If you divorced your Japanese partner and he/she stops you having access to your children, you may request access mediation at the Family Court.
1. How to begin the access mediation process
You can begin the mediation process by submitting a completed Request for Access Mediation form to the Family Court that has jurisdiction over the location of your ex-partner’s residence. The Court then schedules a mediation session and notifies you and your ex-partner of the date and time of the mediation session.
2. How does mediation work?
The purpose of the mediation for child access is to make you and your ex-partner come to an agreement on when, how often and for how long you see your children.
Two mediators attend the mediation session. They meet each of the participants (i.e., you and your ex-partner) separately. When the mediators meet one of the participants, the other is in a waiting room.
The mediators ask you to present your view of the issues. They help you and your ex-partner come to an agreement on child access.
A mediation session may take 2 through 4 hours depending on the number and complexity of the issues that are being mediated. The participants may meet for only one session, but are usually asked to return for additional sessions.
The key priority is the welfare of your children. So the court researcher usually meets your children in order to hear their thought about your access to them etc.
If you are not confident that you can make yourself understood in Japanese, you should call the Family Court if you can attend the mediation session with an interpreter. The Court may ask you whether the Court may appoint an interpreter for you. But you should pay the fee for the interpreter who is appointed by the Court.
4. What happens if no agreement is reached?
If no agreement is reached between you and your ex-partner, the mediation session will be terminated and the judgment process will start. The Court then makes a decision on your access to your children. In making the decision, the Court places importance on how your children think about your access to them.
In principle, the Court allows the parent who the children do not live with to have access to them, unless the access is contrary to their welfare. (Please refer to Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.)However, the Court sometimes denies the parent access to the children.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Family Court, you can appeal to the High Court.
Please contact us for more information.
Attorney at law
15-6-303 Higashihakushima-cho Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi 730-0004 Japan