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Seeking Joint Custody of Daughter Living in Japan

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kenntek

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Florida

For the last three years I have had to except my daughter living in another country (Japan) because her step dad was in the marines. However he just recently got out of the service but has taken a civilian job in Japan that I believe is still in the military sector. Plus the step dad and daughters mother for religious reasons feel they are being called to stay in Japan to serve the people there.

I don't like this new information I have been told by my daughter I might add because they never let me know what is going on. The mother makes it like I can see our daughter any time I want which is nice to know but it's rather hard to just fly to Japan for as much as I would love to see our daughter. The step dad has agreed with me to split air fare from Japan to here though for safety reasons it would be a direct flight which goes to California. Daughters mother wants me to fly to Cal. to pick up our daughter to bring her back to FL. so that I can have my time with our daughter. This means I would not only have to split the ticket but also buy three more tickets just to get her to the state in which I reside. I told daughters mother that I would be willing to at least fly to Cal. the first few times to help our daughter learn where to go once she lands in Cal. from Japan but she says no to that idea and wants me to meet our daughter there each time. If do not do this she won't let our daughter come see me unless I do as she wants.

I would like to know what if any options I have because I excepted the distance when the step dad was in the service however now that a civilian I feel they have no concern what so ever about my relationship with our daughter or our daughter to me.

Little back ground. Daughters mother and myself were never married and have never been to court over custody. Our daughter is now 13yrs of age *born in FL.* and I know she would love to see me more and has commented many times on wanting to live with me. However I am not aware of the age requirement for our daughter to have a legal say in the matter. I hate to pull our daughter into this but the mother isn't trying to be fair about this in my opinion.

Once they get back to Japan and start civilian life there do I lose all rights because they are living in another country? Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Ken.
 


LdiJ

Senior Member
kenntek said:
What is the name of your state? Florida

For the last three years I have had to except my daughter living in another country (Japan) because her step dad was in the marines. However he just recently got out of the service but has taken a civilian job in Japan that I believe is still in the military sector. Plus the step dad and daughters mother for religious reasons feel they are being called to stay in Japan to serve the people there.

I don't like this new information I have been told by my daughter I might add because they never let me know what is going on. The mother makes it like I can see our daughter any time I want which is nice to know but it's rather hard to just fly to Japan for as much as I would love to see our daughter. The step dad has agreed with me to split air fare from Japan to here though for safety reasons it would be a direct flight which goes to California. Daughters mother wants me to fly to Cal. to pick up our daughter to bring her back to FL. so that I can have my time with our daughter. This means I would not only have to split the ticket but also buy three more tickets just to get her to the state in which I reside. I told daughters mother that I would be willing to at least fly to Cal. the first few times to help our daughter learn where to go once she lands in Cal. from Japan but she says no to that idea and wants me to meet our daughter there each time. If do not do this she won't let our daughter come see me unless I do as she wants.

I would like to know what if any options I have because I excepted the distance when the step dad was in the service however now that a civilian I feel they have no concern what so ever about my relationship with our daughter or our daughter to me.

Little back ground. Daughters mother and myself were never married and have never been to court over custody. Our daughter is now 13yrs of age *born in FL.* and I know she would love to see me more and has commented many times on wanting to live with me. However I am not aware of the age requirement for our daughter to have a legal say in the matter. I hate to pull our daughter into this but the mother isn't trying to be fair about this in my opinion.

Once they get back to Japan and start civilian life there do I lose all rights because they are living in another country? Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Ken.
You really need to consult with an attorney ASAP. Because no orders were ever made jurisdiction could be tricky in your case. Talk to one as quickly as you can.
 

rmet4nzkx

Senior Member
Japan is notorious for custody issues and difficulty returning children because they are not a signator of the Hague Convention.
While custody may not have been established, was paternity established? Did you sign to allow her passport or was it done as a family passport because the stepfather was military?
Normally the parent moving the child is responsible for transportation.
My suggestion is this, do what ever you have to do to get the child returned to the US, Even if that means paying for tickets, be sure to get refundable tickets. Once you have the child here in the US, file a paternity case/sole custody case/limit child to FL and leave visitation to mom to file, if she does, ask for supervised visitation.
If you had already established paternity either by DNA or acknowledgement you may have some grounds for parental abduction charges. Plots re parental abduction are long and involved, years in the making.
 

jelly

Member
be careful!!

You should consult an attorney asap. I would STRONGLY sugest, at the risk of sounding like a jerk, that your bring your child to the states for a visit, and make your moves WHILE your kid is with you. Then you'll have the upper hand, being that she would be in the states, and being that she would be with you. I hate to say this; but her being you would be leverage. Just stack up your cards, and then play them all when she is in the continental US. In most states, if she resides with you for 6 months that becomes the state of jusrisdiction, and whether you had custody or not, it would have to be fought there. If you can somehow get her for 6 months, good luck. Being that there was never a court order, I cant see how you will be able to fight this one legally overseas with any advantage and at a low cost to you. Normally, if there was a court order, THEY would be responsible for paying for the visists, because THEY created the distance. And also, they would have had to come up with better reasons than "Its God's will" for the court to allow them to take your kid halfway around the world for good whithout your consenst. That is pretty selfish and sh*tty of them, considering they are religious.. half the airfare????? Anyways!!! You get my drift.. sounds like you have been mellow about it. Its time to resolute, specially if you know your daughter wants you to be. All in all, you only have a few years before she goes off to college, and they are taking that away from you.
 

stealth2

Under the Radar Member
Actually, what *I* would do would be to speak with an attorney before doing anything to find out exactly how to proceed. It is entirely possible that paternity hasn't even been legally established, which could result in all sorts of problems if you simply keep the kid here.
 

jelly

Member
well,

well, of course legal counsel is the first thing you should pursue. however, you may have to knock on a few doors. You need someone who knows family law, but also someone who has EXPERIENCE in international cases. An attorney whose expertise is below what you need here may be dismissive and just plain not know what to do. you may have to knock on a few doors. Also, if your daughter is here for a visit, you can always do the DNA testing then, privately. that may help you get started with the paternity portion even before you attack the custody issue.
 

kenntek

Junior Member
Thank you all very much for your thoughts and advice on my issue. I truly do appreciate the replies and trying to help me take the right route.

I did at one time sign a paper that allowed our daughter to get her passport. Mainly did it because I didn't want to cause friction between us all. Daughters mother basically sprung it on me at the last minute of them having to leave the country. Was how I found out they were moving to Japan. She also said if I didn't sign the paper she would force me to by taking me to court. Odd thing is I never received a copy so I will have to check into this. I see it's time to take off the gloves and focus more on the relationship with our daughter than worrying if certain things are best for all involved because they aren't considering me in any of their actions.

As for the religious reasons they claim for their actions I don't agree with them but who am I to judge what they believe. To now have a chance to move back to the states knowing our daughter and I want a closer relationship since step dads service duty is over doesn't seem like christian thinking to me. It's no worse than the time our daughter called me to say she was worried about my soul and me being saved. I guess because I don't attend church every sunday/wednesday it means I need saving. If you knew the mother like I did before she went religious you would understand why she is the way she is now. Mother almost talks down to me now and makes it seems that she is better than me because she devotes more time to religion.

Thank you again to all that took the time to give me advice.. Ken
 

jelly

Member
you should stop caring for wast best for "them". the best interest of your child, including preserving her relationship with you is what comes first. the mother has completely dismissed that, not been upfront and honest about her intentions to move there. you can emphasize that you did not act sooner because you wanted to be cooperative and they misled you into thinking the move was temporary. however, now, you reliaze you were misled and the other party is interfering with your relationship with your child. paying half the ticket to CA is not ok. its not enough. and, furthermore, you can express your concern for her safety, being an american in a different country, how americans are targeted, specially people who are seen as proselitizers, that its just plain wrong- for her to put her child in a vulnerable position and deny you of your rights.
Good luck!
 

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