A child custody dispute that stretches over thousands of miles

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, October 20, 2011

In divorces involving child custody disputes, family law courts in St. Louis are charged with protecting the best interests of the children.

However, one Illinois man caught up in an international child custody dispute doesn’t believe the courts in Japan are protecting the best interests of his young son.

The six-year-old boy has been separated from his father since he was just two, when his American father and Japanese mother divorced. The 45-year-old father gets to see his son for five hours every six weeks.

That’s it. No birthday visits, no shared holidays, no weekends or sleepovers.

The father teaches English in Japan.

Every six weeks, he travels overnight by bus to visit his son for the maximum five hours he’s allowed by the Japanese court in the divorce settlement.

The man told a media outlet that he was “really disappointed” when he learned of Japan’s sole-custody system. In that system, the mothers typically get sole custody and the fathers are relegated to a few hours of visitation every month or so.

The Japan Times said “it is not unusual for children to stop seeing their fathers after their parents break up” in that country.

The Illinois man said his research shows that the average visitation for non-custodial parents is four hours per month.

In both Missouri and Illinois, courts are to protect the best interests of the child when parents divorce. Family law attorneys also work to protect those interests, as well as the rights of the parents.

An experienced family law attorney can also help parents obtain post-divorce modifications of child custody or visitation orders.

Source: The Japan Times: “Dad seeks visitation reform,” Maya Kaneko, Oct. 20, 2011

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