Divorce

Divorce abroad

Foreign decisions on divorce or legal separation are normally recognised in Switzerland when handed down in the country of domicile or of habitual residence, or the state of nationality of one of the spouses, or if recognised in one of these countries (Federal Act on Private International Law (SR 291)).

Federal Act on Private International Law (SR 291) (de, fr, it)

To register a divorce pronounced abroad in the Swiss civil status register (Infostar), the originals of the following documents must be as a rule submitted to the Swiss representation with any necessary legalisation for forwarding to Switzerland:

  • divorce decree with the date on which it takes effect
  • decision concerning the parental authority of any children of the couple with the date when it takes effect
  • where applicable, changes of address of the divorced couple

These documents are intended to the competent civil status authority and will not be returned.

Divorce in Switzerland

In the case of a divorce pronounced in Switzerland, persons registered with a Swiss representation abroad are under an obligation to report the change of civil status. This requires submitting the following documents (as hard copy or in electronic form) so that the register of the Swiss abroad can be updated:

  • photocopy of the divorce decree with the date on which it takes effect
  • photocopy of the decision concerning the parental authority of any children of the couple with the date when it takes effect
  • Where applicable changes of address of the divorced couple

There is no fee for the registration in question.

In order to keep the family registers accurate and up-to-date, the Swiss authorities need to be informed about any changes in the civil status (birth, marriage, partnership, death and divorce) of Swiss citizens and dual nationals. When such changes occur, the persons concerned, or their nearest relatives, should send a complete and certified copy of the appropriate document/s (birth, death, marriage, partnership or divorce certificates) to the responsible Swiss representation.

Please note that these requirements are not set by the Swiss representations but by the respective cantonal offices in Switzerland. They make the final decisions whether the documents meet or do not meet the requirements.

Local and cantonal civil status authorities

Civil status changes (marital status, birth of children, death, name change, etc.) must be communicated to the Swiss authorities. Failure to provide accurate documentation may impede future administrative procedures with the Swiss authorities and even hinder the issuance of new identity documents, i.e. passports, etc.

Divorce (U.S.)

Important: The documents will not be returned to you. Photocopies and documents certified by a notary public will not be accepted.

Domestic Partnership Divorce (U.S.)

Important: The documents will not be returned to you. Photocopies and documents certified by a notary public will not be accepted.