While most divorces are carried out by mutual agreement in a non-judicial proceeding, judicial divorce is also available in Japan for situations where the husband and wife cannot agree. However, a couple may only file for a judicial divorce under one of the following conditions: 1) a spouse has committed adultery, 2) one spouse abandons the other in bad faith, 3) it is not clear if one spouse is dead or alive for 3 years, 4) one spouse suffers from severe mental illness from which there is no prospect of recovery, or 5) there is other grave cause for divorce.
When a couple divorces in Japan, the family name of the party who changed his or her name shall revert to the original pre-marriage name. A divorced husband or wife who wishes to keep his or her married name after the divorce may do so by written notice within three months of the time of the divorce.
In Japan, there are four possible ways to obtain a divorce. The first, and most common, is Divorce by Agreement (kyogi rikon 協議離婚). Both parties must agree to the divorce and the distribution of property. The second is Divorce by Mediation in a family court (chotei rikon 調停離婚).
When a foreign national marries a Japanese national in Japan, there are some additional procedures that need to be followed according to Japanese law. First, the Japanese spouse should submit a certified copy of his/her family register and the foreign national must submit a copy of his/her passport and certificate of Alien Registration.