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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

22 MAY 2012

Japan - Amended family law came into effect from 1 April 2012

Mikiko Otani

You may know that the Japanese Family Law (Civil Code) adopts the ‘sole custody' system for the parent/child relationship after divorce. Another unique feature of the Japanese divorce system is that couples may get divorced without going to the court: ‘A husband and wife may divorce by agreement' (Art 763). If divorcing couples have a minor child, they may agree upon which parent shall have parental authority (equivalent to parental authority or custody in other jurisdictions' over the child (Art 819(1)). In other words, as far as the couples agree on divorce and parental authority over a minor child, they can achieve divorce very easily in a simple way - just by signing a divorce paper and submit it to the municipal office.

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