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12 May 2022

Same-sex marriage in Switzerland: financial considerations and parentage

Swiss law on same-sex marriage will come into force on 1 July 2022. From that date, same-sex couples will be able to marry or convert their civil partnership into a marriage.

Will it still be possible to enter into a civil partnership?

From 1 July 2022, it will no longer be possible to register a civil partnership.

Same-sex couples may convert their civil partnership into a marriage by means of a joint declaration at the Registry Office in Switzerland or to the competent Swiss consulate representation abroad. This request for conversion is not subject to a legal time limit and may be made at any time. This conversion is not automatic; existing civil partnerships may be maintained.

What about same-sex marriages concluded abroad?  

Same-sex couples married abroad whose marriages have been recognised in Switzerland as a civil partnership - due to the fact that the application for recognition was made before the entry into force of the change in the law - will now be able to have those civil partnerships registered as a marriage.

What are the key financial considerations for same-sex couples?

Partners in a civil partnership are currently subject to the default matrimonial regime of separation of property unless a different regime is elected. From 1 July 2022, same-sex couples will de facto be married under the regime of ‘participation in acquired property’ which automatically applies to all married couples. This means that assets, i.e. all assets accumulated during the marriage that are not personal property (e.g. income from work), will have to be divided between the spouses in the event of divorce.

Is it possible to elect another matrimonial regime?

If couples wish to elect the matrimonial regime of separation of property or wish to elect that the regime of participation in acquired property applies retroactively to the date of registration of their civil partnership, they will have to enter into a marriage contract.

What will be the impact on the children of same-sex female couples?

From 1 July 2022, access to sperm donation for female couples (excluding anonymous donations) will be permitted in Switzerland. Provided the conditions of Swiss law are satisfied, both will be considered legal parents with joint parental responsibility from birth.

What about adoption?

With the opening up of marriage to same-sex couples, joint adoption will be permitted.

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