Divorce or dissolution of civil partnership

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.

Registration of Divorce or Dissolution of Civil Partnership in the UK

In order to register a divorce in the family records in Switzerland the following documents are required:

  • a Divorce Decree Absolute (bearing the original seal of the High Court of Justice/County Court) or the document concerning the dissolution of the former civil partnership, newly issued (within 6 months)
  • if applicable, a court order concerning parental responsibility for child(ren) and/or minor(s), for inspection only
  • a completed questionnaire, which can be obtained from the Regional Consular Centre or downloaded: 

    Divorce Questionnaire (PDF, Page 1, 81.2 kB)  

Please note that the above-mentioned documents will be sent to Switzerland and can therefore not be returned to you. You may at any time obtain further original certified copies from the High Court of Justice or County Court.