FAMILY & DIVORCE LAW
Marriage gives rise to many personal and financial rights and obligations between spouses – even after the marriage has ended through divorce or death – but also vis-à-vis children. Marriage law deals with all matters arising during matrimonial cohabitation and matrimonial property law.
MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY LAW
The matrimonial property regime governs the assets of spouses during marriage and when a marriage is dissolved. The conclusion of a prenuptial agreement may alter the ordinary matrimonial regime of participation in acquired property.
Maintenance refers to the expenses incurred to cover a person’s basic necessities. The type of maintenance claim and the amount claimed depends on the configuration of the personal relationships and circumstances between spouses.
LAWS GOVERNING CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
Any questions relating to minors are dealt with under laws governing children’s rights. These include:
Parental rights of custody, custodial care or assignment of custody, care arrangements, management of children’s assets
In line with recent law, the tasks of bringing up children and representing the interests and managing the assets of minors are now usually assigned to both parents. There is a departure from this general rule in cases in which cooperation and communication between parents in matters concerning their children have substantially broken down.
Until a child reaches the age of majority, parents often have to support it until it concludes its initial cycle of education. This duty is an effect of the parent-child relationship and does not depend on parental care, custodial care, personal contact and (as long as the child remains below legal age) their personal relationship.
Parenthood / adoption
In Switzerland following birth, a parent-child relationship arises between a child and its mother whereas with regard to the relationship between the child and its father, marriage with the mother, recognition or establishment by a court of law is required. A parent-child relationship can also be established through adoption.
Child protection measures
A wide range of measures, which may be taken if a child’s well-being is endangered, are available under family law for the protection of minors. They include, among other things, the jurisdiction of the Child and Adult Protection Authority (CAPA) and the establishment of deputyships and guardianships.
Marriage protection proceedings, out-of-court separation agreements
- When a marital cohabitation ends it is advisable to seek professional advice and representation when negotiating a separation settlement on the division of the matrimonial home and in relation to arrangements for maintenance payments and matters concerning their children, also with a view to any subsequent divorce proceedings.
- Following separation the spouses may amicably agree on the arrangements without having recourse to the courts. If no settlement can be reached or if the agreements reached are not maintained, the possibility exists of marriage protection proceedings before a court.
- Marriage protection proceedings address the legal effects of a separation on children’s rights and assets and have a great deal of practical importance for the preparation of a divorce.
DIVORCE, DIVORCE SETTLEMENTS
The dissolution of a marriage can be achieved through an amicable divorce settlement or by filing a divorce. Divorce proceedings, among other things, deal with post-nuptial maintenance issues, matters concerning the children and the division of the matrimonial property.
PROTECTION OF ADULTS
Advance care directives, patient decrees, adult protection authority
- Official measures may be taken to protect adults requiring help or protection for health reasons or in old age. To ensure that elderly people are able to live their lives with the greatest degree of autonomy, the use of advance care directives or patient decrees is also worth considering.
- Based on an advance care directive written by hand or notarised by a notary public, a person can be designated to represent the interests of the person requiring care if his or her decision-making capacity is subsequently diminished, in particular in matters relating to care, asset management and representation in legal transactions.
- A person of trust can be designated by means of a written directive, who following the loss of the patient’s legal capacity or decision-making capacity in the event of an illness or accident discusses any medical measures that need to be taken with the physician and decides on the patient’s behalf which measures should be implemented.
The purpose of a notarised agreement entered into between two spouses is to avoid any disputes in the event of divorce or death. The prenuptial agreement can also be used to settle financial matters (matrimonial property regime) during the marriage.
TAX LAW / PROVISION FOR THE FUTURE
INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LAW AND MIGRATION LAWS
A de facto union is a form of cohabitation on a long-term basis in which the partners are not married. This type of relationship is insufficiently regulated under the law, which is why it is advisable to conclude a cohabitation agreement.
SUPPORT FOR RELATIVES
Direct relatives in financial hardship can receive financial assistance.