Is it possible to have a court decide child support payments in a divorce?

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The Japanese Family Court encourages mutual agreement between parents of a child in terms of the payment of child support. However, the court is also vested with the power to make child support orders in situations where the parents cannot agree. The amount of child support will be determined by a formula based upon the needs of the custodial parent, the financial assets of the non-custodial parent and any other related circumstances. Since child custody in Japan is always granted as sole custody to one parent, the calculation does not need to consider balancing the burden of child care between parents since one parent will take care of the child 100% of the time, while the other parent will be providing financial support 100% of the time.

Ideally, the child support payment should be paid once per month on a date set by the parents. However, many divorces are concluded without making arraignments for child support and many custodial parents do not collect anything from the other parent. Some parents see the lack of child support payments as a trade-off for no visitation rights. Unfortunately, in many cases this can put an unfair and unreasonable burden on the custodial parent to assume full financial responsibility for raising the child. When possible, both parents should try to make economic contributions to the child’s welfare.

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