Waseda's Question

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(posted by Admin - moved from another thread to its own thread)

Waseda writes:-

"I [also] need advice regarding divorce in Japan. I am an American woman in California, separated from my Japanese husband for over four years. He has written to our two children once this year for their birthday (no gift included in card). He sends money (the amount changes monthly) since I have a court order from a California court and have sent the authorities after him. They could not get him to pay the court ordered amount since there is no reciprocity with Japan. Fortunately, he works for a large multinational firm and personnel and legal affairs depts. asked him to take care of us so we would go away (Dept. of Child Support Services were sending garnishment notices to head office in New York which were forwarded to Tokyo head office).

I haven't found anyway to enforce the temporary court order for child/spousal support yet. I understand I could bring it over to Japan and try and get it legally recognized and enforce but this would mean going to court another two times just to start the process and there is absolutely no guarantee that Japanese courts would recognize a California judgment, even though my husband signed over jurisdiction for himself and our marriage to the State of California and responded to all the divorce documents.

I have recently decided to go to Japan and pursue a legal divorce there, even though the settlement will be a tiny sum compared to what I was granted in California. The worry is that there are no laws in effect to guarantee payment of support even if you win it in court...and the odds are that the father of the children won't pay. My only hope is that since my husband's father and brother are lawyers, this whole thing will shame them (my husband had a blatant affair with a Brazilian woman) and they'll pay a lump sum to get rid of me. They've already basically written us off...My husband is very fond of saying, "No use crying over spilled milk."

Does anyone have any advice regarding going to mediation/court in Japan? I just got a lawyer to file papers to send a summons to my husband. I NEED to get out of this 18-year marriage before I lost all self-respect. I am only fighting for the money for the kids' future. The husband even drained their "kyoiku" education funds to play with his girlfriend. I have all the proof...including emails that tell me about his buying of prostitutes and about his girlfriend.

I will have to fly to Japan for the first mediation session. The lawyer asked me to be present for the first court date, also. I don't know if it is worth it to go to court.

I would rather get this done in California since I already have one court judgment and all those legal documents filed (and spent $5000 to get it done). BUT, if a final divorce agreement is not going to have any weight at all in Japan, the whole process seems futile.

The only good thing is that the bank (his employer) is supposed to garnish wages IF there is a Japanese court order in place...at least I've heard this is possible due to a recent law. Any experience with this????

Thanks for any help!"
Posted By:
Administrator (72 posts)
10/11/2004 11:39:16 AM
re: Waseda's Question   profile
Hi Waseda,

The key thing here I would say is to pursue a lump sum payment, and fight for that.

I simply don't know how they can enforce regular payments from Japan to the US. As you're probably well aware, the Japanese mindset doesn't like to deal with ongoing bridges between separated people - they're more likely to look for a quick settlement and move on - not be forced to pay regular payments over a number of years. I've honestly never heard of someone doing just that. Also, winning court orders is little consolation if reality says that they have no chance of being enforced.

Anyway good luck and let us know how you get on....all the best.
MacJap (3 posts)
12/17/2004 2:09:13 AM
re: Waseda's Question   profile
Hi! Waseda I have just one word for you "CAUTION" do not bring your childre with you to Japan and make sure who ever you leave them with in the U.S. is not know to your husband. He may not seem to care now but if he decides to change his mind and take the kids wille you are in Japan there will be very little you can do to stop him or get them back so go to Japan but what ever you do NEVER bring the kids or let him bring them. Japan doesn"t recognise the U.N convention on childrens rights. Good luck but if I where you I would do like I did with my Japanese ex-wife get rid of him keep your kids and forget about him and his money and if possible don't even let him know where you live.

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