Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Children born outside marriage have same inheritance rights as those under wedlock: court

"OSAKA -- An appeal court has ruled that a Civil Code provision that children born outside of marriage can inherit only half the amount of their parents' assets that those born in wedlock are entitled to is unconstitutional, sources close to the case have revealed.

"The Osaka High Court determined that a child of a deceased man born out of wedlock can inherit the same amount of assets as the man's three legitimate children.

""The legislative branch's failure to rectify the difference between children born in and out of wedlock goes beyond the boundary of its discretionary power," Presiding Judge Yoshifumi Akanishi said as he handed down the ruling.

"The ruling goes against the Supreme Court's decision in 1995 that the Civil Code clause is constitutional.

"Akanishi pointed out that views on family relations have diversified among members of the public, and ruled that the Civil Code provision runs counter to the constitutional guarantee of equality under law.

""The difference in the legal treatment of children born in and out of wedlock could contribute to discrimination," the judge said.

"The high court ruled on an appeal filed by the man's child outside of marriage against the Osaka Family Court's decision on the division of assets left by his father who died in 2008.

"The deceased man had a wife, three legitimate children and a child born outside of marriage.

"The man's wife filed an application with the family court in May last year for arbitration on the division of his assets between the members of his bereaved family. However, after they failed to reach an agreement, they asked the court to determine the amount that they would inherit.

"The lower court divided the man's assets in accordance with the Civil Code provision, but the child out of wedlock appealed the decision to the high court."

Mainichi Shimbun (10/4/2011), Link to article (last visited 10/6/2011)