Reader "A" wrote in to Lifelines recently on the all-too-familiar subject of divorce, along with a related question about mortgages:

I am a 46-year-old male foreigner who has been married to a Japanese for 13 years. Our relationship has broken down to a level where communication mostly consists of fights. Every day just feels like unending struggle.

For this reason, I am thinking about divorce, but we have three kids (8, 10 and 12 years old). If we bring a divorce case to the court, how is child custody decided?