A Los Angeles man is taking Japan Airlines to court claiming the carrier “wrongfully helped his Japanese ex-wife leave the United States with their son, despite court orders that the child remain in California,” according to an account of the case by Agence France Presse.
The incident goes back to December 2008, AFP reports, when Scott Sawyer’s ex-wife Kyoko took their two-year-old son to Japan in violation of a California child custody order. Sawyer has not seen his son since. His chances of doing so are particularly bleak because, as the news agency notes, Japan is one of the world’s few wealthy countries that is not a signatory to a 1980 treaty requiring “the return of wrongfully held children to their usual countries of residence.” In addition, Japanese courts rarely return children to foreign parents in the context of international child custody disputes.
At first glance this might seem to be mainly an issue of child custody, rather than of
California father’s rights. What it spotlights, however, is the uneven enforcement of father’s rights, particularly by the travel industry. As many divorced fathers can attest, international travel with one’s children is rarely smooth unless the dad is carrying a letter from the child’s mother authorizing the trip. Divorced women undertaking similar trips, however, are rarely asked to produce similar documentation.
Parental abduction has been a serious issue for years, and an especially complex one when cases cross national borders. Rules designed to protect the rights of parents need to be enforced evenhandedly, not in a way that favors parents of one gender. Sawyer’s lawyer contends that neither Japan Airlines nor the travel agency that arranged the trip took appropriate precautions to protect both parents’ rights, despite what the California family law attorney calls “a long list of red flags.”
Fathers’ rights are an important area of the law, but not the most common one. That is why it is crucial to select an Orange County fathers’ rights attorney with extensive experience in this legal specialty. Divorced parents should be treated equally by the law when they travel. A Costa Mesa fathers’ rights lawyer can help you ensure that your rights as a parent are respected.