The Bali Times
A BALINESE businesswoman is facing arrest in the United States for contempt of court if she fails to appear before a California court as ordered by the judge.
Made Jati, 52, had launched child custody proceedings against her former husband, Michael Donnelly, 58, who is an American citizen.
Together the two ran Kori Restaurant in Kuta and the Uluwatu chain of Balinese lace stores, a business that has grown into what Donnelly says is a multimillion-dollar operation.
Although Jati previously attended the Superior Court of California for hearings, she failed to do so at the most recent hearing on April 16.
During an earlier hearing, the court issued a bench warrant for Jati’s arrest.
But at the April 4 hearing, the judge agreed to a petition from Jati’s lawyer to postpone acting on the bench warrant before an upcoming hearing, on July 1, that Jati has been ordered to attend.
She told The Bali Times this week:
“There is a court case going on and I cannot comment,” she said.
Asked if she would be attending the July 1 hearing in California, she said, “I am not in America … I don’t really understand what is going on.”
Donnelly now lives in California with the couple’s two teenage sons, after what he claims was a death threat against him in August 2007 that caused him not to return the children to Bali following a California holiday.
The family had lived in Bali from 1987 to 2007, spending two months per year in California. The couple’s two children, boys, were born in California in 1993 and Singapore in 1994.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation examined the email threat and advised Donnelly of a potential risk, Donnelly told The Bali Times.
Donnelly and Jati had previously been embroiled in divorce proceedings at the Denpasar District Court, in 2005. The pair had married in California and again upon arrival in Bali.
However, Donnelly said, Jati claimed during the divorce proceedings that the two had not registered their 1985 California wedding in Bali, as required under law after they moved here, and that therefore she was entitled to custody of their sons, now aged 15 and 17.
Jati claimed the Bali ceremony was merely cultural and not official, said Donnelly.
The Denpasar court agreed with Jati, as did the Bali High Court, on appeal by Donnelly.
However, the Supreme Court in Jakarta overturned the two lower-court decisions, saying that the pair were legally married in Indonesia. It did not rule on custody.
A final appeal, a judicial review, was filed by Jati but thrown out in 2009.
Donnelly said he now has custody of the couple’s children, by order of the California court.
“In 2008, nine months after the boys and I fled Bali, Made came to California and filed a petition in California for custody. In that petition Made stipulated that California had jurisdiction to rule on custody,” he said.
“The court ordered deposition about the events of the case, but Made’s attorney in Bali, Ida Bagus Wikantara, advised Made not to cooperate with the court and return to Bali.
“The court ruled that Made abandoned her children. Custody has now been ruled on by the court in California and I have been granted complete custody and Made is under a restraining order.”
Meanwhile, Donnelly is now seeking a half-share of the Uluwatu and Kori Restaurant businesses. He said he values the Uluwatu firm, which on its website lists 11 stores in Bali and employs 200 workers, at around US$2.5 million.
“In Singapore, we signed a document that we would share 50 percent in both companies, Uluwatu and Kori Restaurant, as well as all our properties acquired during marriage, and of course, share custody of the children,” Donnelly said.
He said he had rescued the once-ailing clothing manufacturer, at that time run by an Australian associate, and had turned it into a profitable firm.
“I have filed a civil case in Indonesia for division of assets and that case is still ongoing,” Donnelly said.