.
Once there (in Japan), you are pretty much screwed. The courts here do not respect for foreign treaties or court decisions regarding custody. And you will NOT get custody. You will get NO help from authorities and probably be misled by family and other departments as to the whereabouts of your child and ex-wife.

Before you divorce...there is a form in Japan ( a divorce form) and on that form there is a section that says who will have custody. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CUSTODY IN THAT FORM. If she fights it later or steals the child,it will help you a little bit. If she won't sign it like that then be VERY CAREFUL. Japanese love to Kidnap..YES KIDNAP children and they are supported in this by there laws.
It is best to maybe not file for divorce yet....that way even in the Japanese courts eyes you both have 50% custody.
The courts will also after being with you ALONE take into consideration that your child is acclimatised to you and your surroundings therefore MAYBE only MAYBE award you custody.
I am not sure if this helps you or not but I am going through the same ordeal now as well.

Good Luck

japchap (48 posts)
11/13/2004 2:16:44 PM
re: Seek advice   profile
Jason, you wrote:

It is best to maybe not file for divorce yet....that way even in the Japanese courts eyes you both have 50% custody.

I am separated from my wife but not legally divorced. I have two young children that my wife lives with - I have lived separately from the three of them for almost two years now. However, Japanese family court does not for all practical intents and purposes give a hoot about my so-called "joint custody." It is a meaningless tip of the hat to the largely ineffectual Japanese judicial system. Has the Japan family court system done anything to allow me to see my kids more than the less than 5% of my life that they currently allow me to? The answer is no. Face it - possession basically equals custody here in Japan. That so-called "joint custody" that parents are supposed to enjoy in Japan is absolutely irrelevant in real life, and there are so many fathers out there now who are proof of this.

- JC

Edited 13/11/2004 14:54:04

FRIJ recommends you also visit crn japan, who are fighting international abduction to Japan and working to assure children in Japan of meaningful contact with both parents regardless of marital status