When you want to divorce in Japan, legal proceedings you can select may differ by your nationalities etc.
There are several types of procedure when you want a divorce in Japan (the third one is rarely used, so you can say there are three types in general).
1）Divorce by agreement
The first step is “divorce by agreement”. In this case, the married couple will discuss about divorce themselves. If they reach an agreement, they can submit the divorce notification (“Rikon Todoke” in Japanese) to the city hall, and the divorce will be established. The couple can freely promise about the distribution of property, custody, child support, etc., but it is recommended to make a printed document about the promises you made.
2）Divorce by conciliation (“Cho-tei” in Japanese)
The second step is “divorce by conciliation”. When the married couple fails to reach an agreement by themselves, either one can request conciliation for divorce (“Rikon Cho-tei“) to the Family Court. At the Family Court, one judge and two arbitrators advise on the couple’s divorce. If the couple could reach an agreement there, divorce will be granted. The Family Court will make a written record of divorce conciliation for you (so that you can bring it to the city office).
3）Divorce by decision of the family court (“Shinpan” in Japanese)
4) Divorce by trial (“Saiban” in Japanese)
The third step is “divorce by trial”. In case the married couple could not reach agreement in the conciliation, the procedure will be brought to trial. In the trial, both party will stake their claim, and submit evidences to the Family Court. Eventually, the judge will decide whether the divorce is granted or not.
When you want a divorce, you should think of many things such as property division, compensation, custody, child support, etc. and all these things are recommended to be made clear in a printed document.
Also, you should consider about your state of residence (visa), if you want to continue living in Japan.
So, even if you can reach agreement for divorce by yourselves, you may better consult an attorney before making an agreement.
If you need a consultation, please contact us from the contact form, or you can just send us an email. Consultation fee is 5,250yen per 30 minutes, but this amount will be deducted from the attorney fee, if you hire us right after the consultation. Also, you may be able to use legal support for free legal advice depending on your income. Please contact us for details.