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Consequences of registered partnership

By registering your partnership, you and your partner take on mutual rights and obligations. The following provides an overview of the most important personal and financial consequences.

Civil status

Your new civil status is recorded as ‘in a registered partnership’.

Name

  • Your name does not change when you register your partnership.
  • You can, however, choose to take the name of your partner as a shared family name.

Citizenship

  • Registering your partnership does not affect your nationality.
  • Unlike marriage, being in a registered partnership does not facilitate naturalisation for the foreign partner of a Swiss national.
  • If you have been in a registered partnership for three years, it is enough to have lived in Switzerland for 5 years (including one year directly prior to application) to apply for Swiss citizenship. The same applies when both partners are foreign and one of them fulfils the criteria for naturalisation. For everything you need to know about naturalisation.

Children

  • Two people who live in a registered partnership are not allowed to adopt jointly or have children by artificial insemination. A person can adopt his/her partner's child.
  • If one partner in the same-sex partnership has a child, the other person shares the responsibility of supporting the child financially and carrying out the parental duties.

Assets, debts and contracts

  • Each partner has the right to demand information from the other concerning their income, assets and debts.
  • The separation of property in Swiss law applies to registered partnerships. Each partner retains responsibility for his or her own property and debts. Joint purchases are divided equally between the two unless an agreement made before a notary states otherwise. If the partnership is dissolved, the amount paid into old-age and survivor’s insurance and occupational pensions schemes during the partnership is divided equally between the two ex-partners.
  • In some circumstances when you or your partner enter a contract that involves a significant financial obligation, leasing a car for example, you might both have to give your consent. This also applies to signing or ending the rental agreement on your shared home.

Taxes

You and your partner are taxed jointly like a married couple. If you don’t live together, the canton usually decides on your place of residence for tax purposes.

Death

When you or your partner dies, you have the same rights as a married couple.

  • If you have children under the age of 18, you receive a widow/widower’s pension.
  • If the surviving partner is supporting a child, they are entitled to an allowance from the occupational pension scheme. This is also the case if the surviving partner is over 45 and as long as the registered partnership lasted at least five years. The pension scheme may award widow’s/widower’s pensions above the statutory minimum.
  • Registered partners are treated like married couples with regard to inheritance law and inheritance tax. They are each other’s main heir. Depending on the canton, the surviving partner pays minimal or no inheritance tax. The same applies to gifts and gift taxes.