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International Divorce

Simple steps from Navias for preparation and problem resolution

Preparation Step 1
To begin with, verify
whether it is possible
to initiate action
in Japan.
Preparation Step 2
Understand the types
of procedure involved
in international
Preparation Step 3
Understand counseling
flow and fees of
Navias and make
an appointment.
Go to Navias
Check case studies
and be mentally

Preparation Step 1

Verify if it is possible to initiate action in Japan.
Action can be taken in Japan for the following

Unlike in a case of a dispute between Japanese nationals, governing laws and jurisdiction must be determined in a dispute between foreign nationals or between a Japanese national and a foreign national.

Want a divorce! Who has custody?
Your spouse you wish to divorce
is residing in Japan.
As a general rule, the current residential address of the party from whom you wish to get divorced from (the defendant) must be in Japan.
In cases other than the above...  
Even in a case where the other party is residing outside Japan, if you are residing in Japan and if any of the following applies to you, you may initiate action in Japan.
  • ・You have been abandoned by the other party.
  • ・The other party has gone missing.
  • ・Other circumstances equivalent to the above.
Governing Law
If possible to initiate action in Japan, determine laws of which country will govern the procedure.
Is one of the spouses a Japanese national residing in Japan? Laws of Japan The spouces are of the same nationality. Laws of the country The spouces are both residing in the same country. Laws of the country Laws of the country that have the closest connection with the spouses.

Preparation Step 2

Understand the types of procedure
involved in international divorce

Divorce by consent is generally the case for a divorce between Japanese nationals.
If divorce by consent is not feasible, need to proceed with mediated divorce, then
to adjudicated divorce in this order.

Divorce by Consent Rough time line: 1 - 2 months

Divorce by Consent
The most common procedure followed in divorce cases in Japan. If both parties are in agreement, procedure is completed by filing a divorce registration. *In an international divorce, divorce by consent is not accepted in some countries. In such a case, although divorce is recognized in Japan, marital status will remain unchanged in the other country, *Adjudicated divorce is the only form of divorce recognized in the U.S.A

Mediated Divorce Rough time line: 3 - 8 months

Arbitrated Divorce
This procedure is taken if only one party wants a divorce and divorce by consent is not feasible or in a case where both parties are in agreement on getting a divorce, but cannot agree on conditions for the divorce. This procedure requests the court to intervene to lead to a divorce through dialogue between the spouses.

Adjudicated Divorce Rough time line: 6 - 12 months

Adjudicated Divorce
This will be the last resort for obtaining a divorce when other procedures fail. An action is filed with the court and the court will rule whether the divorce shall be granted or not.

Preparation Step 3

Flow for counseling with NAVIAS

After determining whether action can be initiated in Japan and identifying problem resolution procedures available, consider contacting Navias on specific issues.

Make an appointment for legal counseling

Make an appointment for legal counseling

Make an appointment for legal counseling using the Inquiry Form or by e-mail.
Please provide questions you have and background information pertaining to your problem by e-mail and attach data of reference materials. In some cases, problems can be resolved just by e-mail.


Resolution by e-mail or
multiple consultations shall be charged at hourly rates.

Initial counseling

Initial counseling

Navias will hear the details about the problem you are facing at the initial counseling session. The first session will be charged by our hourly rate. Please bring information on the status of both spouses as Navias will need to know those in carrying out our detailed investigation.


Charged at hourly rates.

Proposal for problem settlement by Navias

Proposal for problem settlement by Navias

Navias will determine whether proceeding can be initiated in Japan or not and law of which country will apply. If Japanese law is applicable, Navias will consider procedure that will be enforceable in the country of the other party. In a case where laws of the other country will take precedence, Navias may require about 1 month for research. Thereafter, Navias lawyers will propose procedure to be taken and advise the client. Should the client decide to proceed with litigation or negotiation, the client shall be requested to officially retain Navias.

Formal request

Formal request

Upon receiving formal notification of intent to retain Navias, Navias and the client shall enter into a contract of mandate and our lawyers will begin legal work to resolve the problem. Progress will be reported as needed.

Fee Schedule

Flat Fee is available for attorney fee.

Click here to reach Navias to inquire or for making an appointment.

Kindly refer to the following fee schedule for legal counseling.

Navias offers 4 major benefits
and full-fledged support.

  • Near-by and Convenient
    Localized to Yokosuka
  • Payment in
    US $ accepted
  • PayPal
  • US Embassy
    Listed Law Office
  • Can a lawyer be present at a mediation?
    Navias lawyer can attend as an attorney of the client.
  • Can I learn of the proceedings of a trial or mediation?
    Navias shall report on the proceeding by e-mail or documents.
  • The client is residing outside Japan.
    Navias can proceed to process an action using e-mail, Skype or telephone.
  • I suddenly received documents from a Japanese court. It is written in Japanese and I cannot understand what is written. Called the court, but no one understood English.
    I do not know what to do next. Do I need to go to the court? Do I need to submit any documents?
    Navias will explain, in English, what is written in the documents you received from the court. Then, we will explain what procedures need to be taken. Should you wish to attend the arbitration or trial by yourself, we can advise you based on our charge by hourly rate system.
    If you retain Navias and sign a Power of Attorney document, we can negotiate, prepare documents, and attend court representing our client. The client need not attend the court in person.

Click here to reach Navias to inquire or for making an appointment.

Navias Legal Trivia for Your Benefit

Assuming Japanese laws are applicable.

  • In a case of an international divorce where procedures can be initiated in Japan, it will be necessary to consider which procedure is effective in both Japan and the other country. A situation may result where marital status remains recognized in the other country, although divorce is registered and recognized in Japan unless the proper procedure is taken. For this reason, in some cases, it will be necessary to get an adjudicated divorce from a court or court decision even though both spouses are in agreement for a divorce. If divorce recognition only in Japan will suffice, it will be possible to proceed with divorce by consent.
  • In a case where one of the spouses is a Japanese national, divorce proceeding based on Japanese law is possible and have sole custody awarded to only one of the spouses. On the other hand, in most other countries, joint custody is the norm even after a divorce and winning sole custody is presumed to be difficult. In Japan, sole custody is generally awarded to the mother, especially if her child is infant. If the child is 15 or older, the wish of the child will be given precedence.

Case Studies

The following are cases picked out from many cases that Navias handled in the past

Don't know the current address and/or maiden name (in kanji) of the Japanese seperated spouse !?

The client was married to a Japanese wife, but got separated and returned to the U.S. alone and had not been in contact with his wife for over 7 years.
He wished to file for a divorce mediation in Japan, but he could not get in touch with his wife. He did not know her current address nor her name in Kanji. Navias used the telephone number his wife used to use and traced the information registered under the contract to find her old address and name in Kanji. Navias was finally able to find out her current address and was able to file for a divorce mediation.

Arrange a DNA paternity test through Navias

Navias was requested by an American male client to arrange for and make an appointment to have a DNA paternity test. The client was then residing in Tohoku region, while his wife resided in Kanto region. Each spouse desired to take DNA paternity test in attendance of the other.
A Navias lawyer went out to the area where the client was living to seek out a office capable of conducting DNA paternity tests. As the client could not communicate in Japanese, Navias coordinated the schedule and informed the client of requirements over e-mail in English. The client was able to get the DNA tests done as desired. Findings of the tests were submitted to the court.

Received a written complaint from a court in Japan.

The client was married to a Japanese wife who lived in Japan. The client received a written complaint filed by his Japanese wife living in Japan demanding a divorce, distribution of property and payment of consolation money at his residence in the U.S.A.
A Navias lawyer represented the client as his attorney at the Japanese court. The matter was amicably settled, including visitation and child support.

Click here to reach Navias to inquire or for making an appointment.