When custody disputes span across country borders, things can get complicated. One Tennessee father has been in the middle of a child custody dispute with his ex-wife who brought their two children back to Japan. He has been fighting for two years trying to regain custody of his kids.
When the two divorced, the agreement gave each parent joint custody of the children. But a few years ago, the mother took the children to Japan, her home country, and failed to return. Since then, the father has not been able to communicate with or see his kids. But just recently, the court ordered that the mother pay a multi-million dollar settlement to the father in damages. Why?
The father simply wants to regain custody of his children. But when it comes to international parental abductions, Japan does not assist the U.S. in extraditing individuals who are charged with custodial interference. Japan has not done anything to help in this situation, despite several arrest warrants that have been issued against the mother.
Ordering the mother to pay damages may be the only judgment that Japan will enforce. It seems that while Japan will not help resolve custody and divorce issues, they are more likely to enforce civil judgments. Therefore the father sued for breach of contract against the mother and was awarded the settlement.
The mother will also be ordered to pay more money for each day she fails to return the children to the U.S. For the father, he believes that this may be the only tactic that will return his children to him. He hopes that this tactic will get his ex-wife to contact him so that he can try to reason with her.
Source: The Tennessean online, “Order for ex-wife to pay millions doesn’t make up for time lost with kids, says Franklin father,” Brandon Gee, 10 May 2011