Every Child

Has Two Parents


Child's abduction shows need for Japan to sign accord

ROBERT FRANKLIN - Published: 11/12/1012:05 am

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/11/12/1421354/childs-abduction-shows-need-for.html#ixzz158Sqv3h8


The parental abduction of a 6-year-old Bellevue boy by his mother highlights important issues about child custody that are making the news more and more.

Jeffery Morehouse was granted primary custody of his son in 2008. Because Morehouse was concerned that his ex-wife would abduct the boy, the judge issued an order prohibiting Michiyo Imoto Morehouse from taking him out of state.

But almost six months ago, Michiyo took the boy to Japan anyway and shows no sign of returning. Last week, King County prosecutors filed felony charges against her.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires any signatory nation to return a child to the country from which it was taken. But Japan has never signed the convention and so is not bound by it.

Furthermore, in Japan fathers rarely get custody of their children after a divorce and even visitation is largely up to the mother. So Japan is a safe haven for mothers who wish to abduct their children. Its family courts condone what courts in this country call a felony.

According to the Department of Justice, more than 200,000 children are abducted by a parent in the United States each year. Parental abduction has rightly been called child abuse by psychologists such as Nancy Faulkner, who described the trauma suffered by those children in a paper to the United Nations.

Parents who kidnap their children must hide from the authorities, so the child has nowhere to turn for security but to the abducting parent. Forced isolation means that the child loses contact with his or her extended family, as well as with the other parent.

That dependency may well be exactly what the abducting parent craves. Faulkner described the personality type of the abducting parent as one in which “the needs of the parent override the developmental needs of the child.”

Over time, abducted children tend to manifest “depression, loss of community, loss of stability, security and trust, excessive fearfulness, loneliness, anger, helplessness, disruption in identity formation and fear of abandonment.” Often, those problems can last into adulthood.

It is far past time for Japan to join the family of 84 nations that have bound themselves to the Hague Convention. There should be nowhere in the world that provides a safe haven for child abductors.

Robert Franklin of Utopia, Texas, is an attorney and board member of Fathers and Families, an organization dedicated to family court reform. Its website is www.fathersandfamilies.org.

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/11/12/1421354/childs-abduction-shows-need-for.html#ixzz158TQhCvt

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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