International Marriage and Divorce


If you are a foreigner getting married in Japan, you must submit an official notification (available at the Citizens’ Affairs Section of your ward office) as well as a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage and its Japanese translation. This Certificate proves that you meet all the conditions for marriage in your home country (are of legal age to get married, not already married, etc.), and is issued by the home country, embassy or consulate general. However, some countries do not issue this document, in which case, you must have a similar document issued by your country. For details, please contact your embassy. Also, when getting documents translated, please indicate who translated the documents. You can translate your own documents as well.


There are four types of divorce in Japan: 1) amicable divorce, 2) arbitrated divorce, 3) family court adjudicated divorce, and, 4) district court adjudicated divorce. Amicable divorce is when both parties mutually agree to the divorce, and is finalized when submitting the notification of divorce to the ward office. If both parties disagree, one of the other three types of divorce procedures will apply, with the district court adjudicated divorce being the last resort. In other words, even when both parties do not mutually agree, you do not have to go to court right away, but rather, try to resolve conflict at the family court through arbitration or adjudication. If disagreements still arise, proceedings will take place before a judge in a district court. However, some countries recognize only adjudicated divorce, so it is advisable to contact the embassy for details.