Father rights to children after separation/divorce

I need some real life advice based on experience. Laws and lawyers are useless to make ex-spouse respect children and father rights.

I am on the way to divorce with Japanese wife. Now, we are separated but NOT YET divorced. Since separation, I have been paying monthly reasonable child support based on where the children are living. There was a procedure at the family court and I was asked to pay x amount per month to her as support+maintenance.

Yet, she is denying me access to my children. She prevented me to speak to my daughter on her birthday. She did the same for my boy on his birthday. Eventually, I stopped paying, then manage to negotiate 1-2 phone calls per month in exchange of child support.

Now, I requested to know the children address in order for me to declare them at tax office as dependents not living with me. But yet,she refused to give me the children address. So I decided to stop any payment till my rights as father are respected and my kids right to meet or talk to me are respected.

I am really feeling depressed for couple of years now. Missing my kids and fearing they grow up without a father figure and all sorts of issue that can cause to them in their future when they are adults.

So now as things stand, my father rights are denied and I am resolved to ignore any family court order to make payment. What am I really risking in doing so? What am I liable for and what are the enforcement measures against me?

Do anybody gone through similar experience?

P.S: suggestion to mend relationship with wife cannot work because deep trust issue (caught her doing monkey-branching and registered on sugar dating service). Also, I have been victim of physical abuse by her, including death threatsl by knife attack. I have some proof to show for the above, but I am against exposing her because of our kids and the shame it can bring.


Tbh your best bet is likely to patch things up with your ex-wife and repair the relationship to where it is civilized and what’s best for the children can be agreed upon. Forget the threats, the money, the built-up hatred. She once was someone you loved, you know her. Your best chance is her. The system won’t help you.


Yes, this is your best bet. Try to repair your relationship with her so that she will be okay with you seeing the kids. From my experience, all my Japanese friends whose parents had divorced have 0 contact with their fathers or do not even know who their father is. It's not like the US where you get joint custody/visitation.


A friend's friend is half Japanese. I asked my friend who her father is and they don't know. When I see fathers reaching out for help to try and contact their children here, I think of my friend's friend and how she has no idea that her father might be trying to find her. It's heart breaking.


Even if divorced, Wouldn’t the father’s name still be noted on the Koseki though?


Wouldn't that be true only if they got married? If they did get married, who actually visually sees the koseki?


Ah yea if not married it would maybe not mention them. But if married and divorced it should


Let’s not pretend it’s always evil moms keeping their kids from the fathers though. Most of the Japanese people I know with single moms had dads who ran away and didn’t want anything to do with them anymore, including my ex whose father just up and left the mom with 3 young kids and went off with some other woman and never paid a cent of child support or saw them again. Old Japanese men are the ones who made this “system” not women. It hasn’t been changed because most fathers don’t want custody and don’t want to be obliged to pay child support


And let’s not pretend there aren’t evil moms out there who only told their kids their father wanted nothing to do with them so they wouldn’t be the bad guy.


KuriTokyo sounds critical of the mother who cut off the father of the child on the assumption that he was a good person who tried to be in touch, and Mercenarian suggested that that’s not always the case. So I don’t understand why you need to add this comment. Maybe this topic is triggering for you.


Yeah same. One of my friends only gets to see his kid once a month and the other hasn’t seen his daughters in over seven years. Sad situations.


Yes my husband’s friend’s parents divorced when she was young. She doesn’t know who her father is and I don’t think he even knows she got married cause he wasn’t at the wedding




I have not been through this but can only tell you of the plight of this man. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/eu-envoys-back-frenchman-hunger-strike-over-japan-child-custody-2021-07-30/ Japan does not recognize custody the same as the west.


Yeah this case shows that Japanese laws is simply abusive to not only all the father, but also the children. They are the single most contributing factor to the fall in marriage or high divorce rate and consequently low child birth rate.


My father (who is no longer alive) was a foreign lawyer in Japan and took it upon himself to help people like you. I remember hearing about all the horrible stories of the people he was helping. The way the system is set up in Japan is appalling. They’re not a signatory to the international Hague convention, I believe. Shameful.


Actually, they are a signatory to this convention since April 2014. But they interpret it in a way different from other countries as they consider it not to be above Japanese laws, I believe.


Correct. The JP court will legally acknowledge a foreign court custody order, but there is no mechanism in place to enforce it. If the Japanese mother "kidnaps" the child from father's custody in the US and flees to Japan with the child, there is a process in place now to send the kid back. Funny thing is, I'm not entirely sure anyone knows quite what that is yet? Maybe the court will strongly suggest the mother returns the child because the mother is on the FBI most wanted list?


I believe in such case the court will strongly suggest. But ultimately, the final action lies on the Japanese parent to follow that decision or not. If she/he does not, well, he/she will just remain in Japan 'forever' and avoid any juridiction where she/he can be extradited to the US. But the JP court nor police or social service will never go & get the kids to send them back. Basically, no enforcement will be done


Ah, ok! Im not caught up. That doesn’t surprise me at all. 😣


I'm sorry you're going through this. If you think you can successfully negotiate with her directly, then it might be your best bet. If you can't, then you have the right to request visitation with your children through the Family court. You'll need to file a petition (面会交流調停の申立書) through the family court. If you're confident in Japanese, you can do this procedure by yourself without a lawyer. Once filed, this will start visitation mediation (面会交流調停) , but beware. This may also open up a whole can of worms (like paying her alimony during the separation too) Your spouse can't completely withhold the children from seeing you unless there's a really good reason (the children are at risk for child abuse, DV, etc.), since it's also the child's right and important to see their parent. If the mediation fails, then the court will make a ruling. They might interview your kids since they are a bit older and they might do a trial visit and observe you with them. If all goes well, you can expect to be granted once a month (the bare minimum) or even just photos/phone call/letter. But beware, there's not a huge consequence if she doesn't hold up her side of the bargain. If you go the court route, your spouse may then decide to go the court route regarding child support and alimony, and you cannot withhold child support just because you cannot see your children. It won't look good for you if the courts find out you're doing this. Therefore, it's better to settle out of court if possible, but unfortunately, since she has the kids, and Japan doesn't recognize joint custody, you're disadvantaged either way. Be careful not to do anything that can be viewed as intimidating, aggressive, stalking, or threatening. Even though you're only separated, it's almost viewed as if you're already divorced. Good luck


The laws are quite different here.She can get lawyers to get legal, forced withdrawals out of your income if you don't pay for the kids, regardless if you see them or now. I've met a few women in real situations like that but on the other side. You could hire a private detective to find the kids addresses but I would be very careful to not go there as you will be arrested for trespassing private property etc. and end up in jail real fast...especially as a foreigner . Sounds like a really pissed off wife though.. disclaimer: I got divorced twice in Japan




Yes two "shotgun weddings" wasnt my plan but marriage is a big thing here in Japan apparently


I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned anything about prophylactics yet ;-)


Forced withdrawals in japan?? This is the first I’ve heard of this. Any references to back this up? I was lead to believe in japan courts can only advise but not enforce. Personally, If a wife doesn’t give access to kids. There’s no way I would give access money.


For the education money of your kids the legal system can enforce this quite strictly now that divorce rates went up I think you refer to 慰謝料 or 財産分与 this may not be strictly enforced For education money they don't need your permission it can be taken by force Do a search under these 3 words together : 離婚 養育費 強制


Courts can and do garnish wages. Basically all a court can do is issue stamped document. Banks and employers will generally respond to appropriately stamped documents as required. Parents not so much.


Are there really part of the laws that allow forced withdrawal out of income? I would like some clear reference for this


Yes [https://www.courts.go.jp/saiban/syurui/syurui\_kazi/youikuhi-tetsuzuki/index.html](https://www.courts.go.jp/saiban/syurui/syurui_kazi/youikuhi-tetsuzuki/index.html)


You should ask your divorce lawyer.


Child support and access are different and separate things. The courts will nail you hard if you use denied visitation as a reason for non-payment of child support. Make regular payments, no matter what. When this goes to court, as it looks like it might, then everyone will be on your side. However, your number one priority should eb dialogue with your wife. Time to drop the animosity, hold your tongue, keep calm and just think of the kids.


If you have evidence of the abuse and attacks, you might have to use it to counter the strong bias towards giving custody to the mother. Avoid involving the children on this, and leave it in a legal setting. The risk is losing all contact. But that is likely to happen anyway. Children become bargaining chips and can be poisoned against the other parent (not only fathers). Child rights has been ratified, but is only paper and not enforced. One option is a specialised and brutal lawyer, investigators and then time to pick up the pieces later on. In either case the children end up harmed. The real question is: is she going to care for them? Is the behaviour she displayed towards you also applicable to them? Sorry you’re going through one of the toughest times a parent can have. My dad went through sometime similar, in another country. I advised him then to step away, care for himself so he would be around when my step-brother grew up and came looking for him. That worked out, but it was hard.


Get a lawyer. Basically you should have her sign a visitation agreement BEFORE you divorce. Once you divorce, she will have legal custody and you'll be 100% at her mercy unless she's agreed to an agreement before.


Monkey-branching. I did not know that term. I can't provide assistance, but this is a nightmare scenario. Hope you can get the help you need. No father should ever have to say goodbye to his own children.


Unfortunately the sad truth is that in Japan, if she won’t let you see them, there is nothing you can do, as her refusal will override any favorable court judgement or police involvement, assuming you can even get that. The French guy (Fichot) was not divorced from his wife during the dispute and hunger strike, and therefore legally had 100% parental rights over his children, and yet could not see them for years. (The wife eventually got a court to grant her divorce but that was only recently). So “rights” and “judgements” mean nothing if the legal system is not willing to enforce them. And they will never throw a mother in jail for preventing the father from seeing her children.


Best bet is to suck it up and fix things with the wife. Don’t divorce if you wanna try and be in your kids lives. My experience.


Things cannot be mended with wife. Even not yet being divorced, she essentially cut me from kids life. This is kidnapping ! But Japan law system is all for her


No it’s not all for her. It’s all for whoever the children are living with at the time of separation. I know tons of foreign moms (and one foreign dad) who got custody cause they “kidnapped” their kids and lived in a little dank apartment before filing for divorce. In Japan, custody almost always goes to whoever has the kids at the time of separation cause the courts don’t wanna take them from where they live.


Good luck OP. Hopefully the law system can help you.


So what you're really getting at is: Your boys can swim! The Nakadashi actually worked! Hurrah!


Lol this one was planned


It's not just the legal system, in Japan most women think it's normal and fair to cut all ties to the ex husband in terms of kids since in most cases the divorce is due the husband affairs or DV or lack of financial support etc.. i met many single moms via dating apps over the last decade and most thought the same , it's really a different approach than the west , to say the least


You are right. She expressed that idea to one of my friend, she explicitely said that kids do NOT need a father while I have always taken care of the them, providing and be there for them. It's her behavior that ends our marriage, not me. Basically, going into separation her thought was that I would still be her ATM and nothing else more than that (she never has to hear about me again, I have no contact with kids, kids do not even talk about me, etc), I just have to wire the monthly payment in her bank account, that's it. Fucking crazy!


I think the kids are old enough to remember you as a good father even though the mother may try to brainwash the kids otherwise If I was in your shoes I would try to pay for child support without seeing the kids knowing that this is a temporary situation Then once the kids are old enough to be on social media or go out with their friends , I will try to connect with the kids via social media or otherwise , without the mother permission and rebuild relationships independently


That's what I was doing for more than a year after separation. But the injustice of bearing such a mental high cost just became too much. So I figured out I would go this path to make the mother come to her sense ...


I know of one father who took an extreme route. It started with finding the neighborhood/address of the home and workplace. He posted photos of texts around the town to shame her. He almost took it one step further to plant "substances" in her apartment which would have gotten her arrested by local police which he then hoped would give him full custody. He mentioned that "evil dies to evil solutions, sometimes". It made me wonder if I would ever do the same for my kids.


Wow! I can understand his desperation but I don't have the will or strength to go to such lengths. What kind of photos or texts did he use to shame her? This could have bad effect on kids at their school, friend circles, etc :-(. How did things go for him then?


Your best bet is to be nice and build intermediate connections who contact her on your behalf.


A letter from a lawyer will prod things along nicely and can help draft an agreement of support for visitation.


It wont. In Japan she has all the cards. In a legal showdown the OP will essentially lose every right and must still provide all child support under threat of criminal liability. In fact the game OP is playing right now in stopping payments, etc., is already very damaging to the OP's case if there is a legal dispute of any kind. OP needs to swallow his pride and mend his relationship with the wife.


Go see a lawyer who specializes in divorce for men. You will definitely lose less than you think.


Judges can make life difficult when they go against the court’s will. It’s not easy but lawyering up will give him a little help. They can draft a divorce decree, which has a little power to help.


Yup. Welcome to the fake life OP.


What's part of the Japanese law make child support non payment a criminal case? What are the possible penalties? Jail term?


Within Japan child support is rarely enforced. But what commonly happens is the (foreign) husband eventually returns to their home country, which exposes them to liability when the ex-wife pursues child support enforcement in the ex-husband's country. It's common enough that there are many law firms that deal with specifically this.


*fearing they grow up without a father figure and all sorts of issue that can cause to them in their future when they are adults.* Worse case scenario and the kids lose their father figure? Most people are fine in a single parent family. They grow up unscathed and good with independence, maturity *and* helping out in the family/families. However, if one of the parents is violent - the kids should be with the non-abusive parent. IMO, like.


https://preview.redd.it/gf12zw809zba1.png?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b87485c3ed592c64106b21725b5b66ed1e4b41cd Growing in a single parent home has no desirable effect, provided no parent is a danger to children a priori. Most people are fine in a single parent home? My experience shows me they are not. Women without growing up without father issue end up with daddy issue (that's the case of my wife), unfit for "marriage until death do us apart". So do men growing up without father figure. And on top of it, such men grow undisciplined, etc which leads to a bunch of other issues in their lives. [https://www.fixfamilycourts.com/single-mother-home-statistics/#:\~:text=Children%20brought%20up%20in%20single%20mother%20homes%20are%3A&text=14%20times%20more%20likely%20to,to%20run%20away%20from%20home](https://www.fixfamilycourts.com/single-mother-home-statistics/#:~:text=Children%20brought%20up%20in%20single%20mother%20homes%20are%3A&text=14%20times%20more%20likely%20to,to%20run%20away%20from%20home).


Of course, but each situation is different. Your experience is different to mine, for example. You obviously hail from the traditional conservative family unit, which is fine. But that doesnt always work out, as you have experienced. I dont know what exactly you mean by undisciplined.