Choosing to get divorced is a huge decision to make. Although it is helpful to understand your legal position, as part of the decision, it is best to focus on your relationship before involving a divorce solicitor – is there any way of saving your marriage?
Dealing with the breakdown of a relationship is difficult enough before you consider the legal minefield many go through to find out what their choices are. Factor in escalating legal costs and the process can be overwhelming.
As long as you agree on the conditions of living separately, you do not necessarily have to appear in court. You have the option of drawing up a written separation agreement and of signing it together or of reaching oral agreements. However, in case of litigation, a mutual arrangement of this sort is not regarded as legal title on the basis of which claims may be asserted directly in court.
In Switzerland, family affairs such as marriage, parenthood and divorce are regulated by the Swiss Code of Civil Law (ZGB, art. 90-251). In the case of the dissolution of a binational marriage, the question arises whether Swiss law or the appropriate foreign law applies. If your ordinary residence is in Switzerland, you can initiate legal separation or divorce in Switzerland.
If a divorce process is pending before a court abroad, a Swiss court cannot take on the same case and vice versa.
If you live abroad and would like the separation or divorce to be regulated by a Swiss court, you need to move your ordinary residence back to Switzerland. Swiss courts are not responsible for the recognition of a separation or divorce abroad. Please contact the responsible foreign consulate or the appropriate office for this purpose. Switzerland recognises foreign separation and divorce decrees provided they do not infringe on fundamental principles of Swiss law.
Schenkel & Serrago AG
+41 41 419 70 80 fon
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