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Mother defies court ruling, flees to Japan with child

Parents in Texas often have a difficult time adjusting to a co-parenting arrangement with an ex. They may feel as though they are not getting enough time with their children or that the other parent is inadequate. Often times, these emotions do not go away because of a court ruling and parents can end up very dissatisfied with a particular shared parenting arrangement. But taking matters into your own hands when it comes to child custody can be a huge mistake. 

Disregarding a court order and violating the terms of a custody or visitation schedule can get a parent in some serious trouble. Not only that, but it can also have a traumatic effect on the child. This can be especially true when a parent takes a child out of his or her home country and into a different one without permission. 

A father is reeling after he learned that his ex-wife did just that when she took their 5-year-old son to Japan without permission. In fact, a judge had explicitly forbidden her from taking the boy out of the country during a hearing in January. She had filed a request to relocate to Japan, but the judge determined that the move was not in the best interests of the child.

But then in July, the father got worried after his wife failed to drop off their son for a scheduled visit. It was only after authorities went to her home and the woman emailed her ex that they learned that the woman had defied the court's order and moved to Japan with her son. 

Now the woman is facing serious criminal consequences of her decision, including kidnapping charges, and Japan will likely take action to return the abducted child back to the U.S., as required by the 1980 Hague Convention. In the end, all this woman may have done by ignoring the courts is put her child in danger and put herself at risk of being convicted of a felony. She could have avoided all these possibilities had she worked with an attorney to find a legal way of challenging a custody arrangement and pursuing a way to relocate lawfully with her son. 

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

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