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  • Yumi ITAKURA

What is Japanese Family Court's criteria in granting sigle child custody.

Q, I and my wife started discussion about divorce. We basically agree to get divorced, but we are at stalemate regarding child custody. I want child custody and I believe I should be granted child custody of my son because my wife easily gets mad and is too strict to my son, she cannot do parenting properly from view point of the best interest of child welfare. But I heard that in Japan, the court has strong tendency to prioritize and respect motherhood and being father is considered negatively, namely, Father is lack of ability to raise children. No way ! How does the court in Japan decide which parent should be granted child custody? Are there any objective criteria? What is likely to be negative and positive element?


■   True or not, the court tendency and mind-set about child custody.

Certainly, I cannot deny the court in Japan seems to have tendency to respect motherhood rather than fatherhood in terms of deciding which parent should be granted child custody. However, it is a little bit inaccurate. The court does not always prioritize the motherhood. Rather, they respect maintaining ‘the status quo’ surrounding children unless the court finds there are obviously problems such as child abuse in current circumstances in terms of the best interest of child’s welfare and well-being.

■Background of such tendency in Japan

In Japan, we can see the reality that many Japanese mothers are expected managing housework and childcare in addition to working outside, and consequently there is tendency that mother bears the burden of raising children single-handedly and spends more time with children compared to father’s commitment in raising children, who work outside and has little time to spend with children. Considering such fact and reality, resultantly, there are many cases where the court grants child custody to mother. In other word, I want to reiterate the court does not think the motherhood as absolute element and value in respect to which parent should have child custody.

■Criteria and Elements to be considered by the court in Japan

So, What elements the court in Japan take into consideration regarding child custody.

The following items are that the court require both of parents to make statement and submit to the court as food for thoughts. In other words, the court takes into consideration these items comprehensively when they decide which parent should be granted single custody.

非監護親の生活状況 Living condition of a parent not living with children at the moment

(1) 生活歴(学歴,職歴,病歴,家庭生活や社会生活における主な出来事等)

Living background and history (your educational and occupational background history, medical history if any, any specific events during your marriage and social life that you would like to mention particularly if any) 

(2) 職業,勤務先,勤務時間及び仕事の内容等

Your occupation (including business line, job title), the place of work, working schedule etc.

(3) 平日及び休日の生活スケジュール

Your daily schedule (both in business day and holiday)

(4) 健康状況 (Your health condition

(5) 同居家族とその状況(氏名,年齢,職業)

Family member cohabiting with you and their situation (name, age, occupation)

(6) 住居の間取り<資料> the layout of your residence(attach the floor plan if any) 

2 経済状況 Economic condition

(1) 収入<資料:源泉徴収票,確定申告書など>

Your income (attached such as withholding tax slip, tax returns form, or the other)

(2) 特記事項 Matters worthy of special mention if any

3 子の生活状況 Living condition of children

(1) 子の生活歴及び監護状況 living history and conditions about your children.

(2) 子との交流の状況

Your current interaction and relationship with your child (frequency, time lengthy, place, ways to meet or spending your time with your children)

4 子の監護方針 your policy and plan regarding raising your child.

(1) 今後の監護方針 Future plan to take care of your children

(2) 予定している監護環境及び監護態勢 Educational and living conditions and circumstances that you can/plan to provide to your children at the moment

(3) 監護補助者の有無及びその氏名,年齢,住所 the name, age, address of those who will support your child care responsibility if any.

(4) 親権者となった場合の非親権者と子との交流についての意向

Your opinion about how to interact between your ex-husband/wife (without parental authority) and your child if you obtain a parental authority. 

5 その他参考となる事項 other reference

(注) 資料は写しで可,例示の他に必要に応じて添付してください。

(Note) the documents to be submitted to the court should be accepted by copies, not original ones. You would like to deliver the document supporting your claim if necessary. 

 That is it. Hope this blog would be helpful for you. 

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