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Japan Civil Code

JAPANESE CIVIL CODE: Unofficial Translation of Book IV, Relatives


Chapter One. General Provisions

Scope of relatives

Article 725. The persons mentioned below are relatives:

(1) Relatives by blood up to the sixth degree of relationship;

(2) Spouses;

(3) Relatives by affinity up to the third degree of relationship.

Degree of relationship

Article 726. 1. The degree of relationship is determined by computing the number of generations between relatives.

2.  As between collateral relatives the degree of relationship is determined by the number of generations ascending from one of them, or his or her spouse, to the common ancestor, and then descending from such ancestor to the other.

Relationship by adoption

Article 727. As between an adopted child on the one hand and the parent by adoption and his or her relatives by blood on the other, there arises the same relationship as between relatives by blood as from the day of the adoption.

Termination of matrimonial relationship

Article 728. 1.  The matrimonial relationship is terminated by divorce.

2. The same shall apply also if after the death of either husband or wife, the surviving spouse declares his. or her intention to terminate the matrimonial relationship.

Termination of adoptive relationship

Article 729. The relationship between an adopted child, its spouse, its lineal descendants and their spouses on one hand and the parent by adoption and his or her relatives by blood on the other, is terminated by dissolution of the adoptive relation.

Mutual cooperation of relatives

Article 730. Lineal relatives by blood and the relatives living together shall mutually cooperate.

Chapter Two. Marriage.

Puberty

Article 731. A man may not marry until the completion of his full eighteen years of age, nor a woman until the completion of her full sixteen years of age.

Prohibition of plural marriage

Article 732. A person who has a spouse may not effect an additional marriage.

Re-marriage

Article 733. A woman may not re-marry unless six months have elapsed from the day of the dissolution or annulment of her previous marriage.

2. In cases a woman is pregnant from before the dissolution or annulment of her previous marriage, the preceding paragraph shall cease to apply as from the day of her delivery.

Prohibition of marriage between relative by blood

Article 734. No marriage may be effected between lineal relatives by blood, nor between collateral relatives by blood up to the third degree of relationship; however, this shall not apply between an adopted child and any of the collateral relatives by blood on the side of the adoptive relatives.

2. The provision of the preceding paragraph shall also apply even after the relationship has terminated in accordance with the provision of Article 817-9.

Prohibition of marriage between lineal relatives by affinity

Article 735. No marriage may be effected between lineal relatives by affinity. The same shall apply after the relationship by affinity has ceased in accordance with the provision of Article 728 or Article 817-9.

Prohibition of marriage between adopted child and adoptive parent

Article 736. No marriage may be effected between an adopted child, his or her spouse, his or her lineal descendants or their spouses on the one hand, and the parent by adoption or his or her lineal ascendants on the other, even after the relationship has ceased in accordance with the provisions of Article 729.

Minor's marriage

Article 737. A minor child shall obtain the consent both of his or her father and mother in order to marry.

2. If either the father or mother does not give the consent, the consent of the other parent only shall be sufficient. The same shall also apply, if either the father or mother is unknown, or is dead or is unable to declare his or her intention.

Major ward's marriage

Article 738. A major ward need not obtain the consent of a guardian for majority in order to marry.

Notification of marriage

Article 739. A marriage becomes effective by notification thereof in accordance with the provisions of the Family Registration Law.

2. The notification mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be made by both the parties and two or more witnesses of full age either orally, or by a document signed by them.

Ibid--acceptance

Article 740. The notification of marriage may not be accepted unless the marriage does not contravene the provisions of Articles 731 to 737 inclusive and paragraph 2 of the preceding Article, and of other laws or ordinances.

Ibid--in foreign country

Article 741. In cases Japanese subjects resident in a foreign country desire to effect a marriage between themselves, notification thereof may be made to the Japanese Ambassador, Minister, or a Japanese Consul acting in that country. In this case the provisions of the preceding two Articles shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Nullity of marriage--causes

Article 742. A marriage is void only in the following cases:

(1) Where there is no intention to marry common to the parties owing to a mistake as to the identity of the person or through any other cause;

(2) Where the parties do not make notification of the marriage; however, if the notification only fails to fulfill the conditions prescribed in Article 739 paragraph 2, the validity of the marriage shall not be affected thereby.

Annulment of marriage

Article 743. A marriage cannot be annulled except in accordance with the provisions of Articles 744 to 747 inclusive.

Ibid--unlawful marriage

Article 744. In cases of a marriage effected in contravention of the provisions of Articles 731 to 736 inclusive, an application may be made to the Court for its annulment by either party thereto, any of each party's relatives or a public procurator; however, a public procurator may not make such an application after the death of either of the parties.

2. In cases of a marriage effected in contravention of the provisions of Article 732 or Article 733, the spouse or the former spouse of the party may also apply for its annulment;

Ibid--marriage under puberty

Article 745. No application may be made for the annulment of a marriage effected in contravention of the provisions of Article 731, if the person who was not of marriageable age has attained the requisite age.

2. A person married under the marriageable age may still apply for the annulment of the marriage during a period of three months from his or her attainment of the requisite age; however, this shall not apply when he or she has ratified it after having attained the requisite age.

Ibid--earlier re-marriage

Article 746. No application may be made for the annulment of a marriage effected in contravention of the provisions of Article 733 after the lapse of six months from the day of the dissolution or annulment of the previous marriage nor in cases where the woman has become pregnant after her re-marriage.

Ibid--marriage due to fraud or duress

Article 747. A person who has been induced by fraud or duress to effect a marriage may apply to the Court for the annulment of such marriage.

2. The right of annulment mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be extinguished if three months have elapsed since the party discovered the fraud, or became free from the duress, or if he or she has effected a ratification.

Ibid--non-retroactivity

Article 748. The annulment of a marriage shall have no retroactive effect.

2. In cases any party, who was unaware at the time of the marriage that a ground for its annulment existed, has acquired property by reason of the marriage, such party shall return the property to the extent that he or she is still enriched thereby.

3. Any party who was aware at the time of the marriage that a ground for its annulment existed shall return the whole benefit which he or she has acquired by reason of the marriage, and further if the other party acted bona fide, he or she shall be liable in compensation for damages thereto.

Ibid--application mutatis mutandis of the provisions on divorce

Article 749. The provisions of Articles 766 to 769 inclusive shall apply mutatis mutandis to the annulment of a marriage.

Surname

Article 750. Husband and wife assume the surname of the husband or wife in accordance with the agreement made at the time of the marriage.

Ibid--resuming prior surname

Article 751. If either husband or wife has died, the surviving spouse may resume the surname assumed by her or him before the marriage.

2. The provisions of Article 769 shall apply mutatis mutandis in the case mentioned in the preceding paragraph and Article 728 paragraph 2.

Cohabitation and cooperation

Article 752. Husband and wife shall cohabit, and shall cooperate and aid each other.

Attaining majority by marriage

Article 753. If a minor effects a marriage, he or she shall be deemed, by reason thereof, to have attained majority.

Avoiding contract between husband and wife

Article 754. In cases a contract is entered into between husband and wife, it may be avoided by either of them at any time during the subsistence of marriage; however, the rights of third persons may not be prejudiced thereby.

Statutory property system

Article 755. If husband and wife have not, prior to the notification of marriage, entered into a contract which provides otherwise with respect to their property, their property relations shall be governed by the provisions of the next Sub-Section.

Contractual property system--factor for setting up against

Article 756. If husband and wife have entered into a contract which differs in its terms from the statutory property system, such contract cannot be set up against their successors in title or third persons unless it is registered prior to the notification of the marriage.

Article 757. deleted. ((28))

Ibid--change

Article 758. Property relations between husband and wife cannot be changed after the notification of marriage.

2. If. in cases where one spouse manages the property of the other, such property is imperiled by mismanagement, the other may apply to the Family Court to be allowed to undertake the management thereof for himself or herself.

3. As regards property in co-ownership an application may be made for a partition thereof in addition to the application mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Ibid--change of manager, partition

Article 759. In cases the manager has been changed or a partition of property in co-ownership has been effected, in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Article or as the result of a contract, such change or partition cannot be set up against the successors in title of the husband or of the wife or against third persons, unless it has been registered.

Expenses of married life

Article 760. Husband and wife shall share the expenses of the married life with each other, taking into account their property, income and all other circumstances.

Liability of daily household matters

Article 761. If, with respect to daily household matters, one spouse effects a juristic act with a third person, the other spouse shall be jointly and severally liable for the obligations arising therefrom. However, this shall not apply in cases where a previous notice to the effect that the other spouse will not assume the liability has been given to the third person.

Separate property, co-owned property

Article 762. Property belonging to either a husband or wife from a time prior to the marriage and property acquired during the subsistence of the marriage in his or her own name constitutes his or her separate property.

2. Any property, in regard to which it is uncertain whether it belongs to the husband or the wife, is presumed to be the property in their co-ownership.

Divorce by agreement

Article 763. Husband and wife may effect divorce by agreement. (Application mutatis mutandis of the provisions on marriage)

Article 764. The provisions of Articles 738, 739 and 747 shall apply mutatis mutandis to a divorce by agreement.

Notification of divorce

Article 765. The notification of divorce may not be accepted unless the divorce does not contravene the provisions of Article 739 paragraph 2 and Article 819 paragraph 1, and of other laws and ordinances.

2. The validity of divorce shall not be affected even in cases where the notification of divorce has been accepted in contravention of the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

Determination of Matters regarding Custody of Child after Divorce

Article 766. 1. If parents divorce by agreement, the matter of who will have custody over a child, visitation and other means of contact between the child and his or her mother or father, payment of expenses for child-rearing, and any other necessary matters regarding child custody shall be determined by that agreement.  In such situations, the child's interests must be given the highest priority. 

2. If an agreement referred to in the preceding paragraph cannot be reached, or discussions are not possible, a family court shall decide the matters referred to therein.

3. If the family court finds it necessary, it may change determinations made pursuant to the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs and order any other proper disposition regarding child custody.

4. The rights and duties of parents beyond the scope of custody may not be altered by the provisions of the preceding three paragraphs. 

Resuming prior surname

Article 767. Husband or wife, who has changed his or her surname by reason of marriage, resumes, by reason of divorce by agreement, the surname assumed thereby before the marriage.

2. Husband or wife who has resumed the surname assumed thereby before the marriage in accordance with the provision of the preceding paragraph may assume the surname assumed at the time of divorce, by a notification as prescribed by the Family Registration Law within three months from the day of divorce.

Distribution of property

Article 768. Husband or wife who has effected divorce by agreement may demand the distribution of property from the other spouse.

2. If no agreement is reached or possible between the parties with respect to the distribution .of property in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph, any of the parties may apply to the Family Court for measures to take the place of such agreement; however, this shall not apply after the lapse of two years from the time of the divorce.

3. In the case mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the Family Court shall determine whether any such distribution is to be made or not, and, if it is to be made, the sum as well as the mode of the distribution, taking into account the sum of such property as is acquired by cooperation of the parties and all other circumstances.

Genealogical records, etc.

Article 769. If husband or wife, who had changed his or her surname by reason of the marriage, has effected divorce by agreement after his or her succession to the. right stated in Article 897 paragraph 1, the person who is to succeed to the right shall be determined by an agreement between the parties and other persons concerned.

2. If no agreement mentioned in the preceding paragraph is reached or possible, the person who is to succeed to the right mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be determined by the Family Court.

Judicial divorce--causes

Article 770. Husband or wife can bring an action for divorce only in the following cases:

(1) If the other spouse has committed an act of un-chastity;

(2) If he or she has been deserted maliciously by the other spouse;

(3) If it is unknown for three years or more whether the other spouse is alive or dead;

(4) If the other party is attached with severe mental disease and recovery therefrom is hopeless;

(5) If there exists any other grave reason for which it is difficult for him or her to continue the marriage.

2. Even in cases where any or all of the grounds mentioned in items (1) to (4) inclusive of the preceding paragraph exist, the Court may dismiss the action for divorce, if it deems the continuance of the marriage proper in view of all the circumstances.

Custody of children, resumption of surname, distribution of

property, genealogical records, etc.

Article 771. The provisions of Articles 766 to 769 inclusive shall apply mutatis mutandis to judicial divorce.

Chapter Three. Parents and Children.

Presumption of legitimacy

Article 772. A child conceived by a wife during marriage shall be presumed to be the child of the husband.

2. A child, born two hundred days or more after the day on which the marriage was formed or born within three hundred days from the day on which the marriage was dissolved or annulled, shall be presumed to have been conceived during marriage.

Determination of paternity

Article 773. If, in cases where a woman who has remarried in contravention of the provisions of Article 733 paragraph I has been delivered of a child, it is impossible to determine the father of the child in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Article, the Court shall determine the paternity.

Denial of legitimacy

Article 774. In any case mentioned in Article 772, the husband may deny that the child is legitimate.

Ibid--action of denial

Article 775. The right of denial mentioned in the preceding Article shall be exercised by an action against the child or the mother exercising parental power. In cases there is no mother who exercises parental power, the Family Court shall appoint a special representative.

Recognition of legitimacy

Article 7 76. If, after it has been born, the husband recognizes that the child is legitimate, he loses the right of denial.

Ibid--period to bring action of denial

Article 777. An action of denial shall be brought within one year from the time when the husband became aware of the child's birth.

Ibid--major ward husband

Article 778. In cases the husband is a major ward, the period specified in the preceding Article shall be computed as from the time when the husband became aware of the child's birth after the revocation of the adjudication for commencement of guardianship.

Acknowledgment

Article 779. A child who is not legitimate may be acknowledged by its father or mother.

Ibid--father or mother under limited-ability

Article 780. Father or mother, even when he or she is a minor or a major ward, need not obtain the consent of his or her legal representative in order to acknowledge a child.

Ibid--manner

Article 781. The acknowledgment of a child is effected by giving notification thereof in accordance with the provisions of Family Registration Law.

2. Acknowledgment may also be effected by means of will.

Ibid--child of full age

Article 782. A child of fhil age cannot be acknowledged without his or her assent.

Ibid--child en ventre sa mere, diseased child

Article 783. A father may acknowledge even a child en ventre sa mere. In this case the assent of the mother shall be obtained.

2. Father or mother may acknowledge even a deceased child, but only when a lineal descendant of the child is living. In this case if such lineal descendant is of full age his or her assent shall be obtained.

Ibid--retroactivity

Article 784. Acknowledgment shall be effective retroactively as from the time of birth; however, the rights acquired by third persons prior thereto shall not be prejudiced thereby.

Ibid--prohibition to revoke

Article 785. Father or mother who has effected acknowledgment cannot revoke such acknowledgment.

Ibid--alleging adverse fact

Article 786. A child or any other person interested may allege any fact adverse to acknowledgment.

Ibid--action for

Article 787. A child or any of' its lineal descendants or the legal representative of any of them can bring an action for acknowledgment; however, this shall not apply after the lapse of three years from the time when the father or mother died.

Ibid--custody of child

Article 788. The provisions of Article 766 shall apply mutatis mutandis in cases where a father effects acknowledgment.

Ibid--status of legitimacy

Article 789. A child acknowledged by its father acquires the status of a legitimate child by reason of the marriage of its father and mother.

2. A child acknowledged by its father and mother during the subsistence of theft marriage acquires the status of a legitimate child as from the time of such acknowledgment.

3. The provisions of the preceding two paragraphs shall apply mutatis mutandis in cases where the child is already dead.

Surname of child

Article 790. A legitimate child assumes the surname of its father and mother. If, however, before the birth of the child its father and mother have divorced, the child assumes the surname of its father and mother at the time of the divorce.

2. An illegitimate child assumes the surname of its mother.

Surname change

Article 791. In cases where the surname of a child differs from that of its father or mother, the child may, with the leave of the Family Court, assume the surname of its father or mother by giving notification in accordance with the provisions of the Family Registration Law.

2. In cases where the surname of a child differs from that of its father or mother by reason that its father or mother has changed the surname, assume the surname of its father or mother only during a marriage of the father and mother without the leave under the preceding paragraph, by giving notification in accordance with the provisions of the Family Registration Law.

3. In cases where a child is under the age of fifteen, the legal representative thereof may perform the acts under the preceding two paragraphs on behalf of the child.

4. The minor child who has changed its surname in accordance with the provisions of the preceding three paragraphs may, within one year from the day on which the child attained majority, resume the former surname by giving notification in accordance with the provisions of the Family Registration Law.

Competency to adoption

Article 792. Any person who has attained majority may adopt another.

Prohibition to adopt ascendant or older person

Article 793. No ascendant or person of older age may be adopted.

Adoption of ward by guardian

Article 794. A guardian shall obtain the leave of the Family Court in order to adopt the ward (meaning a minor ward and a major ward; hereinafter the same). The same shall also apply after the duties of the guardian have come to an end, so long as the accounts of the management have not been completed.

Adoption by person having spouse

Article 795. To adopt a minor child, a person who has a spouse shall do it so jointly with the spouse. However, this shall not apply in cases where a person adopts the legitimate child of a spouse or where a spouse is unable to declare his or her intention.

Article 796. To effect adoptive relation, a person who has a spouse shall obtain the consent of the spouse. However, this shall not apply in cases where a person effects adoptive relation jointly with a spouse or a spouse is unable to declare his or her intention.

Adopting person under fifteen years of age

Article 797. If the person to be adopted is under fifteen years of age, his legal representative can assent to the adoption in his place.

2. To give the assent under the preceding paragraph, the legal representative shall, if there are any others who are the parents of a person to be adopted and should take his care and custody, obtain theft consent

Adopting minor child

Article 798. In order to adopt a minor child, the leave of the Family Court shall be obtained; however, this shah not apply when a person adopts any of the lineal descendants of his own or of the other spouse.

Adoption mutatis mutandis of the provisions on marriage

Article 799. The provisions of Articles 738 and 739 shall apply mutatis mutandis to an adoption.

Notification of adoption

Article 800. The notification of adoption may not be accepted unless the adoption does not contravene the provisions of Articles 792 to the preceding Article inclusive and of other laws and ordinances.

Ibid in foreign country

Article 801. In cases Japanese subjects resident in a foreign country desire to effect an adoption of the one by the other, notification thereof may be made to the Japanese Ambassador, Minister or a Japanese Consul acting in that country. In this case the provisions of Article 739 and the preceding Article shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Nullity of adoption--causes

Article 802. An adoption is void only in the following cases:

(1) Where there is no intention to effect adoption common to the parties owing to a mistake as to the identity of the person or through any other cause;

(2) Where the parties do not make notification of the adoption; however, if the notification only fails to fulfill the conditions prescribed in Article 739 paragraph 2, the validity of the adoption shall not be affected thereby.

Annulment of adoption

Article 803. An adoption cannot be annulled except in accordance with the provisions of Articles 804 to 808 inclusive.

Ibid-adoption by minor parent

Article 804. In the case of an adoption which has contravened the provision of Article 792, an application for its annulment may be made to the Court by the adoptive parent or his or her legal representative. However, this shall not apply when six months have elapsed or the adoptive parent has ratified it after he or she attained
majority.

Ibid-adopting ascendant or older person

Article 805. In the case of an adoption which has contravened the provision of Article 793, an application for its annulment may be made to the Court by either party concerned or any relative thereof.

Ibid-adopting ward by guardian

Article 806. In the case of an adoption which has contravened the provision of Article 794, an application for its annulment may be made to the Court by the adopted child or any relative on the side of its original family. However, this shall not apply when the adopted child has ratified it or six months have elapsed after the accounts of the management were completed.

2. The ratification is of no effect unless it is made after the adopted child has attained majority or has received its capacity.

3. In cases where the accounts of the management have been completed before the adopted child attains majority or recovers its capacity, the period specified in the proviso to paragraph 1 shall be computed as from the time when the adopted child has attained majority or has recovered its capacity.

Article 806-2. In the case of an adoption which has contravened the provision of Article 796, an application for its annulment may be made to the Court by a person who has not given his consent to the adoption. However, this shall not apply when six months have elapsed or the person has ratified it after he came to know the adoption.

2. A person who has given the consent under Article 796 by fraud or duress may make an application for annulment of the adoption to the Court. However, this shall not apply when six months have elapsed or the person has ratified it after he found the fraud or became free from the duress.

Article 806-3. In the case of an adoption which has contravened the provision of Article 797 paragraph 2, a person who has not given his consent to the adoption may make an application for its annulment to the Court. However, this shall not apply when the person has ratified it, or when six months have elapsed or the adopted child has ratified it after the child attained the age of fifteen.

2. The provision of paragraph 2 of the preceding Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to the person who has given the consent under Article 797 paragraph 2 by fraud or duress.

Ibid--adopting minor child

Article 807. In cases of an adoption effected in contravention of the provisions of Article 798, an application may be made to the Court for its annulment by the adopted child or by any of its relatives on the side of its original family, or by the person who has assented to the adoption in place of the adopted child. However, this shall not apply when six months have elapsed from the time when the adopted child attained majority, or if it has ratified the adoption.

Application mutatis mutandis of the provisions on annulment of marriage

Article 808. The provisions of Articles 747 and 748 shall apply mutatis mutandis to an adoption; however, the period specified in Article 747 paragraph 2 shall be six months.

2. The provisions of Articles 769 and 816 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the annulment of adoption.

Status of legitimacy

Article 809. An adopted child acquires, as from the day of adoption, the status of a legitimate child of the parent by adoption.

Surname

Article 810. An adopted child assumes the surname of the parent by adoption. However, this shall not apply while a person who has changed the surname should assume the surname determined at the time of marriage.

Dissolution by agreement

Article 811. The parties to an adoption may effect by agreement a dissolution of the adoptive relation.

2. If an adopted child is under fifteen years of age, dissolution of adoptive relation may be effected by agreement between the parent by adoption and the person who would become its legal representative after the dissolution of adoptive relation of the adopted child.

3. If, in the case of the preceding paragraph, the father and mother of the adopted child had effected divorce, one of them shall, by their agreement, be determined to have the parental power after the dissolution of adoptive relation of the adopted child.

4. If no agreement mentioned in the preceding paragraph is reached or possible, the Family Court may render judgment in place of agreement on application of the father or mother or the parent by adoption under the preceding paragraph.

5. If there is no person to become the legal representative under paragraph 2, the Family Court shall appoint a person to become the guardian for minors after dissolution of adoptive relation of the adopted child on application of any of the adopted child's relatives or of any other persons interested.

6. If, after the death of either party of adoption, a surviving party desires to effect a dissolution of adoptive relation, the surviving party may effect it with the leave of the Family Court.

Article 811-2. If, in the case of the adopters who are husband and wife, they effect a dissolution of the adoptive relation with a minor, they should do it so jointly. However, this shall not apply when one spouse is unable to declare his or her intention.

Application mutatis mutandis of the provisions on marriage, etc.

Article 812. The provisions of Articles 738, 739, 747 and Article 808 paragraph 1 proviso shall apply mutatis m

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