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Japanese lower house okays bill to introduce joint custody after divorce

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Tokyo, April 16:  Japan’s House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to introduce joint custody after divorce.

At a plenary session of the lower chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, the bill, calling for allowing divorced parents to choose either sole custody or joint custody, was approved by a majority vote, Xinhua news agency reported.

Japan’s current Civil Code grants parental custody to only one of the parents after divorce.

Under the envisioned amendments to the civil law, if parents cannot reach an agreement on custody for their children after divorce, a family court will intervene and make a decision based on the children’s interests.

If there is suspicion of child abuse or domestic violence by one of the parents, the family court will require the other parent to have sole custody under the bill.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, setting the stage for its passage during the ongoing regular Diet session ending on June 23. If enacted, the new legislation will take effect by 2026 and be applied retroactively to those who have already divorced.

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