In Switzerland, there are three different marital property regimes: participation in acquired property, community of goods and separation of goods.
Participation in acquired property
If the spouses do not sign any marriage contract, the ‹participation in acquired property› regime applies (also known as ‘ordinary regime’).
Each person keeps the assets he or she owned before getting married, as well as any assets received as gifts or inherited during the marriage (also known as ‘own property’).
Each person also independently manages the savings accumulated during the marriage (also known as ‹acquired property› such as salary or bank interest)
In the event of separation/divorce, death or transfer to another marital property regime, the ‹acquired property› are divided equally between the ex-spouses (also known as ‘liquidation of marital property regime’).
Communion of goods
If the spouses decide to pool their assets, they must sign a marriage contract certified by a notary or a public official, depending on the canton in which they live.
In this case, their assets will be managed jointly and will be divided in half in the event of divorce/separation.
Separation of assets
If the spouses decide to keep their property separate, they must sign a marriage contract certified by a notary or a public official, depending on the canton in which they live. 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.
For specific questions you may have relating to marital property regimes and marriage contracts, 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.