Getting divorced or separated from your partner

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Marriages or partnerships can be officially dissolved. This page presents all the useful information for couples wishing to separate from one another. It describes the tangible impacts that a divorce or dissolution of a partnership may have with regard to the separation of assets, the surname of those involved, taxes or parental authority.

Married couples can choose between separation and divorce. Couples bound by a partnership can also terminate it officially.

Procedures for separation, divorce or dissolution of a partnership

Anyone wishing to divorce or dissolve a registered partnership must submit a request to this effect to a court.

Divorce can be requested by mutual agreement of the spouses or unilaterally by one or other spouse. In the event of the dissolution of a registered partnership, the fact that the dissolution is requested by both partners or only one partner is decisive for the subsequent steps in the procedure.

Generally speaking, you are strongly recommended to seek the advice of legal professional.

In the event of separation, divorce or dissolution of a partnership, the relevant authority is the civil court of the canton of residence of one of the two partners or spouses. In Geneva, the Court of First Instance is the relevant judge.

Separation of assets

In the event of a dissolution of partnership, the regime of separation of assets applies as a general rule unless you and your partner have concluded a different contract. Each former partner retains what belongs to them and the assets in common are shared or allocated to one or other partner against compensation.

In the event of a divorce, the distribution of assets and debts is governed by the matrimonial regime chosen when the partners married.

Surname and identity papers

In principle, following a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership, the former members of the couple retain the name they chose when they registered their partnership.

Reverting to a maiden name

If one of the members of the couple changed their surname when they were married or when they registered their partnership, they can revert to their maiden name at any time. However, a divorce has no impact on their children’s names.

Renewing your identity papers

When you change your surname following a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership, you must have your identity papers renewed along with various other official documents (bank cards, OASI certificate, certificate of origin, etc.).


Parental authority in the event of a divorce

Since 1 July 2014, joint parental authority has been the rule in the event of a divorce. It is only in very specific cases that parental authority is granted solely to the mother or father. More information concerning divorce and parental authority can be found on the Swiss authorities’ portal

Contact with the children of your former partner

If one of the partners has children, the court can decide that the other partner can maintain contact with them.

Alimony and child support

In principle, each former partner provides for their own upkeep following a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership. Under certain conditions, the court can rule that alimony must be paid to the poorer former spouse or partner.

Following a divorce, parents remain obliged to provide for the upkeep of their children until they reach the age of majority or complete an initial training enabling them to enter professional life. The court determines the amount to be contributed to their upkeep.

Divorce, dissolution of a partnership and taxes

After the dissolution of a registered partnership or a marriage, the former partners are once again taxed separately.

Change in marital status

Following a divorce, the judge informs the municipalities of residence and of origin of the former spouses. The municipality of origin then records the divorce in the civil registry.

Following the dissolution of a partnership, the marital status of the former partners is: “Dissolved partnership”.

Article modifié le 25.09.2020 à 17:05