California Divorce Blog–Japan ratifies Hague Convention

On April 1, 2014, Japan officially became a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is cause for celebration because far too many children have been abducted and taken to Japan by the Japanese parent.  Hopefully, as the Japanese courts begin to grapple with Hague cases the Judges will gain experience and knowledge about the Hague Convention and return children to their home countries as required by the convention.

This is important progress but far from the safety net many assume.  Please note that the Convention has no retroactive effect, although some countries may voluntarily act. It usually takes a while for a country to fully train judges and comply with the treaty. It is pretty clear that Japan will construe defenses broadly where Domestic Violence is alleged.

In Japan, when there are allegations of Domestic Violence, typically the Dad is not allowed visitation. Japan uses the “clean break” approach to custody — consolidating all rights and power in one parent and allowing that parent to decide if there will be visits. Japanese fathers struggle to get any visitation. There are many other problems with Japanese custody law and practice. 

As a practical matter, there are no real-world remedies for the left-behind parent. If one parent remains in the US and the other parent moves with the child to Japan, the parent remaining in the US may never see his or her child again.
It is important that you contact an experienced attorney when dealing with Child Custody matters. Please contact Attorney Keith F. Simpson today at (310) 297-9090 to discuss your important legal issue!  Or visit http://www.simpsonlaw.net to e-mail Attorney Simpson.
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