Legal Services on Japanese Laws

How to get divorced

We provide general information about how to get divorced.

Types of Divorce

Japanese family law provides three types of divorce, as divorce by consent ("Kyogi rikon"), arbitrated divorce ("Chotei rikon") and adjudicated divorce ("Saiban rikon"). Among Japanese couples, many get divorced by filing reports with local government offices where manage family register for Japanese nationals. Even other than a Japanese national, you may be able to choose divorce by consent, so long as your spouse is a Japanese national or the couple has lived together as a married couple for a long time in Japan. However, the divorce by consent does not involve any court procedures and is not likely to be approved and effective under any jurisdictions other than Japan. Therefore, those who would like to get divorced by a method of being also effective under other jurisdiction than Japan, divorce by consent is not recommendable.

Divorce in Court

As for the divorce procedure in a court, Japanese family law requires to file for a conciliation procedure prior to a divorce suit in principle. The divorce conciliation procedure is held by a conciliation procedure committee consists of three mediators, including a judge and a male and a female mediators. A family court that has jurisdiction over the territory where a respondent resides deals with the case unless otherwise the parties agree. The conciliation procedure starts about a month or more after filing necessary documents with a family court and holds a conciliation procedure session about an hour or more per session usually once in a month. Always the mediators other than the judge attend the session and hear stories from each party in turns on backgrounds of the disputes and claims to the other party.

If the parties reach an agreement on terms of divorce through the conciliation procedure, then the judge of the conciliation procedure committee reads out the terms of divorce in front of the parties and confirm whether the parties agree to the terms; if both parties agree to the terms, then the parties get divorced and the court's record of the last conciliation procedure becomes an official document having the same legal effect as a divorce decree.

If the parties fail to reach an agreement on terms of divorce through the conciliation procedure, then the conciliation procedure committee declares the failure of the conciliation procedure; then either party can file a suit for divorce.

Issues on Divorce

Sakuma Law Office
Kudan Southern Bldg. 2nd Floor, 9-1 Kudan-Minami 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0074 JAPAN   Tel: +81-3-6272-6916   Fax: +81-3-6272-6917