Divorce in Switzerland

Divorce in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Divorce-in-SwitzerlandThe Swiss legislation about divorce procedures

According to Article 51 in the Statute on Private International Law, Swiss courts will rule in cases of divorce where one of the spouses are residents or domiciled in the country. Foreign citizens may also choose to divorce in Switzerland if the action cannot be pursued in their country of domicile. If a Swiss court will handle divorce proceedings, it will also handle all other matters arisen from the divorce: division of assets and maintenance. The Swiss legislation allows spouses to choose the law based on which the division of assets will be made or can enforce a prenuptial agreement, in case one exists. However, for a prenuptial agreement to be recognized, certain requirements imposed by the Swiss Civil Code must be fulfilled. The Swiss legislation allows for three types of divorce procedures: separation by mutual agreement, the legal separation and divorce.

Separation by mutual agreement and legal separation in Switzerland

Separation agreements in Switzerland are possible as long as spouses agree on the conditions of living separately. Separation agreements are exempt from appearing before a Swiss court. Separation agreements in Switzerland may be concluded in writing or by oral agreement, but oral agreements will not be recognized in court in case of litigation. The written separation agreement must contain provisions about:

  • - child custody, in case spouses have children,
  • - who will remain in the matrimonial home,
  • - maintenance matters,
  • - division of assets.

It is also recommended to have the separation agreement legalized by a Swiss notary. The legislation allows a spouse to apply for legal separation if the economic security of the family is endangered.

Divorce procedures in Switzerland

In case both spouses apply for divorce together, a Swiss court may consent to the petition immediately provided that an agreement regarding the division of property and child custody. However, it is recommended to ask the advice of a law firm in Switzerland before applying for divorce.

In case one of the spouse files for divorce in Switzerland, the divorce will be acknowledged after the spouses have lived apart for two years. The divorce case is usually tried within two months after the petition has been submitted. The documents to be provided in case of divorce in Switzerland are:

  • - identification documents,
  • Swiss residence permit,
  • - a family record document, if the marriage was registered in Switzerland,
  • - a petition for divorce,
  • - an agreement on the division of assets or prenuptial agreement if it exists,
  • - information about incomes and properties,
  • - information about children, if any.

For complete information about divorce proceedings or legal representation you may contact our lawyers in Switzerland.