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Dissolving a registered civil partnership

You or your partner can apply to the court to have the partnership dissolved. The steps to take depend on whether only one or both of you want to separate.

Joint petition

If you and your partner agree to the dissolution of the partnership, you must present the following documentation to the civil court:

1.Written petition

You must submit a dissolution petition signed by both partners. The courts usually provide forms or templates to help you.

2.Dissolution agreement

You then draw up an agreement on how to settle the consequences of the dissolution, for example:

  • Is either of you entitled to maintenance payments?
  • How will you split your shared possessions?
  • Who will stay in the home you shared?
  • If children are involved, will the other person continue to have contact with the children and if so what form will this take?

If you do not agree or only agree on some things, you can still submit a joint petition and ask the court to decide on the remaining matters.

3.Other documentation

Depending on your circumstances, you may also have to provide other documentation. Contact the competent court to find out what documents you will need.

4.Hearing

After you have presented the necessary documents, the court will organise a hearing.

Unilateral application

If the partners do not agree on the dissolution of the partnership, either one may make a unilateral application if they have lived apart for a minimum of one year.

Procedure

The court invites both partners to a hearing. While the proceedings are ongoing, precautionary measures are often put in place (e.g. maintenance payments).

Information and contacting the competent court

The courts are organised differently from canton to canton. Ask your canton’s judicial authority or a lawyer if you are not sure which court to contact.

Consequences of dissolving a registered partnership

Once your registered partnership has been dissolved your civil status is recorded as ‘dissolved partnership’.

  • Assets: Unless you and your partner have formally agreed otherwise, the separation of possessions as set out under Swiss matrimonial law also applies to registered partnerships. Each person keeps the property that belongs to them. Assets belonging to both partners are either divided equally or allocated to one of the partners in return for compensation.
  • Maintenance contributions: Each person must support him- or herself. However, if either person reduces their working hours or stops working entirely in agreement with their partner, or if either person encounters financial difficulties as a consequence of the dissolution of their registered partnership, the court may require the other partner to pay maintenance contributions. Maintenance contributions must be paid until the person receiving maintenance is able to find a job and pay their own way.
  • Taxes: After the partnership has been dissolved both people pay taxes separately.
  • Old-age and survivor’s insurance and occupational pensions: The sums paid into old-age and survivor’s insurance and occupational pension schemes during the partnership are divided equally between the two ex-partners.
  • Children: If one of the partners has children, the court can award contact rights to the other partner.
  • Inheritance: Once the partnership has been dissolved, no right of inheritance exists between the two people.