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.

The divorce of a Swiss citizen has to be registered with the Swiss authorities. Please forward an original of the «Final Order of Divorce» to your Regional Consular Center or Consulate General. If there are minor children involved, the deed of settlement mentioning the custody is required.

Where applicable, indicate changes of address of the divorced couple and minor children.

Informationleaflet (PDF, 302.0 kB, English)

Questionnaire (PDF, 9.9 kB, English) 

The «Final Order of Divorce» is issued by the court which dissolved the marriage, will be validated free of charge and forwarded to the relevant Swiss authorities which will retain it for their records.

The woman keeps her surname after the divorce. If she prefers, she may take back the surname she had before the marriage. For the steps to follow, please enquire at the competent Swiss representation you are registered with.

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.