|Wikimedia Commons, US Department of State|
by Asafu Suzuki
In 2009, Christopher Savoie made international headlines when he flew to Japan to forcibly take back his children, who had been “abducted” by his Japanese ex-wife in defiance of an American court order. While the incident ultimately prompted review of Japan’s child custody laws, it shed light on a serious problem that affects many international families upon the parents’ divorce.
As international marriages become increasingly common in today’s globalized environment, so have international divorces. International divorces generally present various challenges, and custodial issues in international divorces can be particularly problematic. Difficulty arises when one parent illegally removes his or her children from their habitual residence. This phenomenon, commonly known as international parental child abduction, involves actual and potential human rights violations of all parties involved.