A Franklin, Tennessee, man who was arrested in Japan after allegedly attempting to take his children away from his ex-wife has declared that he intends to file a lawsuit against the judge involved in resolving his child custody dispute.

The judge had served as a mediator in the divorce proceeding prior to being appointed as a judge. After being appointed to the bench, the judge then presided over the case. The man was awarded sole custody of his children; however, the judge allowed the wife visitation rights and allowed her to take the children to Japan on what was supposed to be a short trip in 2009. The wife and children have still not returned, and the man has barely spoken to his children in three years.

This case illustrates the importance of developing a good child custody plan during a divorce proceeding. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation can help couples come to an agreeable child custody solution that is in the best interests of the children.

Working with an experienced family law mediator can assist couples in developing a child custody plan that includes details divorcees may forget to consider including health care needs, vacation schedules, weekend schedules, educational and extracurricular needs, and pick-up/drop-off times. A trained family law mediator can also help the parents temper their personal feelings and consider the desires and needs of their children first and foremost when developing a child custody plan.

Apart from alternative dispute resolution, the parents may take their case to court and have the issue decided by a judge. This approach takes the decision out of the parents' hands entirely and risks a ruling that is agreeable to nobody.

Source: The Tennessean, "Franklin man plans to press case against judge in international child custody dispute," Mar. 7, 2012