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Old 31.03.2020, 22:24
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Divorce

Hi everybody,

I am writing to ask for legal advice on my friend's divorce.
My friend has been married from 2012 to a Swiss man and she has got the Swiss Pass since end of 2018. Her husband had one kid with his previous girlfriend (no marriage). Some years ago he wished to set up his own business abroad and lured her to sign the papers for him to get his retirement money out of the account for it. He currently lives and works abroad for his own startup and has another kid with his affair there while still married to her. He wants now to divorce to get married to the foreign woman. My friend and her husband dont have children together and she is a working woman and finance herself but she does not earn much. He deregistered already in Switzerland. So my questions are:
1. How would the cost for divorce be paid in this case?
2. Would she loose her Pass? If yes, then does she move back to C or what is the worst case?
3. What are her rights and obligations during and after divorce?
4. I heard that the person who earns more in the marriage has to support the other financially after divorce. Is that true?
5. Could she require anything from the business or a "compensation"?
6. Any suggestion of getting free official legal advice / legal help from any office / goverment in Zürich? As she does not earn much as mentioned above.

Many thanks guys, and stay healthy.
Vich
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Old 31.03.2020, 22:41
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Re: Divorce

Lots of questions for a friend
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  #3  
Old 31.03.2020, 22:54
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Re: Divorce

https://www.ch.ch/en/divorce/

My guess is she might lose the passport and possibly the permit as well. I know for C permits they usually ask if you plan to stay married, but not sure about the nationality side.

Did he move out before she got citizenship? Because part of the requirements for a family reunification permit is that you live together. Not the case here it seems.
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Old 31.03.2020, 23:25
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Re: Divorce

You might also find information here:
http://binational.ch/

The information on that website is better in some languages than in others.
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Old 31.03.2020, 23:27
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Re: Divorce

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/sd/de/i.../infodona.html
Infodona is an advice centre for migrants.

Ordinarily one can go there, but during the Corona crisis they're available by phone or mail. Scroll down to see a list of languages in which they offer support.
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Old 31.03.2020, 23:44
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Re: Divorce

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1. How would the cost for divorce be paid in this case?
Commonly, the costs of the divorce are shared 50/50 by both parties.
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2. Would she loose her Pass? If yes, then does she move back to C or what is the worst case?
The only reason she might lose her Swiss nationality would be if the authorities ruled that it had been "obtained by using false information or by concealing material facts". That is all set out here:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...index.html#a36
If the authorities can prove such deceit, then it is highly unlikely that she would be allowed to stay in Switzerland at all. If she has not participated in any such falsifications, she remains Swiss and has nothing to fear about her citizenship.
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3. What are her rights and obligations during and after divorce?
For the citizenship part, see above. For the rest, she then has an obligation to society to do her best to continue to be self-supporting, and she must pay her own taxes and expenses. Once the divorce is finalised, she is also free to marry again, should she choose to. If the Decree of Divorce rules that she must pay him support, that is her obligation. If the Decree of Divorce rules that he must pay her support, then that is her right. However, see point 4.
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4. I heard that the person who earns more in the marriage has to support the other financially after divorce. Is that true?
This used to be the case. However, now it is usually true only when there are common children involved, so not in your friend's case. It can also be true if the marriage has lasted for a long time, and if the persons are aged over... I think it is 45, and if one of them has stayed at home for many years raising the children, while the other earned. See also a sublink of what Medea posted above: https://www.ch.ch/en/divorce-and-mai...contributions/
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5. Could she require anything from the business or a "compensation"?
No, I don't think so.
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6. Any suggestion of getting free official legal advice / legal help from any office / goverment in Zürich? As she does not earn much as mentioned above.
See links in the posts above.

Last edited by doropfiz; 01.04.2020 at 04:34.
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Old 31.03.2020, 23:58
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Re: Divorce

This sets out that the Court deciding on the divorce can be in the domicile of either party.
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...-ni1-ni3-ni5-3

Your friend should investigate something about the laws of the country in which her husband now lives.

Switzerland does, in general, accept documents from abroad, but some countries have special regulations for this which do not suffice for Swiss marital law. In such a case, what is considered a "divorce" in another country will not necessarily be recognised as a divorce here. So if she wishes to continue to live in Switerland, it may be better for her to have a Swiss Court decide, because the law about what counts as being married, or as divorced, is very clear here.
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Old 01.04.2020, 00:02
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Re: Divorce

Post-marital maintenance (financial support) is regulated here:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...ndex.html#a125

Your friend should, as part of her healthy expectation management, remember that even if a Court does award her support by her ex-husband, if he is living abroad, and is someone who already tricked her once, then he is less likely to actually honour the Court decree.
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Old 01.04.2020, 00:14
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Re: Divorce

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Her husband had one kid with his previous girlfriend (no marriage).
Was this child raised by your friend, and/or is this child now living with your friend? If yes, then what I wrote above, about maintenance (financial support) will, naturally, be different.
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Old 01.04.2020, 00:18
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Re: Divorce

With regard to the affair of the man, please know that in Switzerland, there is no legal concept of "blame" or "good character" to a divorce. Therefore, the fact that he had children with other women before, during or after living together with and being married to your friend, is of no legal relevance. His good or bad behaviour, in terms of any moral standard about sexuality and betrayal, does not influence the legal or financial separation and divorce.

However, this part is central:
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Some years ago he wished to set up his own business abroad and lured her to sign the papers for him to get his retirement money out of the account for it. He currently lives and works abroad ....He deregistered already in Switzerland.
If she herself can be shown by the authorities to have been involved in some sort of trickery or illegal activities, then she is more likely to lose her citizenship.

Therefore, she has to know very clearly whether she did or did not, do anything that was not correct, such that - if the Swiss authorities had known about it - they would not have awarded her Swiss citizenship. This will include the domicile of both, and their living together.

When you say "some years ago", you need to know when the money left the country, and when the husband left the country. The part that would be wrong is if he and she pretended to be living together in Switzerland (so that she could put in her application for Swiss citizenship) when he was, in fact, already gone.

If she is the victim of having been persuaded to sign that his pension money was released for a business, but has otherwise done nothing wrong (no lies to the authorities about living together with her husband, up until the time of her being awarded citizenship), then the main thing that is to her disadvantage now is that there is no retirement money to divide up (which is usually done in a divorce).

However, she herself might have a retirement fund, and if he is nasty, he might try to lay claim on half of that. And she would have to ask a lawyer whether there is any way for her to prevent that, perhaps by explaining that he already took his retirement money with him when he left.

Last edited by doropfiz; 01.04.2020 at 04:37.
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Old 01.04.2020, 09:04
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Re: Divorce

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there is no retirement money to divide up (which is usually done in a divorce).

However, she herself might have a retirement fund, and if he is nasty, he might try to lay claim on half of that.
It has nothing to do with being nasty, the court will divide both, but only for the years married.

Tom
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Old 01.04.2020, 10:19
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Re: Divorce

In my experience it's a fairly fair process in Switzerland. But as other EFers have pointed out, if the husband is living abroad, he could technically file for divorce in his country of now residence. It is worth to check out which country would be favourable.

In Switzerland the costs of the divorce are normally split between both parties equally.

Typically in Switzerland the courts would look at the assets accrued during the marriage in determining any financial support. Also if either party is supporting children who they have had together (which doesn't seem to be relevant in this case from what you've said).

I don't quite understand the bit about the retirement money. If your friend's husband left Switzerland to a non EU country, he could release his pension fund. It sounds from what you have said that you can also release it to invest in a company, which I didn't know you could do. I didn't think it was possible to sign a waiver to release a part of a partner's pension before divorce. (Sorry I can't think of a more elegant way of putting that). For example, in my personal experience, my husband moved away from Switzerland to a non EU country, released his pension into a dedicated, but protected, savings account, and was only able to access that money (to invest in something else) upon our divorce.

For the financial support, if the divorce is in Switzerland, it depends on the accrued assets during the marriage (can be anything - pension, house value, shares, money in bank accounts). If for example your friend's pension contributions were larger than her husbands during her marriage (from the Big Day itself right up until date of requesting the divorce), he would be able to claim part of that. But he could state that he does not wish for that pension money during the divorce process.

If your friend and her husband can use the same lawyer and come to agreed terms together, then that will be cheaper in legal costs of course.

I hope this helps a little.
IP
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Old 01.04.2020, 11:59
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Re: Divorce

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Lots of questions for a friend
Must have been lurking for a while here and got the absolutely fair impression that the pack of wolves would be at her throat in an instant had she posted it in her "name".....
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Old 01.04.2020, 13:28
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Re: Divorce

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It has nothing to do with being nasty, the court will divide both, but only for the years married.

Tom
Yes, you're right, Tom. For a moment there I deviated from the rational to the emotional, feeling that he might reasonably, or more fairly, elect to forego claiming his half of her pension money, since he has already taken all of his pension money leaving her none. But we don't know all the details, and you are definitely right in this being the law.
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Old 01.04.2020, 14:04
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Re: Divorce

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If she herself can be shown by the authorities to have been involved in some sort of trickery or illegal activities, then she is more likely to lose her citizenship.

Therefore, she has to know very clearly whether she did or did not, do anything that was not correct, such that - if the Swiss authorities had known about it - they would not have awarded her Swiss citizenship. This will include the domicile of both, and their living together.

When you say "some years ago", you need to know when the money left the country, and when the husband left the country. The part that would be wrong is if he and she pretended to be living together in Switzerland (so that she could put in her application for Swiss citizenship) when he was, in fact, already gone.

If she is the victim of having been persuaded to sign that his pension money was released for a business, but has otherwise done nothing wrong (no lies to the authorities about living together with her husband, up until the time of her being awarded citizenship), then the main thing that is to her disadvantage now is that there is no retirement money to divide up (which is usually done in a divorce).

However, she herself might have a retirement fund, and if he is nasty, he might try to lay claim on half of that. And she would have to ask a lawyer whether there is any way for her to prevent that, perhaps by explaining that he already took his retirement money with him when he left.

I read it as meaning was that he "strongly persuaded" her, presumably pushing emotional buttons/engaging in emotional blackmail. But it's good for future readers that you've set out the other possible scenario too
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Old 01.04.2020, 14:06
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Re: Divorce

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I read it as meaning was that he "strongly persuaded" her, presumably pushing emotional buttons/engaging in emotional blackmail.
I didn't.

He probably just said "please sign this".

Tom
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Old 01.04.2020, 18:19
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Re: Divorce

Thanks a lot for real valuable Info
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Old 01.04.2020, 18:20
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Re: Divorce

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Commonly, the costs of the divorce are shared 50/50 by both parties.
The only reason she might lose her Swiss nationality would be if the authorities ruled that it had been "obtained by using false information or by concealing material facts". That is all set out here:
https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...index.html#a36
If the authorities can prove such deceit, then it is highly unlikely that she would be allowed to stay in Switzerland at all. If she has not participated in any such falsifications, she remains Swiss and has nothing to fear about her citizenship.
For the citizenship part, see above. For the rest, she then has an obligation to society to do her best to continue to be self-supporting, and she must pay her own taxes and expenses. Once the divorce is finalised, she is also free to marry again, should she choose to. If the Decree of Divorce rules that she must pay him support, that is her obligation. If the Decree of Divorce rules that he must pay her support, then that is her right. However, see point 4.
This used to be the case. However, now it is usually true only when there are common children involved, so not in your friend's case. It can also be true if the marriage has lasted for a long time, and if the persons are aged over... I think it is 45, and if one of them has stayed at home for many years raising the children, while the other earned. See also a sublink of what Medea posted above: https://www.ch.ch/en/divorce-and-mai...contributions/
No, I don't think so.
See links in the posts above.
Thanks a lot for the detail in info.
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