In Switzerland, there are three different marital property regimes: participation in acquired property, community of property and separation of property.
Participation in acquired property
If the couple do not sign a marital agreement, the ‹participation in acquired property› regime applies.
Each spouse keeps the assets he or she owned before getting married, as well as any assets received as gifts or inherited during the marriage (their ‘own property’).
Each person also independently manages the assets accumulated during the marriage (their ‹acquired property› such as a salary or bank interest)
In the event of separation or divorce, death or changing to another marital property regime, the ‹acquired property› is divided equally between the ex-spouses.
Community of property
If a couple decides to pool their assets, they must enter into a marital agreement.
If they opt for a community of property, they must sign a martial agreement in the form of a public deed, which in most cases must be drawn up by a notary.
In this case, their assets will be managed jointly and will be divided in half in the event of divorce/separation.
Separation of property
If the couple decides to keep their property separate, they must enter into a marital agreement.
If they opt for a separation of property, they must sign a marital agreement in the form of a public deed, which in most cases must be drawn up by a notary.
In this case, none of their assets are pooled, leaving no assets to divide in the event of separation/divorce.
Regardless of the type of property regime chosen, all married couples and couples in a registered partnership must complete their tax return jointly and will be taxed as a couple.
If you have specific questions relating to marital property regimes and marital agreements, please contact a lawyer or notary.
For information on tax returns for married people, contact the tax administration of your canton of residence (web page available in German, French and Italian).
For information about social insurance for married people, contact your OASI (AHV/AVS) insurance fund, your occupational pension fund and the institution responsible for your 3rd pillar, if you have one.
The brochure on occupational pension provision in the event of a divorce for married or registered couples provides information for married and registered couples.
On the page about marriage, you will find specific information about the marriage procedure and the choice of the couple’s surname.
The page about registered partnerships also provides more specific information.