DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW IN JAPAN

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We are professional attorneys regarding International Divorce.

International Divorce A divorce is rarely easy. When children are involved, even an amicable divorce can take a turn for the worst. When property is involved, it is important to take action to ensure that your future interests are taken care of. Although technically a divorce is a decision made and carried out between two people, the truth is that the choice to enter into a divorce will have much wider-spread ramifications. Whether considering the effect on any children that the couple has, or how relationships, such as in-laws, extended family or friends, it is impossible to deny the consequence divorce will have on your life.

For this reason, divorce is an extremely delicate area of the law. You deserve to have the assistance of someone who is intimate with this area of the law, someone who will be able to help you navigate through the process with as much ease and speed as possible. Mishandling of a case such as this can have detrimental effects, turning what could have been seamless into a bitter. You should not risk it. With the help of attorney, your divorce or family law matter can be handled in such a way as to benefit your current and future interests as well as those of your family.

At Tokyo Sanno Law Office, our team is comprised of skilled, dedicated and hardworking divorce and family law professionals. As such, our goal is to educate, negotiate, mediate or litigate to the best interests of our clients.

As experienced trial lawyers, we are ready to fight for you in court if necessary. We can aggressively advocate for your interests in a contested divorce, marital property division dispute or any other contentious family law matter. In fact, our firm has never lost a child custody case.

We understand that there are times when finding amicable solutions may be in the best interest of all concerned. We can help you to negotiate a separation or settlement agreement or to resolve an uncontested divorce in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

We recognize and respect your need for information, as well as for thoughtful, practical advice and understanding. Our main goal is always to help you resolve your legal problems as quickly as possible so you can begin to move forward with your life. We know that divorce and other family law issues have a significant financial impact on families. That’s why we take steps to protect our clients from being saddled with financial responsibilities they may not be able to meet in the future.

Hague Convention

(CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION (Concluded 25 October 1980))

Hague Convention (CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION (Concluded 25 October 1980)), which concerns handling of the child born between the bilingual and divorced couple, became effective on 1st, April, 2014.

In the case where your divorced wife takes your child to Japan, you are able to file a motion with the court to get your child back to your home. We, Japanese lawyers, specializing family matters including divorce/ children custody, and are able to help you to take and return your children in Japan and realize right of access to your children.

If you are interested in this subject, please don’t hegitate to contact us.

Civil Code

Source: Japanese Law Translation Database System by 2018 Ministry of Justice, Japan

Civil Code (Part IV and Part V (Tentative translation))
Part IV Relatives
Chapter I General Provisions
(Range of Relatives)

Chapter II Marriage
Section 1 Formation of Marriage
Subsection 1 Requirements for Marriage
(Marriageable Age)

Article 731  A man who has attained 18 years of age, and a woman who has attained 16 years of age may enter into marriage.
(Prohibition of Bigamy)

Article 732  A person who has a spouse shall not enter into another marriage.
(Period of Prohibition of Remarriage)

Article 733  (1) A woman may not remarry unless six months have passed since the day of dissolution or rescission of her previous marriage.
(2) In the case where a woman had conceived a child before the cancellation or dissolution of her previous marriage, the provision of the preceding paragraph shall not apply.
(Prohibition of Marriage between Close Relatives)

Article 734  (1) Neither lineal relatives by blood nor collateral relatives by blood within the third degree of kinship may marry; provided that this shall not apply between an adopted child and his/her collateral relatives by blood through adoption.
(2) The preceding paragraph shall also apply after the termination of a family relationship pursuant to the provision of Article 817-9.
(Prohibition of Marriage between Lineal Relatives by Affinity)

Article 735  Lineal relatives by affinity may not marry. This shall also apply after the termination of a relationship by affinity pursuant to the provisions of Article 728 or Article 817-9.
(Prohibition of Marriage between Adoptive Parent and Child etc.)

Article 736  Even after the termination of a family relationship pursuant to the provision of Article 729, an adopted child or spouse of adopted child, or a lineal descendant or spouse of a lineal descendant, may not marry an adoptive parent or his/her lineal ascendant.
(Parental Consent for Marriage of Minor)

Article 737  (1) A minor shall obtain the consent of both parents to marry.
(2) If one parent does not consent, the consent of the other parent is sufficient. This shall also apply if one parent is unknown, has died, or is unable to indicate his/her intent.
(Marriage of Adult Ward)

Article 738  An adult ward does not require the consent of his/her guardian of adult to marry.
(Notification of Marriage)

Article 739  (1) Marriage shall take effect upon notification pursuant to the Family Registration Act (Act No. 224 of 1947).
(2) The notification in the preceding paragraph shall be given by document with the signatures of both parties and not less than two adult witnesses, or given orally by these persons.
(Acceptance of Notification of Marriage)

Article 740  Notification of marriage may not be accepted unless it has been found not to violate the provisions of Articles 731 to 737 inclusive, the provision of paragraph (2) of the preceding Article, or the provisions of any other laws and regulations.
(Marriage between Japanese Nationals in Foreign Country)

Article 741  Two Japanese nationals in a foreign country who intend to marry may give notification to the Japanese ambassador a minister of legation or consul stationed in that country. In this case, the provisions of the preceding two Articles shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Subsection 2 Void and Annulled Marriages
(Grounds on Which Marriage is Void)

Article 742  Marriage shall be void only in the following cases:
(i) if one of the parties has no intention to marry due to mistaken identity or other cause; or
(ii) if the parties do not lodge notification of marriage; provided however, that the effect of marriage shall not be prevented merely because notification was not given in the form prescribed in paragraph (2) of Article 739.
(Rescission of Marriage)

Article 743  Marriage may not be annulled, unless pursuant to the provisions of Articles 744 to 747 inclusive.
(Rescission of Unlawful Marriage)

Article 744  (1) Either of the parties, their relatives, or a public prosecutor may make a claim to the family court to rescind a marriage if it violates the provisions of Articles 731 to 736 inclusive; provided, however, that a public prosecutor may not claim this after the death of one of the parties.
(2) A spouse or previous spouse of a party to a marriage that violates the provisions of Article 732 or Article 733 may claim for rescission of marriage.
(rescission of Marriage in Violation of Marriageable Age)

Article 745  (1) When a person of non-marriageable age reaches marriageable age, a claim for rescission of a marriage that violates the provisions of Article 731 may not be made.
(2) A person of non-marriageable age may claim rescission of marriage within a further three months after he/she has reached marriageable age; provided that this shall not apply if he/she has ratified the marriage after reaching marriageable age.
(Rescission of Marriage Formed within the Period of Prohibition of Remarriage)

Article 746  A claim for rescission may not be made for a marriage that violates the provisions of Article 733 if six months have passed from the day on which the previous marriage was cancelled or rescinded, or if a woman has conceived a child after remarriage.
(Rescission of Marriage by Fraud or Duress)

Article 747  (1) A person who has married due to fraud or duress may make a claim for rescission of marriage to the family court.
(2) The claim for rescission of marriage pursuant to the preceding paragraph lapses upon the passage of three months after the party has discovered the fraud or escaped the duress, or upon ratification.
(Effect of Rescission of Marriage)

Article 748  (1) Rescission of marriage shall not have retroactive effect.
(2) A party who did not know of the cause of rescission at the time of marriage must return property obtained by the marriage to the extent of the gain he/she actually receives.
(3) A party who was aware of the cause of rescission at the time of marriage must return all of the gain obtained by the marriage. In this case, the party is liable to compensate an adverse party without knowledge for damages.
(Application Mutatis Mutandis of Divorce Provisions)

Article 749  The provisions of paragraph (1) of Article 728, Articles 766 to 769 inclusive, the proviso to paragraph (1) of Article 790, and paragraphs (2),(3),(5) and (6) of Article 819 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the rescission of marriage.
Section 2 Effect of Marriage
(Surname of Husband and Wife)

Article 750  A husband and wife shall adopt the surname of the husband or wife in accordance with that which is decided at the time of marriage.
(Surviving Spouse Reverting to Previous Surname etc.)

Article 751  (1) If a husband or wife dies, the surviving spouse may revert to using the surname he/she used before marriage.
(2) The provisions of Article 769 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the preceding paragraph and to the case referred to in paragraph (2) of Article 728.
(Duty to Live Together, Cooperate, and Provide Mutual Assistance)

Article 752  A husband and wife shall live together and provide mutual cooperation and assistance.
(Constructive Adult by Marriage)

Article 753  If a minor enters into marriage, he/she shall be deemed to have attained majority.
(Right to Rescind Contract between Husband and Wife)

Article 754  Either husband or wife may at any time during marriage rescind a contract between husband and wife; provided, however, that this may not harm the rights of a third party.
Section 3 Marital Property
Subsection 1 General Provisions
(Marital Property of Husband and Wife)

Article 755  The property rights and duties of a husband and wife shall be prescribed by the following subsections, unless they entered into a contract setting forth otherwise, regarding their property before giving notification of the marriage.
(Requirements of Perfection of Contract on Property of Husband and Wife)

Article 756  If a husband and wife have entered into a contract that departs from the statutory property system, the contract may not be asserted against the successor in title of the husband or wife, or a third party unless registered prior to notification of marriage.

Article 757  Deleted
(Limitations on Altering Property Rights of Husband and Wife etc.)

Article 758  (1) The property rights of a husband and wife may not be altered after notification of marriage.
(2) In the case where one party to a marriage administers property and that property is imperiled by misadministration, the other party may make a claim to the family court for his own administration over that property.
(3) A claim may be made for division of property held in co-ownership together with the claim referred to in the preceding paragraph.
(Requirements of Perfection of Change of the Administrator of Property or Division of Property in Co-ownership)

Article 759  If an administrator of property has been changed, or property held in co-ownership has been divided pursuant to the provisions of the preceding Article or as a result of the contract referred to in Article 755, this may not be asserted against the successor in title of the husband or wife, or a third party unless it is registered.
Subsection 2 Statutory Marital Property System
(Sharing of Living Expenses)

Article 760  A husband and wife shall share the expenses that arise from the marriage taking into account their property, income, and all other circumstances.
(Joint and Several Liability for Debts incurred for Household Necessities)

Article 761  If one party to a marriage engages in a juristic act with a third party regarding everyday household matters, the other party shall be jointly and severally liable for debts that arise from that act; provided that this shall not apply if prior notice is given to the third party to the effect that the other party will not assume such liability.
(Ownership of Property between Husband and Wife)

Article 762  (1) Property owned by one party before marriage and property obtained in the name of that party during marriage shall be separate property (property owned singularly by one party to a marriage).
(2) Property that does not clearly belong to either husband or wife shall be presumed to be held in co-ownership.
Section 4 Divorce
Subsection 1 Divorce by Agreement
(Divorce by Agreement)

Article 763  A husband and wife may divorce by agreement.
(Application Mutatis Mutandis of Marriage Provisions)

Article 764  The provisions of Articles 738, 739, and 747 shall apply mutatis mutandis to divorce by agreement.
(Acceptance of Notification of Divorce)

Article 765  (1) Notification of divorce may not be accepted unless the divorce has been found not to violate the provision of paragraph (2) of Article 739 applied mutatis mutandis to the preceding Article, paragraph (1) of Article 819, or the provisions of any other laws and regulations.
(2) If notification of divorce has been accepted despite the violation of the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the effect of the divorce shall not be prevented because of this violation.
(Determination of Matters regarding Custody of Child after Divorce etc.)

Article 766  (1) If parents divorce by agreement, the matters of who will have custody over a child, visitation and other contacts between the father or mother and the child, sharing of expenses required for custody of the child and any other necessary matters regarding custody over the child shall be determined by that agreement. In this case, the child’s interests shall be considered with the highest priority.
(2) If the agreement set forth in the preceding paragraph has not been made, or cannot be made, the matters set forth in the preceding paragraph shall be determined by the family court.
(3) The family court may change the agreement or determination under the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs and order any other proper disposition regarding custody over the child, if it finds this necessary.
(4) The rights and duties of parents beyond the scope of custody may not be altered by the provisions of the preceding three paragraphs.
(Reversion to Previous Surname by Divorce)

Article 767  (1) The surname of a husband or wife who has taken a new name by marriage shall revert to the surname used before marriage by divorce by agreement.
(2) A husband or wife whose surname has reverted to the surname before marriage pursuant to the provision of the preceding paragraph may use the surname he/she used at the time of divorce by notification pursuant to the Family Registration Act within three months of the time of divorce.
(Distribution of Property)

Article 768  (1) One party to a divorce by agreement may claim a distribution of property from the other party.
(2) If the parties do not, or cannot, settle on agreement with regard to the distribution of property pursuant to the provision of the preceding paragraph, either party may make a claim to the family court for a disposition in lieu of agreement; provided that this claim for distribution of property shall be extinguished at the expiration of two years from the day of divorce.
(3) In the case referred to in the preceding paragraph, the family court shall determine whether to make a distribution, and the amount and method of that distribution, taking into account the amount of property obtained through the cooperation of both parties and all other circumstances.
(Assumption of Rights upon Reversion to Previous Surname by Divorce)

Article 769  (1) If a husband or wife who has taken a new surname by marriage divorces by agreement after inheriting the rights contained in paragraph (1) of Article 897, the matter of who will be the successor of those rights shall be determined by agreement of the parties and any other interested persons.
(2) If the agreement of the preceding paragraph is not, or cannot be, made, the family court shall determine who will be the successor of the rights in that paragraph.
Subsection 2 Judicial Divorce
(Judicial Divorce)

Article 770  (1) Only in the cases stated in the following items may either husband or wife file a suit for divorce:
(i) if a spouse has committed an act of unchastity;
(ii) if abandoned by a spouse in bad faith;
(iii) if it is not clear whether a spouse is dead or alive for not less than three years;
(iv) if a spouse is suffering from severe mental illness and there is no prospect of recovery; or
(v) if there is any other grave cause making it difficult to continue the marriage.
(2) A court may dismiss a suit for divorce if it finds continuing the marriage reasonable taking into account all circumstances, even in the case where there is a cause listed in items (i) to (iv) inclusive of the preceding paragraph.
(Application Mutatis Mutandis of Divorce by Agreement Provisions)

Article 771  The provisions of Articles 766 to 769 inclusive shall apply mutatis mutandis to the case of judicial divorce.