Divorce procedures:Divorce between a foreign couple living in Japan


[Question] I’ve been living in Japan with my spouse who is also from the same country as I am. How can we get divorced?

[Answer]
The applicable law in divorce matters will be your country’s law since you are of the same nationality.

Some exceptions to the above rule are divorce between a same-nationality couple whose country has differing divorce laws from one state to another. In other countries, people from different religious backgrounds have separate laws. In this case, even if you are of the same nationality, you cannot use the common law of your country.

Jurisdiction is given to a Japanese court to hear and determine divorce if both parties have been habitually residing in Japan. Since you both live in Japan for a long time, you can file for divorce arbitration settlement/”shinpan”(divorce by court decision)/ruling with a family court here. Judicial Japanese divorces will generally be recognized at home but it is advisable to check with you your government authorities in Japan to make sure.

[Question] We are an international couple of different nationalities, who have been living in Japan. How can we get divorced?

[Answer]
The applicable law in divorce will be ①the law of your common residence or ②of the country on which you have the most material bearing, since you don’t have a common nationality. Because the habitual residence of you and your spouse is in Japan, your matrimonial issues will be governed by the Japanese law. For more information, please contact with your own respective government authorities in Japan.