There is no question that divorce and joint child custody can be stressful at times, but it is never acceptable to just kidnap a child in order to have full custody. Not only is it a criminal offense, but it undermines the Georgia child custody system, a system which has been put in place to benefit children.

Unfortunately for one father, his former wife ran away with their 5-year-old son, which he discovered after she failed to drop off their son during his parenting time. But instead of running across the country, she took him back to her native Japan in an effort to escape an existing child custody order and to have full custody of their son. It is now up to Japan to make sure this mother doesn’t get away with international abduction.

For years, the Japanese government has not punished Japanese citizens who have done something similar. The parliament, however, has recently ratified the 1980 Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, more commonly referred to as the 1980 Hague Convention. Under the Convention, the Japanese government must return the young boy to his father.

Though no one involved in this incident is from Georgia, it is quite possible that there are Georgian fathers and mothers whose children have been taken out of the country and they are unable to get them back. No matter how a parent feels about his or her children’s other parent, it is better to work out those differences in a child custody agreement, with a family law judge or through family law attorneys. Taking a child and running is one of the worst things a parent can do.

Source: Japan Daily Press, “Mother of 5-year old flees to Japan to assert child custody,” Faith Aquino, Sept. 20, 2013