Japan Archives | Cordell & Cordell

Iraq War veteran fights custody battle after wife left for Japan

Iraq War veteran Michael Elias served overseas in 2008, and during this time he couldn’t stop thinking about returning home to his wife and two children in New Jersey. When he finally came back from the conflict, he was immediately thrust into a bitter child custody battle, Fox News reported.

His marriage fell apart soon after he returned home, culminating in a December 2008 incident where his wife fled the country, against a court order, with the couple’s two children, according to the news outlet.

“It’s not that they won’t do anything. They can’t do anything,” Elias told Fox News. “They’ve had some dialogue, but it’s like beating a dead horse. Every time, they [Japan] say they are willing to cooperate, but it’s been three years. How much longer are they going to be willing?”

CBS News reported that Elias is powerless to bring the children back home after his wife left with a boyfriend and the children to Japan. Despite pleas from State Department officials and the Iraq veteran, it is likely that they will be unable to secure their passage back to the U.S.

Cross-border child custody battles can take their toll on parents children

Child custody cases that involve two or more countries can be some of the saddest and most complicated of legal matters for all involved parties, according to The National Conversation.

While most custody cases are, in theory, supposed to be resolved in the best interest of the child, international cases can differ due to the many different laws that exist all over the world, the news source reported.

The case of Christopher Dahm provides a useful example of the difference in laws.

Dahm was trying to get custody of his child back when his Belgian-American wife fled with their child to the United Arab Emirates, a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S. Due to this development, his efforts were defeated by an international loophole, according to The National.

Japanese leaders have recently made a move towards an agreement with the U.S. over child custody law, as the lawmakers in that nation have expressed interest in joining an international agreement that has been signed by the other members of the Group of Seven, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Japan may join international child custody pact

Japan is moving towards joining an international child custody convention, which will likely benefit American fathers who have had their children taken to the Asian country by Japanese mothers.

The Associated Press reports that Japanese law allows for only one parent to have child custody in divorce cases, and that parent is almost always the mother. Due to this, Japanese mothers in America can abscond with their children to Japan, leaving the American father with few options for seeing his kids.

Government spokesman Tetsuro Fukuyama said that a number of ministers have approved the move to join the 1980 Hague Convention on international abduction. However, joining the convention will still need to be approved by parliament.

“The United States is encouraged by the serious consideration that the government of Japan is currently giving this issue, and we look forward to Japan reaching a positive decision to ratify the Hague Convention as soon as possible,” the American embassy in Japan said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reports that there were about 100 Japanese-American child custody disputes as of January of this year.