Jersey dad fights for kids in Korea

May 28, 2010 2:46:44 PM PDT
A custody battle is being waged between a New Jersey dad and his estranged wife over their children who are halfway around the world.

Their two children are in South Korea. Their mother is in jail and the father, who lives in Dumont is desperately trying to get his children back home.

The court case began in Bergen County on Friday.

"No parent should ever have to go through what i have gone through, for a year," Alejandro Mendoza said.

Mendoza hopes his nightmare is coming to an end. He says he wants his children back. That his estranged wife, Si Nae Shim, took them from their home in Korea and he hasn't seen them since.

Both parents are concert violinists who had moved from Bergen County to Korea, but then disagreed over whether or not to stay there.

"I was gonna leave to bring the family back. That's when she did the sad thing that she has done," he said.

Si Nae was arrested while travelling without her children in Guam back in March. She is now being held in the Bergen County jail, charged with interference of custody, but as her court case was discussed some of her supporters insisted, the real story has nothing to do with her stealing the kids.

"Absolutely not. They were living in Korea together. The gentleman was involved in some criminal things in Korea," Sang Oh said.

Si Nae claims Mendoza abused their children, but Mendoza has never been charged with anything.

The case is similar to that of David Goldman in New Jersey. He lost his son to his wife's family in Brazil, and then waited years until he finally got him back.

In this case, it was revealed in court that the children's mother hasn't even seen them in the past 3 months. The judge ordered Si Nae held until an agreement is reached.

"We don't want it to linger. It's lingered long enough," Judge Alexander Carver said.

"This is the most devastating thing that can be done to a father," Mendoza said when asked if he had done anything to ever harm his children.

The mother's attorney said he was prepared to raise the allegations of child abuse in court.

All the parties in this case are due back here at court next Friday. That is the official deadline imposed by the judge. For Alejandro Mendoza, it can't come soon enough.