International Divorce & Family Law: Switzerland
Switzerland is a confederation of 26 cantons, with legislative competence divided between the confederation and the cantons. Federal law governs family and divorce matters. However such matters are dealt with in the Courts of the individual cantons, so the procedural law may vary considerably from one canton to another. In international divorce matters, complex questions can arise with regards to the jurisdiction of the Court and the applicable law. In certain cases, Switzerland will apply the law of another country. For example if the spouses have a common foreign citizenship and only one of them is resident in Switzerland, then the law of the country of their common citizenship will apply.
Another issue of great interest on an international basis is of course the well-known confidentiality of Swiss banking arrangements. Frequently a foreign spouse will seek to freeze accounts held by the other spouse in Swiss accounts. Switzerland has an efficient procedure for dealing with such applications, but there are quite technical rules involved and an applicant finds that they have to ‘tick every box’.
Switzerland also has quite complicated rules governing interim maintenance pending a divorce.
There is a matrimonial system of community of property and extensive use is made of marital contracts.
We are specialist international divorce lawyers and family solicitors and we have advised numerous clients who are either UK-based but originate from Switzerland, or are living outside of the UK but have a connection with England or Wales.
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