Mr. Rebates

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Divorce Procedure in Canada

Are You Going to Divorce Court or Settling Your Case Amicably?
The procedure you follow will depend on whether you’re negotiating a divorce settlement out of court, or doing battle through the court process. If you’re not in court, what you are working towards is known as a separation agreement. This is a legally binding contract that sets out your legal rights and obligations arising from your separation. It’s just as enforceable in a court of law as a court order, which is what you’ll be working towards if you’re in court. Of course, even if you are involved in the court process, you can still settle out of court with what are called minutes of settlement, which is similar to a separation agreement.

Process for Creating a Separation Agreement

If you are interested in drawing up a separation agreement your lawyer will contact your spouse or spouse’s lawyer requesting to negotiate a separation agreement. Then, each spouse provides financial information so both spouses are aware of each other’s respective financial situations. At this point, the negotiations begin to create a separation agreement that is beneficial and acceptable to both parties. The negotiations can be directly between you and your spouse, or between your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer, or done with the help of a mediator or in a collaborative setting. Once an agreement is reached, it will be formalized in a separation agreement.

The Divorce Court Process is more Formal

Everything in the divorce court process is regulated by a formal set of rules, known as the Family Law Rules. There are a number of steps in this process:
  1. Prepare an Application for Divorce and Financial Statement. The application for divorce sets out what you want the court to give you, and why you should get it. For instance, you may request child custody, child support, spousal support and a division of property. If there are any financial issues, you’ll need to prepare a financial statement that sets out your income, expenses, assets and debts.
  2. Issue the Application, then Serve and File the Application and Financial Statement. Issuing the application is just the court’s fancy way of saying opening a court file. Once you’ve been assigned a court file, you must send your application and financial statement to your spouse. There are special rules involving how this must be done – normally you must hire a process server to give the divorce papers to your spouse, or else send them to your spouse’s divorce lawyer. Once you’ve given the divorce papers to your spouse, you’ll file them along with an affidavit for service (a sworn statement under oath stating that you’ve given a copy of the divorce papers to your spouse) with the court.
  3. Your Spouse Must Serve and File an Answer and Financial Statement within 30 days. Your spouse’s answer will set out what your spouse agrees with in your Application, and what your spouse disagrees with in your Application. If your spouse wants to make any claims against you, this will be included as well. Then, the answer and financial statement will be given to you, and filed with the court along with an affidavit of service.
  4. You Serve and File a Reply within 10 days. This is optional step – if there’s anything you disagree with in your spouse’s answer – or if your spouse has raised new claims against you, you can answer this in your reply.
  5. A Case Conference is Held. A case conference is primarily a procedural step in the case. At the case conference, you’ll deal with issues like disclosure, questioning, scheduling, and appointment of the Children’s Lawyer.
  6. Discovery. This is not a particular event, but rather a process. Before resolving your case, there will normally need to be a lot of discovery done. This includes exchanging financial documents with your spouse, such as income tax returns and bank statements. It also includes questioning, which is examining your spouse under oath about their case. It may include a custody assessment if there is a dispute about custody. Basically, each side gathers up and exchanges all the information they need to prove their case, and to disprove their spouse’s case.
  7. Motion. It can take a long time to resolve a case. If there are any issues that can’t wait – say your spouse is not paying you child support and you need it to live off – then you can bring a motion to deal with it. A motion may also be brought if there are disputes as to proper procedure to follow – for instance, whether you are required to provide your spouse with a particular document or information.
  8. Settlement Conference. Once discovery is completed, a settlement conference is held. This is an attempt to resolve the case so that it does not need to proceed to trial. A judge will set aside an hour to try to get you and your spouse to reach an agreement, and if no agreement is reached, the judge will normally give an opinion as to how he would decide the case (which is pretty persuasive). Of course, you can try to settle the case at any step along the way, and don’t need to wait for a settlement conference.
  9. Trial. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve your case, then a judge must decide it for you at a trial. This is a very formal process with witnesses being called, documents being filed as exhibits, and legal arguments. At the end of the trial (or often several months after the end) the judge will make a decision. This may not be the end, as sometimes a decision can be appealed. In family law, though, it is difficult to succeed at an appeal.

Grounds for Divorce in Canada

Divorce is a very trying experience. When you know what’s going to happen, it’s a lot easier to deal with. While divorce is likely uncharted territory for you, you can arm yourself with all the information necessary to make the smoothest transition into your new life. Take control of the divorce process by educating yourself, it’ll relieve the stress and make your situation a lot easier to deal with.

Knowing The Grounds For Divorce Is A Good Starting Point

Canada has something called the Divorce Act that lays down the general laws for divorce. The Divorce Act recognizes three main grounds for divorce, which are cruelty, adultery, or being separated for one year. These grounds needn’t all be a condition of each divorce, as just one will justify the need for the dissolution of your marriage.
The main ground for divorce used in Canada is separation for a year because proving cruelty or adultery can prove very time consuming not to mention expensive.
It is generally recommended that you don’t file for divorce on the ground of cruelty or adultery, as this will simply make your divorce case much more expensive. As well, it generally will make resolving the other issues in your divorce more difficult to resolve. Finally, because of the backlog in the court system, even if you choose to proceed on the grounds of cruelty or adultery, you probably won’t be able to get your divorce in less than a year anyhow.

Separate And Then Count Down To One Year

The main ground for divorce that people rely on is separation for one year. However, there is often some confusion as to when the one-year separation begins. The period of the one-year separation starts at the time one spouse plans to live separate and apart from the other and acts on those plans. There is no need for a legal document that says you are separated, as there is no legal separation in Canada. This separation can be as limited as living in separate bedrooms, or as extensive as someone moving to another location.

A Long Separation Doesn't Mean You are Divorced

Many people are under the assumption that if they are separated for a long period of time, say ten or twenty years, that their marriage is nullified. This is not true; a divorce granted by a judge is the only way that your marriage will be terminated under the eyes of the law. While separation for one year is a ground for divorce, you still need to go through the legal process to obtain a divorce.

Divorcing When You Didn't Marry In Canada

If you didn’t marry in Canada, you can still legally get a divorce here. Divorce in Canada is based on residency, not the place of marriage. So, if you or your spouse has lived in Canada for at least one year you can obtain a divorce here, on any of the grounds for divorce.

The Truth About Why Men Cheat

Counselor M. Gary Neuman surveyed 200 cheating and noncheating husbands to get at the real reasons behind men's infidelity

What makes men cheat? Marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman dug through past research on male infidelity and found that most answers came from the wife's point of view. Wouldn't it make more sense to ask the guys? he thought. So for his new book, The Truth About Cheating, Neuman surveyed 200 cheating and noncheating husbands to get at the real reasons behind men's infidelity — including what cheating men say could have prevented them from straying. Here, some of his findings:

48% of men rated emotional dissatisfaction as the primary reason they cheated.

So much for the myth that for men, cheating is all about sex: Only 8 percent of men said that sexual dissatisfaction was the main factor in their infidelity. "Our culture tells us that all men need to be happy is sex," Neuman says. "But men are emotionally driven beings too. They want their wives to show them that they're appreciated, and they want women to understand how hard they're trying to get things right." The problem is that men are less likely than women to express these feelings, so you won't always know when your guy is in need of a little affirmation. "Most men consider it unmanly to ask for a pat on the back, which is why their emotional needs are often overlooked," Neuman says. "But you can create a marital culture of appreciation and thoughtfulness — and once you set the tone, he's likely to match it."

66% of cheating men report feeling guilt during the affair.

The implications are a little scary: It isn't just uncaring jerks who cheat. In fact, 68 percent of cheaters never dreamed they'd be unfaithful, and almost all of them wished they hadn't done it, Neuman says. Clearly, guilt isn't enough to stop a man from cheating. "Men are good at compartmentalizing feelings," Neuman explains. "They can hold on to their emotions and deal with them later." So even if your husband swears he would never cheat, don't assume it can't happen. It's important for both of you to take steps toward creating the marriage you want.

77% of cheating men have a good friend who cheated.

Hanging around friends who stray makes cheating seem normal and legitimizes it as a possibility. The message he's subconsciously telling himself: My friend is a good guy who happens to be cheating on his wife. I guess even the best of us do it. You can't simply ban your husband from hanging out with Mr. Wandering Eyes, Neuman says, but you can request that they spend their time together in an environment that offers less temptation, like at a sporting event or a restaurant for lunch rather than at a bar or club. Another strategy: Build your social circle around happily married couples that share your values — it'll create an environment that supports marriage. 

40% of cheating men met the other woman at work.

"Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts," Neuman says. "That's another reason why it's so critical that he feel valued at home." Luckily, there's a clear warning sign that your husband is getting a little too cozy with a colleague: If he praises or mentions the name of a female coworker more than he would a male counterpart, your antennae should go up — and it's time for the two of you to set boundaries about what is and isn't okay at work, Neuman says. Is it acceptable for him to work late if it's only him and her? Can they travel together to conferences? Have dinners out to discuss a project? Ask him what he'd feel comfortable with you doing with a male colleague.

Only 12% of cheating men said their mistress was more physically attractive than their wife.

In other words, a man doesn't stray because he thinks he'll get better sex with a better-looking body. "In most cases, he's cheating to fill an emotional void," Neuman says. "He feels a connection with the other woman, and sex comes along for the ride." If you're worried about infidelity, focus on making your relationship more loving and connected, not on getting your body just right or mastering new sexual positions. (But know that sex does matter — it's one of the key ways your guy expresses his love and feels close to you, so be sure to keep it a priority.)

Only 6% of cheating men had sex with a woman after meeting her that same day or night.

Actually, 73 percent of men got to know the other woman for more than a month before they cheated. This means that you may have time to see the warning signs before
infidelity occurs — you might even see it coming before he does. Keep an eye out for these common signals: He spends more time away from home, stops asking for sex, picks fights more frequently, or avoids your calls. Your gut reaction may be to confront him, but most men will deny even thinking about cheating — especially if nothing physical has occurred yet. Instead, Neuman suggests, take charge of what you can control — your own behavior — and take the lead in bringing your marriage to a better place. Don't hesitate to show your appreciation for him, prioritize time together, and initiate sex more. Give him a reason to keep you at the front of his mind, Neuman says. And be open about how you feel about what's going on between the two of you (again, without mentioning any third parties). Try, "I think we've started to lose something important in our marriage, and I don't want it to disappear." In the meantime, commit to keeping tabs on your relationship and doing what it takes to keep it working for you.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Oct 28, 2010

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Join the Social Activism to save the crumbling Indian family system and fight against gender biased Indian draconian laws.


Law to protect women from workplace harassment soon

Another law to be abused by feminazi's fascists witches. Feminazi may win, but the real loser's are society as a whole. This is another example of what aid money is used for by Feminazi's, this is what UNIFEM and other foreign Feminazi NGO's fund, to destroy society as they have in Western nations. There are absolutely no similarities in standard of living or life style in developing nations, these NGO's dont see how to better developing countries as a whole but rather destroy it. They should learn to not stick there dirty noses where it doesnt belong.
This is another example of Draconian Laws being implemented to be abused by women, and fast way to make money in already corrupted Indian society, few will benefit at the expense of many.

October 28, 2010

New Delhi: India will soon have a law protecting women from sexual harassment at the workplace, Minister of Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said Thursday. This, she added, was an effort to create a gender-just society.

Addressing state secretaries in charge of women and child development at a meeting, Tirath said: "Tremendous progress has been made towards framing a law that would ensure gender equality and safety for women at the workplace."

"We will soon have legislation for protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace in place. The scheme for financial and support services to victims of rape - a scheme for restorative justice - has also been cleared. It is expected to be notified soon," she added.

"We are taking all steps to move towards creating a gender justice society."

The aim of the meeting was to review the progress in implementation of central schemes of the ministry and to roll out two new schemes recently approved by the cabinet.

The new schemes are the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls- SABLA- and the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).

Spanked California woman wins $1.4 m

This is a case of, "No Pain No Gain," in sexual harassment.  This is a case of easy money for women, just scream Sexual Harassment and a fat cheque will be cut.

Oct 29, 2010

London: A 57-year-old saleswoman from California, who won a whopping 1.4 million dollars from her ex-employers after being spanked during a company team-building exercise, finally has the right to get paid.
Janet Orlando was a saleswoman for an Anaheim-based security company when she claimed she was continuously sexually harassed four years ago.

She sued the company and a jury awarded her 1.7 million dollars against Alarm One Inc, in April 2006, but she was not entitled to the settlement.

The company and its insurance carries agreed to a settlement figure of 1.4 million but later declined to pay saying the deal with dependent on finding a bank willing to finance it.

Alarm One Inc, appealed but jurors hearing the retrial deliberated for less than an hour and found Alarm One, Carolina Casualty Insurance and Monitor Liability Managers Inc. in breach of their contract with Orlando and have ordered them to pay her the million dollar sum.

Orlando's lawyer Nicholas Wagner said that because Alarm One has now gone bankrupt, Carolina Casualty might be left paying most of the bill.

“They made a middle-aged woman go in front of mostly male co-workers between the ages of 18 and 24, bend over, put her hands on the wall and spanked her with a metal sign,” the Daily Mail quoted Wagner as saying.

Orlando cried as the verdict was announced in Judge Donald Black's courtroom in Fresno, California. Outside court she described the case as being like a sexual assault.

“You feel like they just keep raping you and raping you. It's almost like they are doing it on purpose,” she said.

New married couple attempts suicide

Oct 29, 2010

Physical deformity is suspected to be behind the attempt by a newly married couple to kill themselves at Jamni village, Jainath mandal in Adilabad district.

According to inspector, Mr Krishna Reddy, Sandeep (25) and Sangeetha (20) had been married five months ago. They had settled down to domestic bliss at of Indira Nagar Jainatha mandal in the district.

Jamni Sarpanch Mohan said that Sandeep was afflicted with a disease which weakened his legs to the extent that they had become as thin as sticks. Sangeetha’s parents surmise that this could have been the reason for their daughter and son-in-law consuming poison late on Thursday evening.

The incident took place when Sandeep along with his wife, had came to his in-law’s residence, when everyone was asleep.

The incident came to light when Sangeetha’s parents heard her moaning for water to drink. They immediately informed the police and shifted the couple to hospital with the help of a 108 ambulance.

Doctors at the hospital state that while Sandeep is in a stable condition, the chances of Sangeeta’s survival are bleak.

A case has been registered and further investigations are on.

City babus give dowry rules a pass

This is called hypocrisy in action, on one side the Government implements Draconian Family Laws, such as IPC 498a, and DV act 2005, and expect the average public to not take dowry, the government does not practice what they preach. 

Oct 29, 2010

Very few of us are aware that we are supposed to submit a list of gifts that we received at the time of marriage to a dowry prohibition officer. The rule goes back to 1961 when the government, in its effort to curb the dowry menace, enacted the Dowry Prohibition Act. And to ensure that central and state government officials “practised what they preached” (till recently in Bihar, the dowry rate for an IAS officer was Rs 1 crore) they have to submit an affidavit declaring that they did not take or give dowry. However, most officials are unaware of the rule.

The Hyderabad dowry prohibition officer, when quizzed about the code of conduct rules for government employees and whether the affidavit was to be submitted by everyone, was not very sure and asked us to check their website.

“It is obviously a social menace,” says Ashok Chakravarti, inspector, Punjagutta police station, “What is even more unfortunate is that 80 per cent of government employees are not aware and the remaining 20 per cent don’t care.”

But in a system known for corruption, bureaucratic hurdles and lack of efficiency, it might not be possible or even practical to perform a background check on all employees. “With fewer people willing to work in government jobs and many posts lying vacant, whether or not an employee abides by the code of conduct is usually overlooked,” says district medical health officer Dr Jaya Kumari.

Added to this is the confusion on whether central government rules apply to state government employees or not. Cyber crimes inspector Uma Maheshwar says, “I know that such a rule exists, but it is not mandatory.” However, Akun Sabharwal, DCP, Central Zone, says, “I knew about this and submitted an affidavit when I got married. “There may be a few cops who take dowry, may be not in the wrong sense but because of traditional customs. Streedhan is the custom where the bride’s parents give gifts to their daughter as part of the her right to her parents’ property,” he adds.

While it is not a law, the code of conduct is expected from all and the government can’t hope to tackle this problem unless it can weed out defaulters. But who is to blame for this muddle? As always we point the finger at the government, but Dr K. Narender, head of department of Mass Communication in OU thinks this is unfair. “We can’t keep blaming the government,” he says, “We also need to become responsible.”

Man accused of wife's murder for money

Oct 27, 2010

LUCKNOW: A day after, the mystery over recovery of the body of a 26-year-old woman in Kakori police station area, who was first reported to be missing at Ghazipur police station on Monday morning, has further deepened.

The woman, a mother of five children and identified as Tabassum, wife of Faheem, a resident of Ghazipur police station area, had gone missing from her house on the evening of October 24.

A case of missing was lodged with Ghazipur police on October 25 morning. However, the body of Tabassum was spotted near Ghailapul under Kakori police station area late on Monday evening.

Following the recovery of the body, brother of Tabassum, who was identified as Asif, working in a west Asian country, has made allegations against Tabassum's husband for orchestrating the crime in connivance with his cousins. Asif claimed that Faheem wanted to get rid of the loan amount, which he had taken against the purchase of a JCB and a dumper, which was also in the name of Tabassum.

An application in this regard was given to Ghazipur police. However, the missing case of Tabassum was still to be altered into a murder case, family members alleged.

Tabassum was married to Faheem, a contractor, about 10 years back. Faheem was working in partnership with his cousin identified as Sheelu.

However, Tabassum's husband, identified as Faheem, has put the blame on a woman, also a resident of Chandangaon, where Faheem's cousin also lives, of killing his wife.

The police said that since no concrete evidence has been found till now, the allegations of both the sides look like empty claims and nothing else.

The police sources, however, confirmed that only one thing looks certain -- the fact that the murder most likely took place because of property worth about Rs 2 crore in the name of Tabassum.

The police said that interrogation of various suspects who could be behind the murder or could lead to the real culprit was still on. The police said that the picture would become clear most likely by Wednesday.

Talaq joke on Skype ends marriage

LUCKNOW: Talaq is no joke. An e-savvy Qatar resident learnt this the hard way when he typed talaq thrice while chatting with his wife on Skype. He says he did not mean it but Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband has ruled that his nikah stands terminated.

That's not all. For his careless 'chat', the man can remarry his divorced wife only after halaala, a practice under which the woman has to marry and divorce another man before she can marry her previous husband again.

Deoband's fatwa section — Dar-ul-Ifta (DuI) — recently received a written request from Qatar, seeking a fatwa on a rather amusing situation. The youth stated that he was recently chatting with his wife on Skype when he typed the word 'talaq' three times, though he did not mean it and asked if his nikah was still valid.

Dar-ul-Ifta shot back that the nikah stands terminated. "When you pronounce talaq three times, it means talaq has taken place, and it does not matter whether the woman has reciprocated or not. Your wife has become 'haraam' for you whether you are aware of the commandment of Islam or not. You neither have the right to take her back nor solemnise new nikah with her without a valid 'halaala'. After the completion of 'iddah' (iddat) period, the woman can marry where she wishes except you," the seminary said.

As per senior Islamic scholars, 'halaala' requires the woman to complete her iddat period of 40 days beginning immediately after talaq. During this period she is supposed to stay away from celebrations and socialising.

At the end of iddat, she would have to marry another man who should then divorce her. She will be required to go through another round of iddat only then would she be eligible to marry her "first husband".

Call girls 'fly' on BIA road

 These women are doing greater service to society then the so called decent, loving 498a wives, so send innocent men to Jail on false accusations.

April 20, 2009

It has become the favourite haunt of the city’s call girls. The stretch of the BIA road between the CBI flyover junction and the Hebbal flyover hosts several government establishments and gets deserted after office hours, making it the ideal spot for a pick-up.

The city got itself a swanky new airport 11 months ago and correspondingly first-rate connectivity to the Devanahalli terminal. But, as was perhaps to be expected, the oldest profession hasn’t been slow to sign up, if you like, as part of the ‘package’.

The blatant soliciting going on under the very nose of the law on a stretch of the highway leading to Bangalore International Airport (BIA) has to be seen to be believed. Call-girls, who once dotted the M G Road-Cubbon Road area in the central part of the city, have shifted base to the BIA road — which has given an impetus to realty and commerce in the northern part of the city. Ironically, their new favourite hang-out is a stretch between the CBI flyover junction and the Hebbal flyover, that hosts a large number of government buildings and is aptly called the ‘government corridor’.

The stretch looks normal enough during the day, but the easy-to-imagine transformation happens after dusk when hundreds of government employees leave their offices for the day. “By 7:30 pm, the profile of the area changes. Women with a lot of make-up walk up and down the isolated stretch trying to solicit motorists heading towards Yelahanka and the airport. Of late, the number of such women is on the rise and many of the local residents are non-plussed about what they are doing here,” said a Sahakar Nagar resident.

COPS IN CAHOOTSActing on the tip-off, Bangalore Mirror decided to investigate and what we found was unsurprising. The cops in the area were aware of the street-sex trade but chose to turn a Nelson’s eye to the goings-on. Cabs kept coming in, halting and moving on after deals were struck. We were witness to cops pocketing money from call-girls and pimps.

The Hebbal police station is just half a kilometre away, but some of the call-girls brazenly said the police were in their pocket and would not touch them or their customers.

Krishna, a pimp who brings three to four girls in his van to the spot everyday, said, “We have an understanding with some cab drivers; they get people who are looking for sexual favours to this place. Once the price is finalised, the girl goes with the client in the taxi.”

Krishna’ logic for why the ‘business’ had shifted to the BIA road was impeccable. “If we were to operate in a residential area, the risk would be high as neighbours might complain. But here the government offices close in the evening and the crowd that passes through this road is largely rich,” he said. At that, a call-girl butted in with, “We make more money here than standing in front of Mayo Hall on M G Road.”

A police officer whom we spoke had his own take on the new trend. “With Metro construction work happening on M G Road, not many people go there. Instead, youngsters now hit the BIA road either to race their vehicles or to visit dhabas and coffee joints on the outskirts. This multi-laned road with its service roads has become a happening place at night.” On the passivity of the cops, he passed the buck down the line, saying, “It is the duty of the local police.” And the constables we talked to had found an apparently easy way out of their obligations. “Most of the call-girls are eunuchs; it is difficult to chase them away,” they said.

Meanwhile, the ‘attraction’ is already beginning to have its effects on the traffic flow along the stretch. “Everyday I see vehicles slow down near the CBI flyover. The drivers are either distracted seeing the call-girls or they halt haphazardly to pick up those they like. This creates a logjam on the high-speed road and that is irritating,” said marketing professional and Amruthalli resident K Satish.

The presence of the call-girls has also turned out to be a nuisance for those government employees who work late hours. Some of the important government buildings in the corridor are IVRI, Veterinary College, the Hebbal campus of UAS, Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Biologicals, Karnataka Agro Industries Corporation and the International Flower Auction Centre. The stretch is also the chosen location for the government’s proposed residential quarters for ministers.

Putting on a sociologist’s hat, a senior BBMP official remarked, “It is definitely an issue pertaining to the livelihood of the call-girls. But the bureaucrat in him wasn’t far behind when he added, “It is sad, though, that they are using a road which we are trying to showcase to the global crowd as a symbol of Bangalore’s infrastructure. Hope this road does not become end up becoming more famous as a call-girl’s pick-up spot.”

How they talk ‘business’Around 8.30 pm last Saturday, the BM team walked up to some call-girls in the ‘corridor’ posing as customers. A replay of what transpired:

Call-girl: Are you Hindi?
BM: Yes
Call-girl: What do you want? Talk to her (girl named Priya who is standing nearby) as she understands Hindi.
BM: We don’t want anything.
Priya: Okay, you can tell me, what do you want?
BM: Nothing...
Priya: Whatever you want you can get.
BM: We do not understand
Priya: How many of you are there and how many girls do you want?
BM: We are two of us.
Priya: Then, Rs 1,000 per head. That comes to Rs 2,000.
BM: It is too much.
Priya: Then how much you can pay?
BM: Rs 1000?
Priya: No, take a walk
BM: Okay, Rs 1,500
Priya: Hmm, okay. But, where to go? Do you have a place?
BM: We will get a car. All of us will spend the whole night.
Priya: Why? Don’t you have a place to go?
BM: We are students. We stay in a hostel.
Priya: No problem. You can come to my place at Kempapura.
BM: Are you going to charge anything extra for that?
Priya: No, no.
BM: And what about the police?
Priya: Don’t worry. They won’t touch us. I know each of them and I pay them regularly.
BM: We will go to an ATM and get back to you.
Priya: Okay, come soon. I can’t wait for you for a long time.
(That must have been one miffed call-girl; needless to say, we didn’t return) 

‘Men are not free ATM machines’

October 28, 2010

Several Bangaloreans welcome the SC judgment against maintenance for women in live-in relationships, say it’s high time government amended the Domestic Violence Act.

Men’s rights groups in the city have welcomed the recent supreme court judgment that women in live-in relationships cannot demand maintenance from their male partners. They have also come out against additional solicitor general Indira Jaisingh who has criticised the judgment.

Kumar V Jahgirdar, a social activist fighting for gender-neutral laws and family harmony, said, “I welcome the supreme court judgment. The concept of women demanding money from men to maintain their lifestyles is completely unacceptable in this era. Men are not economic slaves that they have to keep giving money and gifts every month to concubines and part-time lovers for decades or their whole life even after the end of the relationship.”

Virag Dhulia, liaison officer (India) for the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), said, “It is outrageous that Indira Jaisingh argues in a non-government case and demands that a man pays Rs 500 every month to one of his sexual partners for many decades in future just like a free ATM machine. Given a chance, she can also push courts to order men to pay maintenance to their female colleagues at work, citing some imaginary office romance. We are heading towards a society where women are independent and men are no longer treated as free ATM machines.”

“Today, sexual relationships between men and women are mostly mutual. Lawmakers must put an end to this practice of maintenance, alimony and compensation to women just due to some mutual sexual or emotional relationships for short or long periods of time,” says Jahgirdar.

Women welcome judgment
Some women have welcomed the supreme court judgment which went against the Domestic Violence Act 2005. Roshni Mathan Pereira, family counsellor and mediator at Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP), said, “The Domestic Violence Act is very biased. It does not include the role of husbands and children within the framework of a family. It reads like a set of rules on how to break a marriage. Jaisingh, who is one of the architects of the Act, does not look into the importance and role of the women in the family.

“The Act deals with jargon like concubine and is more worried about such women than the wife. It is not pro-family. The act has become a magic wand in the hands of dominatrix wives who misuse it to break their families because of their own intolerance and manipulations leading to alternative character roles like live-ins, keeps, concubines and spouse thieves.
Though the supreme court has said it is not for them to legislate or amend the law, the government should revamp the act as soon as possible.”

Letter to Rajya Sabha

The Save Indian Family Foundation has also come out against the Act. In a letter to the Rajya Sabha secretariat, it has called for its amendment, saying, “Although the name of the act is Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, almost all the cases are filed only by wives or daughters-in-law. The foundation has called for making the Act ‘gender neutral’, rewriting sections and punishing false complainants.

[SIF-AP] Watch this Video-Reverse Strategy

Here is a video about a Man who has been cheated by a women who said she had Blood Cancer, but it turns out she Lied, surprising, guess not in Women centric Man Biased Family Law country Like India?
This Man has taken it upon himself to prove his innocence and spread awareness on the wrong doings of the women by posting leaflets on telephone poles and everywhere in society. Watch the video, and read his posters.

Women, know your place

March 31, 2009

One guaranteed way out of Japan's demographic mess

Every time I open a newspaper or click on the Internet, yet another article appears bemoaning the same tired trend in Japanese society: the falling birthrate. Citing everything from sexless marriages to inequality in the workplace for women, these articles all skirt the real problem — Japanese women themselves.
Never have I met such a wide variety of overqualified housewives. The waste confounds my slight mathematical ability: How much money thoughtlessly wasted through the years on cram schools and education, on overseas travel, violin lessons? It's time Japanese society eliminated this harmful contradiction, since Japanese women must not be prepared for anything except spousal care and child-rearing. A new focus on marital arts should replace all other education for women in Japan, starting from mid-elementary level, lest girls become susceptible to the dangerous notion that they can someday have a life outside the home.

Take Kato-san. Her life before marriage revolved around a high-level position in corporate banking. Although useful now when dividing the bill after a mommas' karaoke all-nighter (Kato calculates each person's share down to the last decimal, in seconds, even after downing 14 plum cocktails) and perhaps giving her a slight advantage over other housewives when managing the household accounts, any outside observer would conclude she is now overqualified in her daily life.

Or there's Maki, fluent in Italian, who was once an interior designer for a prestigious firm in Tokyo. It is rather pleasing, when she orders gelato, to hear the correct pronunciation of her desired flavor, but other than producing particularly stunning home decor, can her education really enhance her children and husband's everyday existence?

My best friend, Mayuko, a former stage actress and award-winning translator of plays, summed it up best in a recent conversation. "I mean," she said, "What does my world Elisa, stop hitting Nicky! or any world need drama for?" Good question, as a housewife's life is much better suited to television drama, easily accessed after the children go to bed and the husband drones late-night at the office. All these women prove Japanese society raises woefully overqualified housewives, and this senseless waste must stop.

I propose all Japanese women, at the age of 10, enter matrimonial arts academies. The curriculum will center on how to make life pleasant for men and children, and such courses as "Household Funds" or "How to Raise a Chauvinistic Male" will ensure society regains a clarity and unity of purpose so lacking in today's confused world. Seminars such as "How to Pour Beer into your Husband's Glass with Minimal Foam" or "Bathing Children While Maintaining a Pristine Bath" will ensure Japanese women learn the skills and develop the talents necessary for their existence. The arts and sports will not be forgotten: In order to maintain their global reputation for beauty, Japanese women should also take classes such as "Ten-Second Makeup and Skin Care" (including the many uses of a black parasol and elbow-length gloves) and "How to Run in 7-inch Heels while Chasing a 2-year-old."

Going back to the Meiji Era, a precedent exists for such a school in Japanese culture. In 1899, each prefecture in Japan was commanded by law to open at least one high school for girls, the reasoning patently sound: In order to be good wives and wise mothers — ryosai kenbo — women must continue their own education to better educate their children. Coupled with the cultural belief in the enduring power of mother's love (bosei), a woman's future following her true vocation became culturally programmed. It is only with globalization, and the realization that some countries claim that a father's love and attention is also important, or that a woman can and should look outside the home lest her talents be underutilized, that women in Japan became confused.

Western influence must surely take the blame for such hazardous, false assumptions. Japanese society would crumble if women were allowed back into the workplace, as the traditional Japanese male loses the ability to distinguish laundry detergent from rat poison, an egg from an artichoke, homework from the gas bill as soon as he marries. Japanese males, however, are not immune to the dangers of globalization. I have heard recent rumors of Japanese husbands occasionally washing the dishes or playing catch with their children. A club of Japanese husbands grabbed the media spotlight recently for its focus on members publicly declaring devotion to their wives, not their companies. Such rare aberrations must be controlled. It would be further proposed that men enroll in reconditioning schools to curtail the damage from these misleading ideas. The typical Japanese male, however, from kindergarten onward with cram school and other activities geared toward university entrance and subsequent career goals, has no time for such review. Japanese women, therefore, must bear the burden in reeducating their children and spouses.

I also propose that all foreign nationals planning to seek employment in Japan enroll in a compulsory six-month course indoctrinating them to Japanese expectations. When I taught at an international preschool in Yokohama, foreign parents often insisted on keeping their children home on Japanese holidays. Although I patiently explained the folly and possible future damage to their university entrance prospects, particularly concerning the male children, most parents refused to listen. "My husband never gets home in time to see our kids, and your school does not observe Japanese holidays," they whined. "On Saturdays and Sundays, he is too tired to play with the children after the long salaryman hours during the week. These holidays are his only chance to see his children."

This lamentable misunderstanding arises simply due to incorrect expectations. Japanese citizens realize the importance of keeping women in their place and men nailed down to their respective group in the Company. For this reason, every employer planning to send employees to Japan has a moral responsibility to ensure their people embrace the Japanese style of business and society. The wives of these men especially must lose their useless, swollen expectations. Perhaps it is even better to leave the wife and children in the home country so they will not prove a distraction to their hardworking fathers. Japanese companies have a great tradition of this policy, tanshin funin, and foreigners coming to Japan should be made aware of this option.

Any Japanese woman who does not apply herself to her studies, or insists on an alternative career to the home, should be scheduled as soon as possible for sterilization. No need to waste taxpayers' money and their teachers' time if these misinformed women refuse to adhere to their natural vocation. Such women will probably welcome such measures, as their bodies will no longer be able to provide conflicting messages to their mind's unnatural desires.

There is an alternative, but I am reluctant to enter such uncharted, disputed waters. If Japanese corporations and the men who run them force their employees to embrace a work-life balance; if such novel concepts as work-time flexibility, leaving when your work is done instead of when your boss leaves, being rewarded for merit instead of seniority become commonplace; if Japanese families realize the benefits of having a father actually present and active in home-minding and child-raising; if Japanese women admit the only way they can have a family and a career is to have a man physically present and willing to take on some of their traditional roles . . . well, perhaps things could change.

I remain pessimistic, however. These strategies have been tried in many other countries without resounding success. Are British, French or American women any happier with the difficult choices they face in balancing work and home? Better to be clear from the beginning, for both men and women, and harmony in society.
Japan, so effective in starting global trends in electronics and anime, could take the reins of this international conundrum and introduce the world to a new, fresh way of thinking. No matter what country they call home, women, as the procreators of our species, have complicated choices to make in the modern world. Clearly it is best in Japan, and certainly in other countries as well, to give them no choice at all.

Foreign parents face travel curbs?

Oct 20, 2009

I think it is safe to say that the countdown has begun — the countdown to it becoming more difficult for you to leave Japan with your children. Difficult, that is, if you are non-Japanese and traveling without their other parent (or his or her written consent).

The recent arrest of Christopher Savoie in Fukuoka for trying to "abduct" his children back to the United States (or into the U.S. consulate, at least) has highlighted what is being characterized in the Japanese media as a new and growing problem: foreigners abducting their children back to their home countries. If they aren't forcibly grabbing the kids like Mr. Savoie, they are taking them back home for a "visit" and then never coming back.
These are often children who were born and raised in Japan, yet their fates are being decided in foreign courts where the Japanese parents are often handicapped by distance, language and expense. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is just a reversal of the experience of scores of foreign parents whose children have been unilaterally brought to abduction-friendly Japan.

In addition to supposedly being a kidnapper, Mr. Savoie has been pilloried in the Japanese media for allegedly having two nationalities, for "tricking" his ex-wife to the United States so he could divorce her and, laughably, even for being a bigamist. But the abduction part of the story simply builds upon what appears to be a media campaign that has been under way since earlier this year, a campaign doubtless intended to help build a domestic consensus for signing the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

That this is a government-led media campaign is suggested by the fact that it was NHK, the country's government- sponsored broadcaster, which led the pack by running a special segment on the problem of international divorce and child custody on its morning TV news on July 15. Other less captive Japanese media organizations have duly followed suit, but the stories have all generally followed the same theme, with Japanese parents as the victims. From that standpoint, the high profile of the Savoie case is probably a bonanza for the Japanese cause.

Of course, it is on the degree of victimization where Japan and other advanced countries part ways. Certainly, there are some tragic cases of children who have been taken by a foreign father to countries like Iran or Bangladesh, where the Japanese mother loses all contact. Yet, when children are taken to the U.S., for example, remedies are likely to be prompt, and access ensured while proceedings are under way — hardly as dramatic as the scores of cases of foreigners who have been denied contact with their children in Japan for years.

This may explain why a Sept. 5 article in the online edition of the Mainichi Shimbun was reduced to relating the cases of two Japanese women whose children were taken to England and the United States, respectively (doubtless by fathers who feared a failing marriage would result in them losing their children in Japan). Yet both were able to have their children returned through legal proceedings in these countries — despite Japan not being a party to the Hague Convention. It cost them a lot of money, though, and the article contains the questionable assertion that "Japan not being a party to the Convention results in an excessive financial burden on individuals."

It almost seems as though the main benefit to Japan joining the treaty would be to make it less expensive for Japanese parents to benefit from foreign court systems that value the parent-child relationship more highly than in Japan. There is not much in this or other Japanese media coverage of the issue that will give much comfort to parents (foreign and Japanese alike) who may well continue to be victimized by the Japanese legal system whether it is signed or not.

While Japan signing the Hague Convention is certainly a desirable goal, it is probably convenient for everyone on the Japanese government side of the issue for foreigners to be the bad guys. That way they appear to be dealing with a "new" problem, rather than one that they have already ignored for far too long. From there, the easiest way to prevent further abductions is to require foreign residents seeking to exit Japan with their children to show proof that the other parent consents to the travel. This requirement, I believe, will be the most immediate tangible result of Japan signing the Hague Convention (if in fact it ever does).

If such a requirement is imposed, will it apply to Japanese people? Probably not: Japanese citizens have a constitutional right to leave their country. And foreigners? They apparently lack this right — the re-entry permit foreigner residents are required to have is proof that they are not equally free to come and go as they please!

Ironic, yes, but how Japan "resolves" its abduction problem may itself prove to be a veritable smorgasbord of irony.

Signing Hague treaty no cure-all for parental abduction scourge

Oct. 20, 2009

'Best interests of the bureaucracy' standard applies in Japan

The recent arrest of Christopher Savoie for attempting to "kidnap" his two children in Fukuoka has brought much-needed international media attention to one of Japan's dirty secrets — its status as the developed world's leading destination for international parental child abduction.

Mr. Savoie was stopped by Japanese police on Sept. 28 trying to enter the U.S. consulate with his two children (aged 6 and 8) who had been brought to Japan in violation of a Tennessee court order by their Japanese mother, Mr. Savoie's ex-wife.

Since he had been awarded sole custody in the United States, where the international abduction of a child by a parent is also a federal crime, some might think that Japanese authorities arrested the wrong person. Yet it is Mr. Savoie who had to endure weeks of detention. Although recently released, he still faces the threat of indictment and the possibility of a criminal trial in a court system famous for a 99 percent conviction rate.
Some people familiar with Japan's abduction problem may consider Mr. Savoie's case to have exposed a staggering degree of hypocrisy (not to mention racism) on the part of those running the Japanese legal system. After all, "taking your own child is not a crime" has been the mantra recited to the legions of foreign parents and consular officials who have sought the return of children abducted by a Japanese parent from abroad in the past. With the police refusing to get involved, the foreign parent is left to flail away in Japan's ineffectual family court system which, having no real power to enforce its own judgments, tends to ratify the status quo, even if it means the children involved are suddenly living in a different country, being taught in a different language at a different school, and had a loving parent and other relatives suddenly extinguished from their lives.

The truth is both simple and brutal: If your children are taken to Japan, you may never see them again.

Japan is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but this is probably only a secondary issue. Domestic abductions are also a widespread problem, and Japanese parents too suffer in a system that simply does not seem to care if a parent is unilaterally removed from a child's life before or after a divorce. They hear the same mantra — "go to family court," "mediate" and "the police do not get involved."
Well, except that sometimes the police do get involved.

A few years ago a Japanese father was arrested for doing the same thing as Mr. Savoie — grabbing his kids at their school. In that case there were no court orders in place, so arguably he was entitled to do so. But he was arrested and duly convicted for the same offense as Mr. Savoie (abducting a minor). Yet what he was doing was essentially a variation of what is a common practice by Japanese mothers prior to divorce — taking the kids and going back to live with their parents.

As for the apparent hypocrisy involved in Mr. Savoie's arrest, it is only hypocrisy if one assumes that the law is intended to function as a well-defined, consistently applied set of rules by which citizens and visitors alike can know in advance and act accordingly. Yet law also serves as one of the mediums through which Japan's famous bureaucracies preserve and enhance their authority. From this standpoint, whether the law is applied logically or consistently is entirely secondary to whether it provides an excuse for a particular group of bureaucrats to act (or not) — it just needs to be in their interests to do so.

Thus, the fact that police have recently started to arrest parents like Mr. Savoie despite the Japanese penal code remaining unchanged may simply reflect the police having decided that parental abduction is a problem they should do something about either in general, or in specific cases. Having made this decision, what the law actually says or is intended to address doesn't really matter, so long as there is a vaguely drafted statute they can point to as justification.

A similar dynamic plays out in Japanese courts. In custody disputes, courts purport to apply a "best interests of the child" standard. Fortunately for the courts, this standard remains undefined by either statute or clearly announced judicial rules, meaning that judges are free to resolve cases in whatever way is most convenient for the court — which more often than not is the status quo, which they have little power to change. Thus, the real standard being applied is probably what is in the best interests of the court.
A similarly bureaucratic approach may also explain the apparent willingness of Japanese courts to cooperate with other bureaucracies such as police and prosecutors by ratifying seemingly novel applications of criminal law arrests and prosecutions that seem to stretch the law. In another parental abduction case earlier this decade a Dutch man was arrested for trying to leave Japan with his daughter. He was prosecuted for violating an obscure human trafficking statute and duly convicted. In rejecting his appeal, Japan's Supreme Court noted that there is a high degree of unlawfulness in taking a child whose life is established in one country to another country, even if the person doing so is one of that child's parents. Apparently, neither this statute nor this logic has ever been applied to any of the scores of cases of abduction to Japan.

My own view is that as a matter of law, Japan could start returning abducted children tomorrow without having signed the Hague Convention — just as children who have been abducted to countries like the United States or England have been returned to Japan notwithstanding the country's nonsignatory status. Mr. Savoie's case clearly demonstrates that it is not actually necessary to waste time and money in futile family court proceedings to get your child back: The police will do it for you if it is in their interests to arrest the abducting parent. The converse is that they may not do anything if it is not, and this is also why it is conceivable that Japan could sign the Hague Convention and immediately appear on the U.S. State 

Department's list of noncompliant treaty partners.

Whatever the law says, it is very hard to imagine it being in the interests of the police and prosecutors to be seen taking crying half-Japanese children away from distraught Japanese mothers.

This is why the media attention is so important on this issue. Because law in Japan tends to serve the bureaucrats first and the people second, legislation and litigation may not lead to solutions if the bureaucrats are part of the problem. Thus, it will likely be criticism — relentless pressure and attention from both domestic and foreign sources — that will probably carry the day in Japan shedding its shameful status as an abduction haven. If so, it will be because the criticism risks damaging the authority of the bureaucrats by making them look bad.

This is sad, because appeals to law, reason and parental love should have worked a long time ago.

Every husband a potential 'abuser'

Claims of 'violence' offer catch-all way to cut fathers from kids' lives


Before the Christopher Savoie case hit the news, Japanese commentators on the Hague Convention on international parental child abduction had already begun fretting over the completely unsubstantiated assertion that "almost all" instances of children being brought to Japan involve a Japanese mother fleeing from an abusive foreign father. Would Japan signing the convention result in them being sent back? they asked. This is not an unreasonable concern, though I doubt any of these commentators would go so far as to approve of foreign parents taking children out of Japan to escape an abusive Japanese spouse.

Most advanced nations have fairly extensive legal regimes designed to help prevent domestic violence and protect its victims. For this reason, while the Hague Convention contains an exception that says a child does not have to be returned if "there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation," the prevailing view has been that this means children should not be returned to war zones, famine conditions or other extremely harmful environments — claims of domestic violence, however, should be left up to the legal system of the country from which the child was abducted, just like child custody issues.

It is debatable, of course, whether Japan or any other country deals with domestic violence adequately. There is also a growing view (including among some U.S. courts dealing with Hague cases) that the convention does not adequately provide for situations where a parent is seeking to protect herself or her children from domestic violence. Although the convention remains silent on the issue, a recent Yomiuri editorial calling for "careful consideration" of cases involving domestic violence suggests that Japan might simply apply the existing exceptions to prevent the return of children even if it does join.

The problem is that Japanese courts and other governmental agencies appear to deal with domestic violence by applying two simple rules of thumb: that domestic violence is only committed by men against women and children, and that almost any conduct (by men) constitutes domestic violence.

I have met Japanese and foreign men alike who are shocked to find themselves accused of domestic violence in divorce or child custody proceedings, only to discover that the "violence" refers to a past argument in which he raised his voice. This is because, as with abduction itself, domestic violence has a very fuzzy definition. A 2001 article by a Japanese family court investigator is instructive: It lists a number of categories of behavior that she considers to be violence, including physical violence, verbal violence, psychological violence (which can include being excessively quiet and non-responsive!), sexual violence and "educational violence." With the notion of "violence" now encompassing a variety of types of conduct that do not involve physical strength, one would expect it to apply increasingly to women also, but no, I have never seen or heard of a single case where a wife or mother has been found to have committed even "verbal violence."

Based on conversations with Japanese lawyers and the cases I have heard of, it appears relatively easy for a woman to get a restraining order against her husband — one that prevents him from even seeing his children for up to six months — and other dispositions that prevent him from getting information about his own children from schools and government agencies, based on an assertion of violence. Combine this with the all- encompassing definition of "violence" and the fact that there seem to be few (if any) constitutional or other substantive rights in the parent-child relationship in Japan, and that relationship can be terminated with shocking ease if the right buttons are pushed.

This is not to say that domestic violence is not a problem in Japan, or that men do not perpetrate it against women (I have heard some horrific stories on this subject in Japan also). Restraining orders and the withholding of information are vital protections in cases where the safety of adult or child victims of abuse is at risk. But at the same time, the system seems wide open to abuse, particularly in Japan's "winner takes all" regime of sole custody after divorce. Furthermore, as a number of studies in other countries have shown, domestic violence is a complex issue and involves abuse by both men and women in all sorts of relationships. Child abuse is similarly complex, with the Japanese government's own statistics showing that mothers are the primary (or sole) abuser in the majority of cases (though this of course may simply reflect that fact that mothers may also be the sole caregiver or otherwise spend much more time with the children).

While abuse may be a significant factor in some cases of abductions to Japan, the only one that immediately springs to my mind is that of Samuel Lui. According to his account, his child was brought to Japan 10 years ago by his Japanese wife after she had been arrested on charges of spousal abuse (although his California custody order was recognized in Japan all the way up to the Supreme Court, he was of course not able to get his child back). Regardless of how often it is actually the case, however, "Japanese women fleeing abusive foreign men" is probably a usefully simplistic way to both frame the issue on the Japanese side of the debate and set the stage for implementing the convention in a way that spares most judges the need to ever send children back.

Similarly, when confronting complex reality, Japanese courts seem to prefer simplistic rules that minimize the need to take responsibility for exercising judgment in the resolution of a case. Thus, "domestic violence is committed by men against women" is probably a useful rule of thumb in the same way as "always give custody to the mother" is. No judge or other court bureaucrat is likely to ever be blamed for following either of these rules. Of course, both would seem to be problematic assumptions in light of constitutional and statutory requirements mandating gender equality in family law, but the use of simplistic rules to facilitate efficient, blame-free case resolution probably trumps such considerations.

Furthermore, simply assuming all assertions of abuse (by men) to be true is probably much easier than actually dealing with the difficult evidentiary issues such cases can present. For example, over two years ago a foreign father lost custody of his child to his deceased Japanese wife's parents based on allegations of child abuse. A central piece of evidence in his trial was a statement supposedly made by his 4-year-old daughter describing the alleged abuse. At the time, however, the only person who supposedly heard this statement was the grandmother who was seeking custody. The local child welfare agency that acted on her report did not even meet the child until after they had taken her into protective custody (which involved simply leaving her with the grandparents) and litigation to remove the father's custody rights had begun. Even then, according to the father, they only conducted an interview because he demanded they do so, expecting it would show the allegations to be false.

Indeed, the child did not repeat the alleged statement to the agency investigator, who in any case refrained from asking too many questions "in the best interests of the child." Perhaps feeling some pressure to find the child "damaged" in some way, the investigator did note that the 4-year-old child "had a short attention span" and "did not respond well to long questions," suggesting a depressing lack of understanding of children on the part of an agency charged with their welfare!

A court investigator subsequently met with the agency, but essentially relayed back to the judge the time line of the case and the original alleged statement reported by the grandmother. The fact that this was by now double or triple hearsay supposedly spoken by a 4-year-old child neither he nor the investigator had even met, and reported by a party with an obvious motive to lie, did not stop the judge from declaring the child's words to be "accurate" and stripping the father of custody (the case is currently on appeal).

That all contact with a child can be cut off based on a barely substantiated assertion of abuse is rather horrifying from the standpoint of a parent. But it makes sense from the standpoint of the courts and other bureaucrats. Once abuse has been asserted, who wants to be responsible for a child or mother being killed or maimed because the assertion was ignored? It is probably the same dynamic that explains Japan's high conviction rate — a good percentage of the people arrested for crimes or accused of domestic abuse probably are actually guilty, so the safest thing to do is treat all of them as guilty. Unfortunately, in child custody litigation this mentality is ripe for abuse, which nobody seems interested in addressing (I once asked the head of a child welfare agency what procedures they had to prevent spurious allegations of abuse from being used to win child custody cases — his answer, essentially, was "none").

Thus, if Japan does sign the Hague Convention, the notion that "almost all cases involve Japanese women fleeing abusive foreign men" may prove to be a self-fulfilling supposition. Mothers bringing children back to Japan will know in advance (or afterward when getting legal advice in Japan) that asserting abuse will make it more likely that the children will not be sent back. Even though most women in this situation will probably not go so far as to lie about abuse, they will not have to, since the concept is now so broadly and subjectively defined that it probably be truthfully asserted (by women) in the context of almost any marriage that turns into a hostile divorce. Judges, lacking any real power to actually send children back, may find it easier to just use the alleged abuse as an excuse for ratifying the status quo.

Japan signing the Hague will be a step forward even if its immediate impact is nothing more than an expression of intent. Perhaps Japan will even take steps to amend its domestic laws to provide greater remedies for enforcement. Perhaps my cynicism will prove unwarranted. But I am cynical because my approach to this issue is not based on what Japanese law does or doesn't say, but on what is in it for the judges and other bureaucrats. From that standpoint, if Japan does sign the Hague, the question in my mind will be, "Who wants to be the first judge in Japan to send a child back?" Add "when there are allegations of abuse" to that question and perhaps others will find themselves becoming cynical also.

Changes must go beyond Hague abduction treaty

Signing convention won't alter outcomes for many left-behind parents 

Christopher Savoie's recent arrest for "kidnapping" his own children in Fukuoka after they had been brought to Japan by his ex-wife generated not only much-needed media attention on Japan's abduction problem, but some unhelpful static as well. For example, some non-Japanese have claimed that Mr. Savoie's arrest reflects some sort of racism on the part of the Japanese police, though Japanese fathers have been arrested for doing basically the same thing. From the Japanese side there have been allegations that he "tricked" his former wife to the U.S., as well as nonsense about him being a bigamist because he remarried without registering his divorce in Japan.

 Commentators on both sides have tended to converge, however, on one notion — that the Savoie case is somehow related to Japan not being a party to the Hague Convention on international child abduction. This notion is probably mistaken, as I will try to explain.

The treaty's formal title is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. As this suggests, the convention is about the use of expedited civil rather than criminal proceedings to return children who have been abducted across borders. Thus, even if Japan had been a party to the convention, it would not have required Ms. Savoie to be arrested for bringing them here in violation of a U.S. court order. Many signatory nations also have domestic laws criminalizing parental child abduction, but this is not part of the convention.

Although Mr. Savoie's arrest shows that Japan's penal code is already up to the task, under the Hague the starting point in Japan for a father whose children are wrongfully brought to Japan will probably not be much different from what it is now — civil court. Although the convention should require Japanese authorities to help find the children, he will probably still have to go to a family or other civil court once they are located. Under the convention, Japanese courts would probably have to hear his case on an expedited basis, recognize his foreign custody (or visitation) order, and refrain from conducting a new determination of the best interests of the child. This last point is key, as currently Japanese judges tend to determine that children brought from foreign countries have adjusted to their new environments almost immediately, and that a change would not be in their best interests. The convention would require judges to limit their inquiry to whether the child was brought to or kept in Japan "wrongfully." If the removal/retention is wrongful, the child is supposed to be sent back.

This is where the rubber meets the road, however, and what I think is the real problem at the core of the Savoie case: Japanese courts have almost no coercive powers when a case involves children. This is a problem that foreign observers may have trouble understanding, particularly if they are in the U.S., Canada or other countries where police or judicial marshals participate in the enforcement of civil court orders, and judges have broad powers to punish, even imprison recalcitrant parents.

The Japanese statute covering the enforcement of civil judgments does not contain any provisions regarding how to deal with children. Judges are left analogizing younger children to movable property, for which there is a statutory provision allowing for the direct enforcement of the judgment (i.e., physically taking possession) by a bailiff. There is a somewhat surreal academic debate regarding how young a child must be in order for a judge to treat them as a piece of property, but it is generally understood that children older than a certain age (seven or eight is one range given) are deemed capable of forming their own intent and cannot be taken by a bailiff against their will. Even if a judge does order the handover of a child, how (and if) to proceed with the enforcement is left to the bailiff (who, although an officer of the court, lacks police powers).

A recent article on the subject of enforcing child handover orders authored by a judge and published in the Japanese Supreme Court's family court journal illustrates the problem in Japan. It contains summaries of a number of enforcement situations, including one that goes roughly like this: Father abducts his four-year-old child from mother. Court orders father to return child to Mother. Bailiff goes to the father's residence to enforce the order directly (the child being young enough for the movable property analogy to work). Mother has previously warned the court that father is a violent sort, so the police are requested to accompany the bailiff. Father clutches child to his chest, saying "Over my dead body." The bailiff asks the child, "Do you want to come with me?" Child says "No." With this, the enforcement effort ends in failure.

This case illustrates what has to me always been a disturbing aspect of how cases involving children often seem to get resolved in Japan — by an adult in a position of authority letting even a very young child directly or indirectly make the final decision. Perhaps judges and other court personnel take comfort in having "respected the wishes of the child," but it sometimes comes across as a blatant abdication of responsibility. Respecting the wishes of a child is probably also often a convenient excuse for ratifying the status quo, since the courts often can do little to change it. If all it takes to frustrate a court order in a domestic case is to get a four-year-old child to say "no," then the same technique may prove effective in Hague cases also. The convention contains an exception stating that children old enough to express a contrary preference do not have to be returned.

Japan's habeas corpus statute provides another remedy, and although it is clearly drafted with unlawful police detentions in mind, it is now used mostly in child custody cases against parents who are "detaining" their own children. It is probably also the only remedy available to civil courts in such cases where there is a possibility of criminal sanctions for noncompliance. The Supreme Court, however, has indicated that absent exceptional circumstances, habeas corpus should not be used when the child is being detained by a parent (i.e. most cases).

In light of the above, I think that at the heart of the Savoie case is not "culture," not the Hague Convention and not racial discrimination, but an issue which affects Japanese and foreign parents alike — the dismal prospects for protecting your relationship with your children through litigation even if you win. Without deeper changes in the legal system, the Hague Convention may not do anything to change this state of affairs, since it leaves the specific remedies for abduction to the domestic laws of signatory states. Even if Japan does sign the Hague, it could end up like Germany, which, although a party to the treaty, was named in the U.S. State Department's 2008 report on the convention as having compliance issues due to "judicial performance" — more specifically the lack of enforcement mechanisms.

But remedies — getting the child back — are probably the only thing that left-behind parents care about. Most parents who love their children and take time to reflect on the matter probably do not want the abducting parent to be convicted or punished for a crime. Indeed, the issuance of an arrest warrant in the country from which the child is abducted can be counterproductive in the long run if it prevents the abducting parent traveling with the children years later, after everyone has had a chance to calm down.

For most left-behind parents, the real significance of criminalizing parental child abduction, in addition to whatever deterrent effect it might have, is probably not the ability to punish the abducting parent, but to have the child summarily returned by the police as part of the arrest process (and without the child being forced to make a decision). Most parents are unlikely to care if the case is not pursued after their children are returned, as effectively happened in the Savoie case.

However, it is the seemingly arbitrary availability of this remedy in Japan where claims of bias may be closer to the mark. But it is more likely gender bias rather than discrimination against foreigners. Quite simply put, when it comes to children, the Japanese legal system seems to cut mothers a lot more slack than it does fathers.

Not showing at a family court near you (Japan)

The DVD that the Supreme Court doesn't seem to want parents to see


I have seen the secret Japanese video. No, not the one where you die within a week of watching it, the other one — the one about how traumatic divorce and parental separation are for children.

Titled "Kodomo no Iru Fufu ga Hanarete Kurasu Toki ni Kangaenakereba Naranai Koto" ("What Couples with Children

Must Think About When They Live Apart"), it is a short educational DVD that dramatizes a deteriorating marriage and the effect it has on the couple's elementary school-age daughter.

The DVD's message is quite simple: Parental separation is extremely hard on children, and they deal with it in different ways, ways parents may not understand or appreciate, particularly if they themselves are deep in the emotional swamp of divorce.

The little girl in the drama tries various strategies to hold the family together, encouraging activities involving both parents, taking on more household tasks, and so forth — thinking that if she tries hard enough, things will get better. Of course she blames herself for what is happening, and is shown lying alone in bed, clinging to her teddy bear, crying and promising to be a good girl. Yet, while trying hard to be good at home, at school she becomes sullen and withdrawn, and fights with her classmates over trivial things.
The DVD's commentary explains that children whose parents are separating are almost paralyzed by fear: fear of losing a parent, fear of the changes that are happening, and fear of an uncertain future. Divorcing parents often make this worse not just by being preoccupied with their own fear, anger and sadness, but by subtly or overtly pressuring their children to choose between the two people they love most, whether it be over who to live with after separation, or through a more subtle set of choices between parents seeking emotional allies in the battle into which divorces often degenerate.
In terms of content, there is not much about the DVD that is surprising, at least to someone familiar with Western notions of divorce, or to loving parents in any culture who are able to think of their children as separate human beings. No, what is surprising about this DVD in the Japanese context is that it exists at all, since the effect that divorce has on the tens of thousands of children who experience it every year in Japan is a subject that seems to have been almost completely ignored by officialdom, educators and the mental health community alike.

An Amazon search done a few years ago would turn up virtually no works by Japanese authors on the subject; such publications as were available were more likely to be translations of Western works. Clinical psychologist and professor Kazuyo Tanase is one of the few Japanese scholars active in this area, and has published — in February — what is probably the first book for general readers in Japan about the psychological impact of divorce on children, "Rikon de Kowarete Iku Kodomo tachi" ("Children Who Are Broken by Divorce," Kobunsha Shinsho).

In this respect, Japan may have some catching up to do, though some might argue that divorce and child custody in Japan are different for cultural reasons. Yet one of the other surprising things about the DVD is that it is remarkably free of any sort of cultural baggage (other than the absence of joint custody as an option, which is more of a legal issue). Its portrayal of how divorce negatively affects children and advice on how to minimize this impact would be readily recognized and accepted in most other countries and cultures. At heart, the issues involve a child's feelings of fear, sadness and loss — feelings that are likely to be universal.
Given Japan's continuing status as a haven for parental child abduction and the seemingly hopeless prospects of parents seeking to protect or at least cushion their children from the loss of contact with one parent through the country's family courts (where visitation awards of "six hours per year" or even "three photographs a year" are still not unusual), some parents might rightfully demand that this DVD be required viewing for Japanese judges. However, such a demand would be misguided because — ha ha — it was actually made by the Supreme Court of Japan. Paradoxically, this might explain why it seems to get so little air time in actual court proceedings.

Reportedly distributed to family courts by the Supreme Court administration in 2006, the DVD predates most native works on the subject of children and divorce yet remains a little-known resource, still shrouded in mystery almost four years later. Given that by its title it is directed at all separating parents, the court system's official Web site would seem to be the ideal way to make its contents as broadly accessible as possible. Since 90 percent of Japanese divorces are consensual, that would make it available to the large number of couples who never set foot in a courthouse when splitting up. Yet, a search of the DVD's name combined with the court system's official domain suffix ( turns up only two immediate hits: links to notes of meetings of Family Court Committees (panels of citizens that offer feedback to the family courts) in Toyama and Kofu at which the DVD is discussed. The official court system Web site is free of any references to this educational tool; for most practical purposes, it might just as well never have been made.

Some courts have reportedly even denied that such a video exists in response to inquiries. Others are apparently reluctant to make it widely available. I recently met a Japanese lawyer whose practice includes family law who was shocked to learn that such a thing exists.

As far as I have been able to ascertain, the Supreme Court intended the DVD to be an educational resource that family courts could show to parents undergoing divorce mediation and to help with visitation. In fact, the DVD includes a separate section on what parents need to do to make visitation work. Here again, there is nothing particularly surprising about the contents: Parents should be considerate of children in the course of conducting visitation, should not use children as a medium for conveying or extracting information to or about the other parent, and so forth. Yet, viewed in the context of how family courts work, the DVD seems to be intended for a category of parent that doesn't exist — one who is stubborn enough to end up in family court yet can still be convinced to change their mind by a DVD. Perhaps this is why despite having been made with the best of intentions by judicial administrators, many individual courts may not be eager to use it.

Here it is worth noting something that many parents may find confusing about divorce mediation in Japan: Despite being required by law, taking place inside a courthouse and being overseen by judges and other people appointed by the court system, family court mediation is technically considered to be a form of "out of court" dispute resolution, rather than a litigation proceeding. This means that the mediators are not in a position to force a party to do anything, let alone watch a DVD, even if the party is a parent trying to alienate their child from the other parent. Furthermore, a parent engaged in such behavior is unlikely to act differently even if they did watch it.

Thus, the limited use of the DVD may simply reflect what I think is a flaw underlying family court divorce mediation in general: Since the people who can talk through their problems have already been filtered out of the system through cooperative divorces, expecting one or both of those parents who do end up in court to act reasonably may be naive. Furthermore, when one of the parties is expecting the court to act like a court — by say, making it possible for them to see their own children — the mediation requirement may even be harmful, since it often entails a prolonged period where the court is involved yet does not seem to be doing anything "court-like," potentially resulting in tremendous anger and disappointment on the part of parents who spend months of time in mediation yet end up losing contact with their children anyways.

In this context, it is easy to see why some of the well-meaning people who run Japan's family courts might want to keep the DVD under wraps. If uncooperative parents can't be made to watch it and won't act properly even if they do, there is probably little benefit for the courts to advertise an inconvenient truth: that as an institution they know exactly what divorce does to children, and that it is the same type of emotional harm suffered by children in other countries and other cultures.

Furthermore, the courts risk being shown to be culpable bystanders at best, active facilitators at worst in the cause of this harm. Much of the behavior the DVD tells parents is bad for their children is behavior that courts end up ratifying in order to declare a child custody case "resolved" — in the best interests of the child.
For example, Japanese family court "experts" routinely conduct investigations that involve asking children to choose a parent (they are not likely to characterize it as such, of course, but rather as "seeing how the child feels," though whether children understand this semantic distinction is questionable). How can they keep doing so if everyone has seen a DVD telling parents such behaviors should be avoided? How can a family court judge continue to award "three photographs a year" in lieu of actual visitation if the noncustodial parent can throw the Supreme Court's own educational materials back in her face? The DVD is thus a double-edged sword, one that could be used by parents to tell judges what they should be doing, when judges probably prefer the flow of directives to remain one-way and in the other direction.

Perhaps the knowledge possessed by at least a part of the judiciary that is reflected in the DVD (and in materials I have received from the courts in response to related information-disclosure requests) has not yet been properly disseminated throughout the family court system. Perhaps a Japanese "consensus" has yet to develop around how this knowledge should be converted into judicial action. Or maybe family court judges do not care enough to do more, or feel that responsibility for resolving the problem lies elsewhere, with parents, the Diet or some other sector of government.

Whatever the reason, the DVD and the knowledge it contains makes what happens to many children in Japanese family courts seem somehow worse than if the results were based on ignorance alone.