Benefits of Going Through a Divorce Procedure in Japan
Two US nationals seeking to get a divorce in Japan must go through the Japanese Court system.
Here are some benefits of getting divorced in Japan (especially for US servicemen & women).
Going through a divorce process in Japan, you do not have to hire a lawyer if it is a mutual consent divorce. That will reduce a large portion of the cost for both parties. In addition, the petition fee, as well as the court-appointed interpreter fee, are affordable, and the Petitioner will receive some refund if you did not use up the whole time scheduled for your hearing.
A divorce process through a Court in Japan proceeds quickly compared to the US court system. The average window from filing a petition to receiving a divorce decree is 1.5 to 2 months, although it can be as fast as 1 month. In the case the Court is busy, it may take up to 3 months. However, 3 months is still fast, as a divorce procedure in many of the state in the US take anywhere from 6 months to 2+ years including separation.
3. RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT
As long as you AND your spouse are stationed in Okinawa and have an address or a PO box address, the Court in Japan has jurisdiction over your case. Unlike some states in the US that have residency requirements, Japanese Court does not have such requirement.
Because the Court in Japan reviews the State law of each party in order to comply with the State laws as well as the laws of Japan, divorce proceeding through a Japanese Court is deemed legal in the US. A Divorce Decree issued by the Court in Japan, with an English translation document attached, is accepted by the US embassy or legal offices on base.
In addition to point 3 above, you are entitled to determine and mention in the divorce decree matters incident to divorce, such as child support, spousal support, property division, and retirement plan division, at the hearing. You may also request to have other specific matters be incorporated into your divorce decree. A divorce decree issued by the Court in Japan is rather simple and only states the main point of the proceeding. You must notify us if you want certain matters to be mentioned, as we will have to mention such matters on the petition. The stipulations determined through the Japanese Court system is considered legal and binding in the US as long as they comply with the State laws of both parties.