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Old 26.11.2015, 22:03
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Separation/divorce court

I have been separated for just over a year. I am American and my husband is Swiss, we have 2 children. Until now all arrangements/agreements have been between us. I have gone to a mediator who worked up a budget for us, so I have an idea of how much money my husband should be giving the boys & I. I work about 20%.

I have filed for legal separation and we go to court for our first meeting next week. The main reason I have filed is so that the court can/will mandate how much money he should give me because the amount we agreed upon is less than the mediator suggested, however my husband won't agree to this amount.

I was wondering if anyone knows whether the court will tell him how much he should pay. I have heard the court will just go along with the amount that he & I agreed upon and that they don't/won't set the amount themselves.

I cannot imagine this is true, otherwise what is the point in going, other than making it official in the eyes of the government.

I would appreciate if anyone can tell me what to expect. We don't own a home or have any assets together. And until now, neither of us have been working with lawyers, I think this is only necessary once we file for divorce.

Thanks in advance
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Old 26.11.2015, 22:24
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Re: Separation/divorce court

If you agree, and you ask the court to confirm that agreement, then why would they suggest anything else ?

On the other hand, if you believe the agreement is too little, then this is your chance to ask for something else, to disagree and this is when it (having seen other couples go through this process) turns nasty...

Why did you agree to less than what the mediator suggested ? Have you discussed with someone who knows the system what is considered to be reasonable ? Are you happy to live (permanently) with your decision ?

Personally, I would recommend that you revise the amount and consider seriously using the calculations that the mediator has suggested. I know too many people who have 'settled' for a lot less and in the long-term regretted it (especially when he moves on to a new wife with new kids and the first family misses out)...

You may not 'own' any assets, but have you considered the value of the pension fund for both sides ? This can be quite a substantial sum, and whilst you are only working 20% and he is working 100% the amount going into the pension fund on his side is significantly more, and quite likely will end up over the lifespan as a massively larger amount than what you will ultimately accumulate in your lifespan (especially if you then take on caring responsibilities for children, possibly grandchildren, and ageing parents as well down the track) - these 'caring' responsibilities typically fall heavily on one side and not the other, and also will depend on whether either of you have other siblings who might also take some of this responsibility....and whether either partner also moves on to a new marriage with new children to raise...
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Old 26.11.2015, 22:38
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Well I went to the mediator after my husband & I made our arrangements/agreements. He was initially giving me about half of what he's giving me now, then I managed to get him to increase it. It's only after I went to the mediator that I had a clear picture of how much I should really be getting. Again, this is why I'm seeking assistance/advice from the court.

From my understanding once we file for divorce he's obligated to split his pension with me.

But from your response, it doesn't seem that you know the answer to my original question...will the court set the amount he's required to pay? I do know it's based on a % of his salary, and yes I am the primary caregiver of the children and have limited employment opportunities here.
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Old 26.11.2015, 22:53
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Re: Separation/divorce court

This may give you some guidance - it's for divorce, but I guess similar calculations could be used for a separation.

https://www.ch.ch/en/divorce-and-mai...contributions/

Have you considered the wider implications of a divorce? As a non-EU national who no longer has a permit to live/work here via family reunification you may find your job is under threat (non-EU hiring rules may have to be applied) and possibly even your right to stay here.

https://www.ch.ch/en/right-to-reside...th-or-divorce/
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Old 27.11.2015, 00:34
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Different situation, as me and my ex were already divorced and had financial consent in the UK. But when we went to the Swiss court over child custody, they went with the existing signed and witnessed agreement we had been living with for two years, so I guess 'if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it' works here too. Of course, we had been living to the agreement for two years so it wasn't broke.
I'm confused as to why your ex won't agree to the agreement though. Is he not living up to the agreement you and he made or not agreeing to what the mediator said the agreement should be?
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Old 27.11.2015, 02:07
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Re: Separation/divorce court

I don't know if this helps. But my Swiss sister in law divorced her Swiss husband, kids were adults, she got 1/2 of his pension, a nice sized monthly Alimony for 10 years and their schlipf( garden house). & no the husband is not rich or well off, just a normal guy working at a pharma company.
She used her 1/2 pension $$ to put a substantial down payment on a new home.

I suspect if you go through the legal ( vs. agreement) channels, you will be fine.
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Old 27.11.2015, 10:11
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Also, it's not half the pension, it's half the pension that he acquired during the years you were married.

And he also gets half of yours.

Tom
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Old 27.11.2015, 11:26
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Re: Separation/divorce court

If you are going to court, I highly recommend you get your own lawyer. A family court lawyer will be well versed with the procedures and experience in coming up with a living amount for you and the children. Both parties will need to submit a load of paperwork with financial details and earnings, etc... before the hearing.

The court will also put in ink the arrangement for the children. Be aware that due to recent changes, it is now regarded as the norm 50/50 for custody and parental rights, this also impacts the amount to be received from your ex. I cannot speak for your area, but around here the judge went through the financials in a lot of detail, and they definitely have a lot of experience with this. The important thing is that both parties have livable amounts and arrangements are made for the children. Things like who has primary custody, or 50/50, and living in the family home, will all impact the amount to be received.
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Old 27.11.2015, 11:48
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Quote:
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I have been separated for just over a year. I am American and my husband is Swiss, we have 2 children. Until now all arrangements/agreements have been between us.
What made you change your mind after a year? Did your husband start reneging on his part?
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Old 02.12.2015, 20:30
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Hey there. I recently had a consultation at Frauenzentrale about my alimony. The lady (identified herself as a lawyer dealing with family matters) had showed me the same way how the court sums up all spendings of both parties. Probably the same way as your consultation. She also mentioned that without any agreement or recommendations from both sides, the court calculates for the exact alimony. In case you are not aware of this, I also want to share with you this. She also mentioned that just in case the sum of total amount from the both goes over the total income, the court will be in favour of the main bread earner. For example, the amount of money you & your boys need (as calculated) is, let`s say, 6,000 a month, and your ex needs about 5,000 a month. But the total income of both of you is 10,000, which means it`s 1,000 short. Then they deduct the short amount from your alimony. Otherwise the court will have to refer you to social insurance, but they try not to. I hope all goes well with you and your boys.
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Old 04.12.2015, 21:17
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Re: Separation/divorce court

Thanks everyone for your replies. I thought I'd give an update. We went for our meeting at the court on Wed. Since we filed for separation and not divorce, they didn't really consider any personal details that might be important for a final agreement. The court did decide on the amount of money I should receive and not base it on the amount we had mutually agreed upon when I moved out. I thought they would do this but was still uncertain going into the meeting. They use a fixed formula which takes into consideration both parties income and expenses. There is a kantonal existence minium which is fixed for adults and children. They use this sum as a base and then work out the rest based on the expenses and income of both parents. I am getting a fixed amount for both children, plus a fixed amount for myself, hence child support and alimony.

Please realize that we do have rights. I have a C permit and am the primary caregiver of our children. I have been here 8 years and am pretty good in German. I like to think that I'm rather well assimilated into the Swiss culture.

The government, law, whatever you want to call it is on our side, are here to help and support us. I haven't felt like I've experienced any discrimination because I am a foreigner. And anyone who thinks that because your marriage has failed that means you have to leave the country is wrong. The government is not going to force us to leave and leave without our children, nor are they going to force us to leave with the children and have them taken away from the Swiss parent. Perhaps this depends on what kind of permit you have.

I also fought, and won, my landlord on a rent increase in August because he didn't have the grounds or good, legal reason to increase it. I also felt the people deciding were there to help and support me. It can be daunting to go through these processes in a foreign country in a foreign language but it is worth doing your homework and fighting for your rights, because again, we do have them!
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