Divorce in Japan may be accomplished by agreement between the two parties, filed at a local government office. This process is entirely extra-judicial and therefore there is no need to appear in court. Both parties must agree on distribution of assets and any potential custody arraignments for children. Otherwise the family court will need to get involved to make these decisions.
International marriages may also be dissolved through agreement between the parties. Statistics from 2009 indicate that at least 1 in 20 marriages in Japan were between international couples with a likely increase in the trend. Divorcing by agreement can be a convenient and quick way to dissolve a marriage but a foreign spouse should always check with lawyer first to make sure he or she understands the contents of the agreement.
Furthermore, a divorce by agreement may not be recognized in the foreign national’s home country. It is always best to consult a lawyer regarding whether a divorce by agreement will be accepted in another jurisdiction. Please contact our office if you have any questions about divorce in Japan.