The last straw with divorce in Japan... ?

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After close to two years of battling my wife in Nagoya family court for divorce, hiring a lawyer, paying legal fees and getting only three hours one some weekends with my two young daughters, I am seriously considering giving up on divorce in Japan and concentrating my efforts on regaining a better relationship with my kids.

In point of fact, my wife, from whom I've been separated since December 2002, is the one who has made it so difficult for me to see my kids. I have never abandoned my kids and from the week that I left the house and left my wife's antics, I have wanted to see my kids regularly and frequently. However, it is now clear that as long as I want a divorce, she is not willing to let this happen. The kids are her pawns, and she manipulates them at will to get me to come back. I will never go back to live with her. But if it means that I have to postpone divorce for longer, or even give up on divorce until my kids are grown up in order to restore a better relationship and more visitation with my kids, then I am strongly considering taking this chance.

I have another family court session in October, and I'm going to give my proposal to my wife. The proposal is several pages long, and contains a lot of meaty things for her to think about. I'm hoping that it is a powerful tool to get her to reconsider the value of the father-child relationship. Maybe vain hopes, but it's the best I can do, here in Japan, in the situation I am in.

If it was threats of divorce that prompted her to withhold the kids from me the way that she did, then I can live with not getting legally divorced for a while, and just stay separated. Of course, I want to move on with life, and eventually have the opportunity to legally remarry, but my wife doesn't want to move on, and she doesn't believe that I have the right to do so either. Always dictating my life, she has been. Always trying to determine where I should go, what I should do, under threats of pressure and verbal abuse. Living away from her has been good for me psychologically. My perspective on life has improved. Just one thing, I want to see my kids more.

I guess we can talk about Japanese family law and the need for improvement until we are blue in the face, but I think the issue lies more in the realm of common sense and ethics. The father has become little more than a breadwinner here in Japan, and in so many other countries of the world. This is the cause of so many social ills. I don't want to be a contributor to this, and if it means that I have to postpone my divorce for some time just to buy more time with the kids, then that is what I will do. On my own terms... separate from my wife. Nothing she can do will get me to live with her again.

- Jeff
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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