Calculating child support in Japan is done by comparing the total income of each of the child’s parents. Therefore, how the total income of each parent is calculated is critical to determining how much child support will be paid. To set an easy to use standard for determining total income, the Japanese courts use parents’ tax returns to prove total income. For parents who are employed by a company, the “paid amount” as shown on the tax return will be used as the parent’s total income. For parents who are self-employed, the “taxable income” will be used as the total income for purposes of child support calculations.
The tax returns used in these calculations will be the most recently available, usually from the prior year. For parents who are in the middle of switching jobs, or have highly fluctuating incomes, it is advisable to work with legal counsel to draft a child support agreement that reflects these facts, or modify the child support payments after the parent’s salary has changed.
Japanese law is different from many other jurisdictions and provides for a specific table that is used to calculate the range of child support owed. Also, it is important to note that the law in Japan separates marital expenses (the money to be paid to the other spouse and child prior to divorce during term of separation) and child support (the amount to be paid for support after the time of divorce). After a divorce is finalized, there is no more requirement to pay any type of support other than child support. Therefore, the amount of money a spouse will receive after divorce for child support, will be less than the amount that they would received while separated prior to divorce.