Legal Guide

Japaneses Marriage Law and Divorce Provisions Explained for Foreigners

Marriage and divorce in Japan is much different than in the United States. The law is different, the courts are different, and the process is different. If you are planning to get married or divorced in Japan, then there are a few things you should know. You will need to know about the marriage law and divorce provisions in Japan. This article provides a brief overview of the marriage law and divorce provisions in Japan.

Japanese Marriage Law and Divorce Provisions Explained

The Japanese Family Law was revised in 2007 to adjust to the changing times. The law is currently divided into three parts- the provisions for marriage, the provisions for divorce, and the provisions for family relationships in cases where there is no marriage.

In Japan, the divorce process is similar to how it's done in the United States. A couple must go through a court-supervised divorce mediation, which can last up to six months, before they can get a divorce. This begins with a three-month separation period where both parties live separately.

After that, if both parties want to get a divorce but cannot agree on matters such as property division and child custody, they will have to go through two weeks of mediation with their lawyers present before going back to court for another hearing.

Both parties will then submit a document listing their demands and an agreement will be made based on what is easier for both sides.

If one side feels like they are not receiving enough during the hearing, the case will go back into mediation for another fortnight (14 days). If there is still no agreement after that time period, then the court will decide what happens.

The most important thing for foreigners to know is that unlike in many countries, wives in Japan do not automatically receive custody of their children after getting divorced unless there are special circumstances (if she lives in Japan). Also unlike some other countries, spouses automatically lose all of their rights after they file for divorce; this includes rights over property or child custody. So if you want those things when you get divorced or married in Japan, it may be wise to find out more information about specific provisions beforehand.

Tips for Getting Married and Getting Divorce in Japan

If you are foreign national living abroad and want to get married with a Japanese national, there is no need for you to be present at your wedding ceremony in order to register your marriage with the authorities. You just have to have an affidavit translated into Japanese that has signatures from two witnesses (yourself included) who are not related to each other by blood or marriage (if either party is not fluent in Japanese, English or Russian, they may write their affidavit in their own language).

If you want to access Japan websites from abroad, you can use an online translator to translate Japanese content into English. Also, you can use a VPN for Japan to access websites that are only available to people in Japan.

If you live abroad, your Japanese spouse must provide proof of domicile (residency) in Japan through an official document like a driver’s license or passport along with your affidavit translated into Japanese (no relatives allowed!). After that your spouse must visit their local municipal office for registration within six months of the date of the wedding ceremony.


This article provides a brief overview of the marriage law and divorce provisions in Japan. It also provides a summary of the most important points you should know when considering getting married or divorced in Japan.

Knowing what you are getting into before you get into it is the best way to avoid difficulties down the line. With this divorce overview, you can be prepared for what to expect in Japan. Hopefully this article has helped you understand the marriage law and provisions around divorce.

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