International Family Law regarding Divorce, Hague Convention Cases, and Inheritance

303 Second Masaki Building, 2-4-5 Namiki, Kawaguchi City         Saitama Prefecture, 332-0034, Greater Tokyo Area                   Half an hour train ride from Central Tokyo

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Parental Authority and Visitation Rights

In Japan, child custody is almost equivalent to parental authority, and only one parent is granted parental authority following a divorce.


Parental authority includes various parental rights. Article 820 of the Civil Code provides that “a person who exercises parental authority holds the right, and bears the duty, to care for and educate the child.”


Criteria for Determining Which Parent Will Be Granted
Parental Authority

In determining which parent will be granted parental authority, “the interest of the child” is paramount. All relevant circumstances are taken into account, but the following factors are given particular weight:


(1) The stability of the child’s custody

The parent currently raising the child tends to be given priority in being granted custody. However, when the child becomes older, the opinion of the child as to which parent should have parental authority is given greater weight.


(2) The child’s opinion

The Family Court must take into account the opinion of a child over the age of fourteen. In some cases, the Court will seek the opinion of a child over ten, or so.



Visitation (Access) Rights

Allowing the child to visit the non-custodial parent, or allowing the child and the non-custodial parent to spend time with each other or engage in other forms of direct or indirect contact, is known as “visitation rights”.


Whether visitation is allowed or not depends on the facts of the case.  The following general criteria are taken into account:


Criteria relating to the circumstances of the child

(1) The child’s emotional state and physical condition

(2) The child’s age

(3) The child’s opinions and feelings

(4) The effect of visitation on the exercise of parental authority


Criteria relating to the circumstances of the parents

(1) Violence by the non-custodial parent

(2) Interference by the non-custodial parent with the educational policies of the parent with parental authority

(3) The domestic situation of a parent with parental authority who remarries

When a protection order has been issued in relation to domestic violence, the Family Court will not, in principle, allow visitation.

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Child Support


Maintenance (Share of Expenses Arising from a Marriage)

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Office hours 9:30~17:30 on weekdays