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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.

If a divorcing spouse chooses to revert back to his or her pre-marital name, any children living with that spouse may choose, with the family court’s permission, to also change their own family name to match that of the parent. This allows children of divorced parents to keep the same name as their custodial parent. If the child is under 15 years old, his or her legal representative may unilaterally change the child’s name, although the child has the option to revert back to his or her original name upon turning 20.

If you have any questions about divorce in Japan please contact our office for a legal consultation.