Long story short, Japan should sign on to the 1980 Hague Convention, particularly the portion titled "Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction". That treaty is how these international child custody battles are resolved, not through cross-absconding with the children! The determining factor should be what the children want in this situation. None of us know why this couple got divorced in the first place, nor do we know why the Tennessee county court initially gave primary, physical custody of the children to the mother. What the court's and the U.S. and Japanese gov'ts have to figure out is: "What do these children want?"
Now to really get you guys mad: Regardless how angry the mother's behavior may make you, she did not "kidnap" or "abduct" these children. How does a parent "kidnap" their child when a court of competent jurisdiction has granted them physical custody of that child? What? Who said she had physical custody? Every news story, including CNN and the local Tennessee stories. Both state that Mr. Savoie had weekend and summer visits under the Tennessee court order. That means the children were in the physical custody of the mother. What happened, ultimately, is that the mother violated the visitation provision of the Court's order of custody. That's a civil offense, not a criminal offense and no civil court (where divorces and family law matters are resolved) in the U.S. can put someone in jail for this violation. Chances are the only thing the civil court can do is modify the order of protection to reflect what the court believes is in the "best interests of the child" and enter some form of an order of protection. Again, the Court has to hear from the children, and the children's attorney, on this one.
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