What should I do if my Japanese husband or wife asks for a divorce or to live apart here in Japan?
You might be shocked and worried about what is bothering your partner, but the first thing you need to do is to know your legal rights. You have to know, for example, if you can get the same living expenses as always or not, which side will take custody of your children, if you can keep living in the same house or not, how much you can get from him/her in the distribution of property or compensation, what your legal status in Japan will be, and other challenging questions.
How can I make sure I know my rights?
You must speak to a lawyer who knows Japanese law—one who can properly represent you in Japan. Lawyers who speak English are very scarce here—and lawyers experienced in handling international marriage cases are much scarcer. In a domestic violence case, a “strong” lawyer might be required.
How can I consult with lawyers?
The most common way is to go to the bar association. You can consult a lawyer with an interpreter and use legal aid if you can’t afford to use a lawyer.
What should I bring when I see a lawyer?
Bring all relevant materials about income or assets. Normally, you can go to the family court and talk with your partner through the coordination of a mediator. And if you don’t agree on any conditions, you have to file the suit to the same court. You may need to investigate his/her assets or life with a lover. Lawyers can help with that, so it’s advisable to get in touch with one as soon as possible.
Free legal consultations in English, Chinese, and Korean. AITS Shinjuku Law Office. 3F Believe Shinjuku-Bldg. 1-26-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-5362-0907. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Nearest stn: Shinjuku. www.aits-lpc.com