At the Virdone Law Firm, P.C., we recently represented a father whose soon to be ex-wife and plaintiff was a Japanese citizen. Our client, the father, feared the mother would travel to Japan with their child during the pendency of their divorce, and he was concerned that she may not return with the child. Japan is not a signatory of the Hague Convention and has a long history of disregarding a father's rights to his children. Since the mother had virtually no ties to the United States and previously threatened to abscond to Japan with the couple's child, our client felt this was a very real and present threat.
The Hague Convention is a treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law; it provides an expedient method for the return of children who have been internationally abducted by a parent from one member nation to another. The intention of the Convention was to preserve the child custody arrangement that existed immediately before the wrongful removal by a parent that crossed international boundaries; the Convention only applies to those children who are below the age of sixteen. By December of 2012, 89 states were party to the convention, and on March 1st, 2013, the treaty will enter force for Korea; to date, Japan has not signed the treaty and therefore, once a parent flees from the United States to Japan with a child, there is little legal recourse for the parent residing in the United States.
Our client, the defendant sought to prevent his soon to be ex-wife from travelling to Japan in fear that she would bring their child with her and never return. A hearing was conducted at the Supreme Court of Nassau County, after hearing our argument, the court determined that our client's concerns were entirely legitimate and ordered that the mother be prevented from travelling to Japan during the pendency of the divorce action. This was a huge success for our client and for our firm; now our client can be rest assured that the child's mother will not flee to Japan, which is a nation where his father's rights would not have been adequately protected.
As seasoned Nassau County divorce attorneys, we are extremely familiar with New York State laws as they pertain to divorce and child custody, as well as federal laws and the laws surrounding the Hague Convention and its member countries. If you or someone you love is currently dealing with a simple or complex family law matter, we urge you to contact our firm to discuss your unique situation and how we can protect your legal rights in your divorce or family law case.