International Divorce & Family Law: Japan

View the translated version of this page here.

There are three types of divorce in Japan: divorce by agreement, divorce by litigation and divorce by conciliation (mediation) handled by the court. Divorce by agreement is possible when the spouses agree to divorce and apply to the registry. In such cases, the property is divided by agreement, but if no agreement is reached, the parties may apply for conciliation at the family court. Divorce can be achieved by litigation, but this is preceded by mandatory conciliation. When the parties fail to agree on divorce via conciliation, litigation (adjudication) procedure may be initiated.

Dividing the property

The Civil Code which contains Family Law provides that a spouse may claim the allocation of the property. If the parties fail to agree, the family court may adjudicate.

The idea of the division of the property is to divide the property possessed by the spouses during the marriage. This means that the property which spouses had from before the marriage is not included.

The division of the property is highly discretionary. If the court is to make the decision, “the amount of property acquired through co-operation of the spouses, and all other circumstances” are to be taken into account.

The maintenance of the divorced spouse is an important factor.

Jurisdictional problems

There are two Supreme Court judgments on the matter of jurisdiction in cross-border divorce. The first case involved a divorce between two non-Japanese nationals. The only nexus was that the plaintiff was a resident in Japan. The Court acknowledged jurisdiction. Thus, it was understood that, in general, if the defendant resides in Japan, Japanese courts have jurisdiction, but this was not unanimously supported.

A more recent case involved a Japanese husband and a German wife. The wife obtained judgment in Germany in the absence of the husband. The husband was a resident of Japan. The husband initiated litigation in Japan simultaneously The first instance court denied jurisdiction of Japan, but the Supreme Court ruled that if a spouse is a Japanese national and resides in Japan, Japanese courts have jurisdiction in such cases (24 June 1996). In this case, the Court ruled that if the defendant has an address in Japan, Japanese courts have jurisdiction, but in other cases, jurisdiction should be determined on the basis of Reason (jōri). Thus, there is no established rule on the determination of jurisdiction.

The cost and time

Between Japanese parties, it takes at the most, six months. However, with jurisdictional issues involved, it may take longer.

The court cost is negligible. However, documents need to be translated into Japanese and a lawyer has to be retained.

(With thanks and acknowledgement to Professor Hiroshi Oda).

How we help you

We are specialist international divorce lawyers and family solicitors and we have advised numerous clients who are either UK-based but originate from Japan, or are living outside of the UK but have a connection with England or Wales.

Enquire Now

Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470

Got a question about Japan? Ask us now...

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Divorce Videos

Henry Brookman has created several discussion videos in order to further explain some areas of divorce.

International Divorce

Watch Henry Brookman summarise divorce and common divorce myths.

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Henry Brookman Discusses: Divorce
Henry Brookman Discusses: Common Divorce Myths

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

Talitha offers sound advice, asks the right questions and advises you with what you need to know not just what you want to hear. I have no hesitation in recommending her services.

Sep 2021   Anu Vidyarthi

Henry took the time to go through all the details of my separation thoroughly. He was very clear on what my options were and what I needed to do to have a seamless agreement with my ex. Thank you for all your help!

Aug 2021   Sandeep Cina

Talitha provided a free consultation and could not have been more helpful. Her guidance was pragmatic and she managed my expectations both on costs and the process. Talitha offered practical advice to find a solution that could avoid going to court.

Aug 2021   Richard Doyle

I had an initial chat with Kevin, the senior associate. Extra ordinary talent to convince parties, very intelligent and I was wonderstuck at his brilliant knowledge of family law.

Aug 2021   Mrs. M. Merchant

I have nothing but positive feedback about this firm... Lorraine Imms from Brookman was absolutely brilliant... Her knowledge is exceptional and she has kept me informed through every step... I'd give ten stars if I could!

Jun 2021   Martin Byrne

Myself and my mother had a free video consultation with Mr. Brookman regarding my mother's divorce and were both impressed with his knowledge on divorce matters, professionalism and understanding. Henry then followed up with us with a clear plan of what he suggests we do...

Mar 2021   Bruna Cordeiro Pezzano

I had a consultation with Mr. Brookman and was impressed with his honesty, knowledge and understanding of my situation. He seemed to take a genuine interest in my case, which immediately put me at ease.

Mar 2021   Chichi

Very swift response and concise information. I had a very engaging free consultation with Mr Brookman initially which was informative and professional.

Feb 2021   Garry Ralph

I would like to say my experience with Mr Brookman was an extremely positive experience. His knowledge, advice and compassion put me very much at ease and made a very difficult situation much more bearable.

Feb 2021   Jenny Brock

Very helpful, and honest about my situation even though it wasn’t business for them at this time. Would recommend.

Jan 2021   Natalie Roche

About The Team

We are a specialist divorce and international divorce family law team, advising clients in the United Kingdom (specifically England and Wales) and throughout the world. We have a very people–orientated approach to working with clients. Henry Brookman has practised law for over 45 years, and our team has a wide range of skills and expertise. We are recommended by the Legal 500 and have been awarded the Law Society’s quality mark, Lexcel.

Partner

Henry Brookman

With over 45 years' experience, Henry Brookman is the senior member of the team. He is described by The Legal 500 as ‘shrewd, savvy, sagacious and highly experienced’.

Partner

Talitha Brookman

Talitha is a Partner in the firm and a very experienced practitioner. She has been exclusively practising family law for over 15 years and is a recognised expert in her field.

Partner

Philip Morton

Recommended by The Legal 500, Philip is an expert in all areas of family law, including domestic and international financial disputes, fraud and commercial dispute resolution.

Partner

Natasha Slabas

Expert in all areas of family law, often involving cases that have an international element, including work in relation to financial settlements following divorce.

Partner

Aziz Malik

Aziz is a Partner at the firm and is highly regarded for his expertise on financial matters in divorce and has been recommended by the Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Kirsty Kelleher

Kirsty is a specialist family law solicitor recommended by The Legal 500. An expert in divorce, financial matters, child-related disputes and contentious probate cases.

Senior Associate

Kevin Danagher

Kevin specialises exclusively in family law, advising on all aspects of relationship breakdown, divorce, same sex marriage, marital agreements, and international family cases.

Associate Solicitor

Jennifer Douglas

Jennifer is a talented solicitor, experienced in all elements of family law, including high net worth financial proceedings, Children Act proceedings and financial claims.

Associate Solicitor

Gavin Yeung

Gavin has excellent experience in family law including divorce and financial proceedings and international child abduction proceedings involving Hague Convention countries.

Senior Associate

Pippa Marshall

Pippa’s experience covers all areas of family law including divorce, financial remedies, same sex relationships, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitee property disputes.

Chartered Legal Executive

Lorraine Imms

With over 20 years' family law experience, Lorraine can advise on divorce, matrimonial finances, cohabitee disputes, nuptial agreements and private children matters.

Office Manager

Lorna Martin

Lorna is our Office Manager who oversees the operations of the firm including providing accounts support as well as secretarial support to the team.

Accounts Manager

Evdokia Dikova

Eva is an AAT qualified accounts manager and holds full AAT membership (MAAT). She gained her degree in financial accounting from the University of Economics in Bulgaria.

Secretary

Victoria Delatouche

Victoria is a highly experienced Legal Secretary and a long-standing member of the team. She provides secretarial support for the office.

Secretary

Michelle Louison

Michelle provides secretarial support to Henry Brookman. A very experienced family law secretary, Michelle has worked in law for over 12 years.

Front of House Manager

Patricia Antonio

Patricia is an experienced secretary and office administrator, handling the calls that come into the office, greeting clients, and managing office presentation.

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470