By ATOM Legal Professional Corporation English speaking lawyers in Japan

The child’s welfare is the most important factor considered when determining child support in Japan and visitation rights in child custody disputes. Even after the parents divorce and child custody goes to one parent as Japan does not have joint custody, they are still both held responsible for the child’s well being. The expense to bring up the child should be shared by both parents, so often the parent without custody will be required to pay child support (yōikuhi).

Child support

In Japan, child support is decided by mutual agreement and sometimes with the assistance of mediators, or divorce lawyers. When an agreement cannot be reached, the parent with custody of the child can go to the family court to file a petition for conciliation (chōtei) in the case where the other parent is unwilling to pay child support. This is a demand for child support payment and the two parties will be required to reach an agreement on the amount of child support at the conciliation.

If an agreement still cannot be reached, a trial will commence at the divorce court, the Japanese family court, whereby a judge will take into consideration the situation of both parents and make a decision on the child support payment.

Child support is usually calculated using the following:

Basic income of the parent × (living cost of the child total cost of living expenses of the parent and child) × (basic income of the parent ÷ total basic income of the parents)

According to the Results of National Survey on Single Parent Households, etc. published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2016, the average monthly amount of child support in Japan is approx. 43,000 yen for fatherless households and approx. 32,000 yen for motherless households per month.

Visitation rights

In Japan there are no statutory guidelines on child visitation rights which a court must follow, stating that frequent and continuing contact between a child and his or her parents after they separate is presumed to be in a child’s best interests. Thus, Japanese family courts have a great deal of leeway in deciding visitation rights for a non-custodial parent. Some examples of decisions made by the family court include requiring the custodial parent only to send pictures of the child annually rather than allow visitation, or awarding only a few hours of visitation annually.

When deciding whether or not to grant visitation rights in Japan, the child’s emotional/physical state, age, opinions and feelings are taken into account. Also taken into consideration is whether the parent pursuing visitation rights is violent, wants to interfere with the child’s education, or, in the case that the parent remarries, what the situation would be like with consideration for the new spouse/partner of the parent.

Child abduction

Japan is a signatory nation to the Hague Convention. Despite this, and in contrast to the law in many English-speaking countries, a parent “abducting” their own child is not a crime in Japan unless the incident causes public disruption such as causing a disturbance when grabbing your child from the street.

For this reason, Japan has earned a reputation as a haven for parents who abduct and take their own children out of their home country to live in Japan. This is often seen when one parent is foreign and one Japanese, whereby a divorce will take place and the Japanese parent will return to Japan with the child.

Cases have occurred in which a child born to Japanese and foreign parents is abducted by the Japanese parent from the foreign country, being entirely raised in Japan instead.

This page is intended to be used for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice.

Family Law
What are the methods of divorce in Japan?
Who gets parental authority (child custody) in Japan?
On child support, visitation rights, and child abduction in Japan
In a divorce, how is property divided in Japan?
What is consolation money in a divorce in Japan?
What happens to my spouse visa after a divorce in Japan?
Inheritance Law
Making a will in Japan
Will my foreign will be valid in Japan?
How is inheritance divided between co-heirs in Japan?
Inheritance tax in Japan
Traffic Law
What to do after causing a car accident in Japan
What to do if I get in a car accident in Japan
What is the legal limit for drunk driving in Japan, and what happens if I drive under the influence?
Damage-only and personal injury car accidents in Japan
What happens if I kill/injure someone in a car accident in Japan?
What happens if I get caught driving without a valid license?
How much money can I get as a car accident victim in Japan?
What is residual disability, and how does it affect compensation for a car accident in Japan?
How much does it cost to get a lawyer for a car accident in Japan?
Criminal Defense
What to do if you are arrested in Japan
What can my embassy do if I am arrested in Japan?
How to contact a lawyer after being arrested in Japan
Visas and deportation after arrest and conviction in Japan
What is life like in Japanese prison?
What does a criminal trial look like in Japan?
How will I get punished for committing a crime in Japan?
What is life like in Japanese detention centers?
Types of visas for foreigners in Japan
Issuing visas for foreign employees living abroad
Changing the visa status of an employee living in Japan
What are the requirements for the employer when hiring a foreign employee in Japan?
Employment Law
Employment laws when hiring in Japan
Contracts and benefits for employees in Japan
Hiring foreign employees in Japan
Corporate Law
Meetings in Japanese companies
Taxes and financial reports for companies in Japan
Contracts and agreements in Japanese companies
Business Law
What are the requirements to start a company/business in Japan?
Types of companies in Japan
Staffing of a Japanese company

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