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How can I locate a divorce lawyer in Japan?

Motoman

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Greetings -

Some background:

-I'm an American man, living in America.
-My wife of seven years is Japanese, and has been living in America for about 22 years.
- My wife recently became a US citizen.
-My in-laws live in Japan and are retired. My sister-in-law (SIL) is a high-functioning autistic who lives with them.

My wife is close to my MIL and SIL, but my father-in law (FIL) has been a jerk all her life, and his demeanor is getting worse in his old age. For a long time now he has been controlling and verbally abusive. More importantly, he has recently become physically violent. My MIL has told my wife that she would like to leave him (and take my SIL with her), but she lacks the resources to do so and also the ability to even safely investigate her options without fear of reprisal. My FIL handles the finances in the household, and they live in a rather rural village. If she initiates divorce proceedings, it's not at all clear what the outcome might be.

Bottom line? My wife and I are attempting to investigate all the potential outcomes for her, determining how we might help my MIL handle each one, up to and including the possibility of being physically present to protect her and my SIL while they leave the house, and paying for safe haven for them elsewhere in Japan while divorce proceedings play out.

To that end, our next step is to contact a divorce laywer in Japan to see what the potential outcomes might be (most critical: could the court system force my FIL to reveal all financial assets, and could those assets then be split between FIL and MIL). But we're at a loss as to how to locate a divorce lawyer.

So there (finally) is my question:
How can we locate a reputable divorce lawyer in Japan with whom we might discuss this whole situation over the phone?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 
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There is not a divorce lawyer per se. As to finding a lawyer, this webpage should get you started, form there it is up to you to do your due dillgence.
Lawyer Search form for Japan
Japanese Federation of Bar Associations

To answer your other questions.
It certainly depends on the circumstances, but your father in law would have to show all financial records for the house hold if a divorce proceeding was to begin. And ,as to the out come of the divorce will depend a lot on why the divorce was initiated to begin with, this will also have a bearing on what the allocations of assets will be. This is something that only a lawyer be able to asses who has intimate knowledge of the current situation of your mother in law is in. So your first instinct would be the correct one in my opinion, to consult a lawyer.

Also realize that this will be a long process that could take many years if both parties don't reach an agreement. I have seen it several times in while living here.

I hope that helps.
 

nice gaijin

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I know little about legal proceedings in Japan, particularly about divorce, but it couldn't hurt to start recording the abuse in a way that could be beneficial in court. Unless there are specific laws preventing recording someone without their expressed permission.
 

Mike Cash

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This inquiry seems very deja vu....
 

nice gaijin

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hm, I guess none of those resources Glenski provided over a year ago came to anything, the OP still seems to be stuck at square one!
 

Mike Cash

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hm, I guess none of those resources Glenski provided over a year ago came to anything, the OP still seems to be stuck at square one!

Yeah....it is so dire and urgent that apparently he has sat on his *** and done nothing about suspected physical abuse for over a year.

Hope I have somebody that diligent looking out for my best interests in my decrepitude.....
 

Glenski

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I don't understand why 2 Japanese women are unable to use the Yellow Pages or Internet to find what you want...

Even city hall should be able to provide some advice on domestic abuse, which would lead to suggestions or a list of lawyers.
 

Mike Cash

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As I pointed out when he asked this a year ago, this looks more like a case of him wanting a divorce for her than her wanting a divorce for herself.

In the midst of his tepid zeal he seems to be overlooking one of the fundamentals of human nature: that rescuing people from someone else isn't nearly as hard as rescuing them from themselves.
 
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Ok, I certainly missed the boat on this one. After reviewing past posts, suddenly...
ISeeWhatYouDidTherejpgi3720see20what20yo-1.jpg
 

Mike Cash

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Danged near to a cut-n-paste. I bet it started out as one.
 

Motoman

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Danged near to a cut-n-paste. I bet it started out as one.
Yes, it did start out as a copy/paste, but there were some changes. What's the problem?

Key changes from last year:

-Re: domestic violence, my wife only recently confirmed that he has become physically abusive. The extent of it isn't clear, as my MIL doesn't provide complete details to my wife.

-Re: "saving people from themselves," my wife recently confirmed that my MIL would very much like to leave, but lacks the resources to do so. It's possible she will decline to leave even if resources are made available, but we haven't gotten to that point yet.

-My wife recently became a US citizen. My MIL has expressed interest in living in the US; my wife can now sponsor an immediate green card for my MIL, but not for my SIL. After consulting with a US-based immigration lawyer, we've learned that "humanitarian parole" may be an option for my SIL, but that's a pretty shaky proposition, as it would have to be renewed year after year until she became eligible for a green card.

I can understand that the glacial pace of things makes me look like the biggest flake on the internet, but there are major obstacles to deal with.

Glenski said:
I don't understand why 2 Japanese women are unable to use the Yellow Pages or Internet to find what you want...
Even city hall should be able to provide some advice on domestic abuse, which would lead to suggestions or a list of lawyers.

My MIL can't do it because my FIL is home most of the time (he's retired). It would be a problem if she started receiving (and having to explain to him) phone calls from a lawyer. Moreover, because he's holding all the purse strings, she lacks the financial resources to pay a lawyer.

Mike Cash said:
Hope I have somebody that diligent looking out for my best interests in my decrepitude...

Apathy is not an issue here. My wife cares deeply about her mom, and on the rare occasions they get to talk on the phone (when her father leaves the house), my wife is typically very sad afterwards, and sometimes in tears, over her mom's situation.

The biggest obstacles I see right now are pessimism and risk-aversion. My wife tends toward the extreme on both counts, and it's been difficult to convince her to even begin gathering information about the options, let alone contemplate taking definite action at some point in the future. I can't do this stuff independently - I don't read or speak Japanese - I have to do it with her, so my first task has been to convince her that it's even worth looking into. Unlike my FIL, I'm not going to scream and yell at my wife until I get my way; the best I can manage is to keep bringing it up from time to time for discussion and gentle encouragement.

Re: the domestic violence info that Glenski provided last year, what I got out of those links was that Japan has strengthened its laws WRT domestic violence 11 years ago, but that the new laws aren't uniformly/reliably enforced, which makes it difficult for victims to trust that they will find the protection they need. Moreover, having my MIL and SIL flee to a short-term shelter won't help unless they can secure the financial resources they need to live independently for the rest of their lives; the only feasible means to do that is a divorce that ensures my MIL receives a substantial portion of their assets.

FrustratedDave, thanks for the bar association links; through them we found the phone # for the Shiga BA, so that will likely be our first phone call.
 

Glenski

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Re: using the Yellow Pages herself
My MIL can't do it because my FIL is home most of the time (he's retired). It would be a problem if she started receiving (and having to explain to him) phone calls from a lawyer.
That is a lame excuse. Contact from a separate phone or via email. Leave the house to call. C'mon!

Moreover, because he's holding all the purse strings, she lacks the financial resources to pay a lawyer.
I think initial consultations are free. Get her down to city hall to check things out. Your MIL is not the first person in this situation.

The biggest obstacles I see right now are pessimism and risk-aversion. My wife tends toward the extreme on both counts, and it's been difficult to convince her to even begin gathering information about the options, let alone contemplate taking definite action at some point in the future.
Then it is up to you to convince her that SHE is part of the problem.

my first task has been to convince her that it's even worth looking into.
You have to be joking here. Look at what you posted initially:
Your wife and MIL are close.
MIL has admitted she wants to leave FIL.
Abuse is evident.

What more does your wife need to start looking into things? Until she gets off her butt, I'd say there is nothing more for you to do. It's HER mom, not yours.
 
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