What is consensual divorce (kyougi-rikon) ?

Consensual divorce is possible when the husband and wife consult and agree with one another about the divorce. This type of divorce is recognized under Article 763 of the Civil Code of Japan. No court procedure is necessary in this case. In contrast, divorce by trial (saiban-rikon) is used only when there is a legally defined standard reason for the divorce. In consensual divorce there is no such reason. In consensual divorce, the husband and wife sign and seal a divorce form, have it signed and sealed by two adult witnesses, and deliver it to the relevant municipal authority such as a city, town, or village. The divorce becomes valid under Japanese law and their family register (koseki) will record the divorce accordingly. With that, the divorce is finalized. This is a simple and low-cost method. It is the appropriate method to use when there is no particular property to divide and there is no need to demand a settlement or alimony from the other party. However, where there are children for whom child support must be decided, or when property must be divided, in other words, when various decisions must be made, each party should protect their own interests by engaging an attorney so that an appropriate divorce agreement be prepared and executed.

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