Legal effects of divorce

  • Divorce is the final dissolution of the marriage.
  • In the case of divorce, the couple is separated in terms of the law of matrimonial property, i.e. their assets are distributed in accordance with the system of marital property.
  • Decisions are made about maintenance payments (alimony for children and for spouses).
  • Decisions are made about care and contact regulation for the couple's children.

Divorce agreement (divorce convention)

Once a court has authorised a divorce agreement, it is exceptionally difficult to come back to it. The divorce agreement regulates:

  • children's needs, parental rights and duties such as custody, visiting rights, child maintenance
  • agreements based on property law between the spouses, such as divisions in terms of the law of matrimonial property and post-marital maintenance

Important aspects for binational couples

Since 1 January 2008, the new Aliens Act has prescribed the new conditions for a residence permit beyond divorce. After dissolution of the marriage, the right to an extension of the residence permit will reamin in effect if the marriage has lasted at least three years and a successful integration exists, or if significant personal reasons make continued residence in Switzerland necessary (Art 50 AuG) an see the section "Separation" above.

The extension of a residence permit may be denied in cases of abuse of law (Art. 51 AuG).
This new provision does not apply to EU/EFTA nationals.

However, it does apply correspondingly to registered partnerships.

The full text of the new Aliens Act may be found in PDF format at

Divorced parents remain worry - entiteled. Therefore a residental change of location of the children can occur abroad only with approval of both parents. Nevertheless, a common right of custody can be exercised about big geographical distances. The child care and the contact regulation are agreed by the wishes an possibilities of the parents in harmony with the child care.

If maintenance payments are required for the couple's children and one parent lives abroad, there is the option of international maintenance collection - provided that the state in question has signed the international teaty. Information is available from the International Social Services or on

Further information

If you have unanswered questions about separation or divorce, you can contact the responsible civil court, which will provide you with the necessary information. You will find the addresses in the telephone directory of the canton you live in. In addition, you may refer to a Call Centre of our Association for personal counselling.