New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan
Getting divorced in Japan
The following is a general guide for New Zealand citizens intending to divorce in Japan.
There are two ways to process a divorce in Japan:
- Submit a divorce application to the city office where the couple reside if both parties are agreeable to the divorce and there are no disputes such as over child custody or alimony (maintenance) settlements.
- Apply for a divorce through a Japanese family court. This process is necessary if there are disputes such as over child custody or alimony settlements. For legal advice on child custody or alimony settlements, you may wish to consider contacting a lawyer.
There is no requirement to report your divorce to the New Zealand Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. A Japanese divorce certificate issued by the local city office is, when translated, accepted in New Zealand as evidence of the divorce.
To enable you to complete divorce procedures with Japanese authorities, whether by mutual agreement at a city office or through a family court, you may be asked to produce Section 44 of the New Zealand Family Proceedings Act 1980 which deals with the matter of recognising a divorce or marriage dissolution outside of New Zealand.
Following the registration of a divorce in Japan, a Divorce Registration Certificate (rikon juri shoumei-sho) is issued on request by the local city office as a record of the divorce. When one party is Japanese, the divorce is recorded in the Family Register (koseki touhon/shouhon). New Zealand citizens may wish to consider obtaining additional copies of the Divorce Registration Certificate and/or the Japanese partner's Family Register as evidence of the divorce and have these documents translated, for future use in New Zealand or elsewhere. The Translation Service of the Department of Internal Affairs is able to provide translations.
For further information on divorce as it relates to New Zealand, see the New Zealand Department of Courts website.