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Old 27.03.2012, 08:32
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Urgent divorce help

hello

i am currently residing in australia, i am an australian citizen. the ex is living in the region of Vaud, and he is also an australian citizen. We got married in Australia before moving to Switzerland. We have been separated now for 2 years and I need to finalize this divorce. I need to serve the documents on the ex, but the documents need to be witnessed and signed by a person that will be recognized within the australian judicial system.

The problem is that any authorized persons are in the Australian Embassy in Geneva and the ex wont drive all that way to do it. Can someone please help? Nerves are shot trying to get this divorced finalized and I dont know what else to do. Can someone please offer any alternatives as to how I can get documents witnessed?
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Old 27.03.2012, 09:30
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Can you tell us what the requirements are for the documents to be witnessed?

Ie. must it be an "official" or can it be any Australian citizen? Must the witness know the person? Have you asked the Embassy and/or the Court what can be done when the person is not able/willing to travel to get to an Embassy (ie do they have officially deputised "process servers" who can also act as witnesses?)

If, by some miracle, you found a way of getting these papers to your ex, would this person actually sign them or is their refusal to travel to Geneva more a symptom of their wish to stall these proceedings (for what ever reason)?

I am not sure anyone can help unless they have been in the exact same situation or unless you can get more detailed information from the court as to what exactly they do need.

Try and get some more detailed information then maybe someone might have a bright idea. I do sympathise though. Any divorce is difficult but when you are continents apart, it adds that extra dimension of difficulty.
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Old 27.03.2012, 09:51
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Usually there are agreements between countries to recognise local officials as competent. For example, a licensed Notar in Switzerland, a Swiss magistrate or some other official person. I'm sure the court wouldn't turn down Simonetta Sommaruga, minister for justice, if you see what I mean.

Talk to the court and suggest that a local alternative might be a good idea.
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Old 27.03.2012, 09:58
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Re: Urgent divorce help

How would I go about finding a licenced Notar in the canton of Vaud?
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:02
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Notary in Lausanne (preferably English speaking)

English speaking notary public in Lausanne for certificat de celibat

http://www.swisnot.ch/en/swisnot-firms.html

Google search
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:04
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Sounds like he is trying to avoid it like the plague. Unless he lives in the far reaches of Vaud, driving to Geneva is not a big deal. If around Lausanne, the train will get here in 33 minutes.

That being said, won't the Apostille process work for divorce papers. Australia and Switzerland are signatories. See more here or inquire at Australian embassy perhaps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostille_convention
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:04
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Re: Urgent divorce help

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How would I go about finding a licenced Notar in the canton of Vaud?
http://www.notaires.ch/annuaire/vaud.html
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:17
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Thanks so much for all your responses. I will ask a lawyer tomorrow regarding using a licenced swiss Notary and see which way my luck turns.

Runningdeer - I tried to read up on all that info re Apostille convention but am in a really fragile mental state for any of it to be absorbed and comprehended.
I have already enquired with the australian embassy in Geneva but they were of no help, and just referred me to law firms in Vaud that want me to pay 3000 euros upfront to have these papers served.
What is this Apostille convention in laymans terms?
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:31
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Contact a legal firm in Vaud and ask them about a process server services to serve the petition and related papers ( consent / contested ). Do not expect it to be cheap especially if he will avoid service.

Your Australian lawyer(s) might be able to advise if an equivalent to an Affidavit of Service is required as proof of service.

Options for international service:

http://processservers-ci.com.au/Divo...ssServers.html
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:51
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Re: Urgent divorce help

In respect to that last link:

We can process serve your divorce documents in any country, provided that country does not consider service of process by a private agent from the originating countries court jurisdiction to be a breach of its sovereignty or deemed illegal.

This is the problem apparently with Switzerland. I cant do it that way. :-(
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:56
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Re: Urgent divorce help

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...What is this Apostille convention in laymans terms?
An apostille is an internationally recognized certification of a document. For example, upon notarization of the signature on a document, it can be further certified via apostille, and will be recognized by public officials in those countries that subscribe to the convention.

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...the documents need to be witnessed and signed by a person that will be recognized within the australian judicial system...
A (preferably local) lawyer with some experience in executing divorce internationally would know (or have the means to find out) how best to get legal papers served and delivery certified internationally. I hope I'm wrong, but with an uncooperative ex, I would not expect it to be a quick or inexpensive process, especially in Switzerland.
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Old 27.03.2012, 11:09
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Thanks Texaner thats really useful to know.

So this means then that I can get it notarized by a local Notary in Vaud?
When you say further certified via apostille, what does this mean?

The thing is, he can be uncooperative all he wants, I have applied for divorce as a sole applicant. All I need is the acknowledgement of service signed by him, and if he refuses to do that, then the person who served the documents must fill out the affidavit of service saying they made an attempt to serve the documents, and THEN sign this document and have it witnessed by a notary, or whoever is deemed authorized to do so, so that the Aus courts approve.

This is why I can avoid swiss lawyers and get a friend in switzerland to serve the papers on him (or so I have been advised). It just comes down to WHO can witness the affidavit of service IF the ex refuses to sign...

I HOPE I am right with this..
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Old 27.03.2012, 11:32
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Re: Urgent divorce help

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So this means then that I can get it notarized by a local Notary in Vaud?
When you say further certified via apostille, what does this mean?...
No, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough: Both notarizing of a document and the apostille certification in Vaud would require the presence of the signing party in Vaud. The notarization is an adequate certification for local/Swiss purposes (and some other countries, I believe), while the apostille elevates it to a status of international recognition. In any case, the process takes place in person.

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...This is why I can avoid swiss lawyers and get a friend in switzerland to serve the papers on him (or so I have been advised). It just comes down to WHO can witness the affidavit of service IF the ex refuses to sign...
In that case, yes, I believe your friend can take the affidavit to a Swiss notariat (ideally a cantonal official) and execute both the notarized signature and the apostille in one sitting. I assume you're sure the Aus courts will recognize your friend as adequate as the serving party in the first place, though maybe they won't care, if s/he's just returning the affidavit.
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Old 27.03.2012, 11:46
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Yes that I understand, I know that the notary will need to witness my friend signing the affidavit in person. I just want to make sure, under this Apostille convention, that it will get accepted in the courts here, and also that I at least have this option in doing so without the expense of a lawyer. I'll have to bring this up to my lawyer tomorrow, see what he says about it. Fingers crossed, oh god fingers are crossed.

I moved overseas and left a fantastic career in finance so that the ex could pursue his career, and when I returned I couldn't get back to the same position I was in with my old company, and have been left in a position now where the pay aint that great and prospects of promotion are dire - hence why I am trying to seek out all other avenues before employing a lawyer.

I am assuming that both notarization and apostille can be done by the same person?
The notaries provided in this thread, are they worth giving a call and asking the same questions?
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Old 27.03.2012, 11:56
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Sounds like a shitty situation, sorry.

Whilst you should probably check with an Australian lawyer informally, Apostilles are recognized as proper legalization of the document in Australia.

Incidentally, I'm not at all sure the signatory needs to be present for the apostille to be affixed - the apostille just confirms that the notarization is a valid Swiss notarization.

Still, both should be possible at the same time for about CHF150 in a Kantonal office.
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Old 27.03.2012, 12:08
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Re: Urgent divorce help

OK I just spoke with Dr. Didier Kohli's office in Lausanne and the process is just that what you described - documents will need to be taken in and signed by the Notary, who then sends off the documents to another organisation to issue the Apostille - as Dr Kohli's signature needs to be confirmed this way, and then the documents get posted back to me. Can't be done in the same office unfortunately! BUT THANK GOD for this Apostille convention!!!
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Old 27.03.2012, 12:17
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Re: Urgent divorce help

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Sounds like a shitty situation, sorry.

Whilst you should probably check with an Australian lawyer informally, Apostilles are recognized as proper legalization of the document in Australia.

Incidentally, I'm not at all sure the signatory needs to be present for the apostille to be affixed - the apostille just confirms that the notarization is a valid Swiss notarization.

Still, both should be possible at the same time for about CHF150 in a Kantonal office.
Yes, completely shit. Its been going on for 2 whole damn years because of the misinformation I have received so far and I am completely wiped out.

No, my ex doesn't need to be present, thats the great thing with sole applicant divorce. My friend can serve the documents, ex just needs to sign the acknowledgement of service. Or doesnt have to.
The friend serving the ex, needs to sign an affidavit stating that he served the document - and thats what requires the notary. SO this is where I am tying the loose ends. Ex can scrunch the papers up and throw them in the bin - doesn't need to sign, but I need the affidavit signed, witnessed, sealed and delivered back to me for any sort of proceeding.
I just got told the Notary fee is 50CHF so looks like 200CHFs. More than happy to pay that to get a thorn out of my side.

I cant thank you all enough for the replies - it has been a huge amount of help and has lifted the pressure off a bit. The more info that I get the better I can equip myself and my lawyer when I do face the courts.
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Old 27.03.2012, 12:28
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Re: Urgent divorce help

All the best - hope it will be a brief process.
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Old 21.07.2012, 01:37
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Re: Urgent divorce help

Have you managed to sort anything? I know when I had to serve international divorce papers on an ex supposedly residing in Switzerland he moved continually to avoid them..but what was important in the canton of residence was that inorder for the swiss authorities to recognise the overseas divorce papers (important if you have joint assets in Switzerland or need maintenance) they had to be translated into German and served by a swiss official. Just check the details of your situation from Australia etc. Good Luck though.
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