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International child custody dispute comes to a close

A California man, founder of an advocacy group for fathers' rights in custody battles, has announced that a recent event marks an important step forward regarding international child custody disputes.

Right before the holidays, a father who had been fighting for custody of his daughter for the past several years was finally able to bring the little girl home. She had been taken to Japan with her mother more than four years ago.

The father had custody of the little girl when the mother took her out of the country. This is considered abduction and is punishable as a crime. However because the mother was in another country, all that the U.S. courts could do was order that the girl be returned to the states.

When this type of international custody abduction occurs, countries like Japan often do not recognize the court orders, leaving the parent stateside with little hope of seeing his or her child again. But surprisingly Japan did recognize the court order and allowed the father to visit his daughter on a few occasions.

Still not satisfied, the father continued to fight for his daughter's return. Finally, the mother was found in Hawaii, arrested and charged with abduction. As a part of her plea agreement, the little girl was finally brought back to her father. However the mother has indicated that she will continue to fight for custody of the girl as well.

Custody disputes, whether stateside or international, can be frustrating for both parents. Often these battles come about after a divorce where emotions are already running high. Parents try to agree upon parenting plans, who will be the custodial parent, and who will make important decisions in the future for the child.

For parents dealing with complicated or challenging custody disputes, it can help to speak with an attorney who has experience with creating child custody agreements. This could be beneficial for both parties as well as ensure that decisions made are in the best interests of the child.

Source: ABC News, "Christmas Miracle for Dad Locked in Custody Battle," Dan Schabner, Dec. 25, 2011

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