One of the biggest fears divorcing parents face is the possibility of the
ex-spouse kidnapping their children. An even bigger fear is that the children
will be taken to a foreign country where it is not only more difficult
to forcibly get your children back, but also more expensive.
For a Wisconsin man,
that is exactly what happened four years ago after he filed for divorce. His wife took their young daughter
to Japan and ignored all court orders that she return their daughter to
the states. As you can imagine, the father was awarded custody over here,
but he had another legal battle to fight-one that would force Japan to
force his ex-wife to return their daughter.
He had to hire a Japanese attorney and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars,
but in the end, it all paid off as 9-year-old Karina returned to the US
this past December right before Christmas.
What’s perhaps the most tragic about this ordeal is that it is believed
this is the FIRST case where a child kidnapped to Japan during a custody
battle has been returned via legal intervention. In this case, the struggle
would have most likely continued for even longer if the ex-wife hadn’t
returned to Hawaii to renew her US residency. When she arrived, she was
arrested due to a warrant from Wisconsin. There are advocacy groups who
are trying to increase the legal return rate of internationally kidnapped
children, but they know that most people cannot afford the legal expenses
required to do so. These groups hope that this case will make it easier
for parents in similar situations to have their children returned, but
they know it will not “open the floodgates” any time soon.