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Old 13.04.2021, 08:28
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Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Hi everyone, I have tried to find some information on this topic in the forum and online but I am still quite unclear on some details, so before I contact a lawyer I would like to ask whether anyone has any experience or knowledge.

My wife and are living in Switzerland (on a B permit) and we have two children 5 & 3 years old. We have some troubles which I would like to work on via counseling, but my wife sees that as a waste of money (wait until she hears how much a lawyer costs...). Anyway, she told me yesterday that she would apply for separation, which will as far as I understand initiate the two year period prior to filling for divorce (Needless to say it is not mutual). My question, which I have not found an answer to is this:

If she leaves (without the children), what are my rights as a father regarding her access/decision making etc. to the children in this two year period? Will she just have a key to my house and come and go as she pleases? I really don't know how this would work.

I would love to have sole custody. I also think it would be better for the children based on her behavior (not physically violent, more psychological), but I am aware that this is unlikely and will be decided after divorce is final. But what happens in the two year period of separation?

Thanks in advance toi anyone who might take the time to answer!
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:02
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

I'm sorry to hear about this. Unfortunately, I cannot directly answer your question as I don't know the specific legal aspects. Just some thoughts/insights that may or may not help.

Last I checked, about 80% of divorce proceedings in this country are initiated by women. The law has favoured the mother both financially and in terms of custody in the past but there has been some movement against the latter going to the mother by default. Asking for sole custody will likely result in a more unpleasant situation than it needs to be and only entertained by the court if there is reason to believe the children would be at risk if custody is shared.

You mention psychological issues - do you have any reason to believe that these may exacerbated by the separation? Even if one is the one choosing to leave, it doesn't make it easier if there are underlying problems. No need to answer here, as I would also tread carefully mentioning too much that could possibly be seen as violating her privacy, just something to consider.
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:07
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

As painful as it might be you really need to sit down with her and discuss what her (and your) expectations are. Being prepared for this with your questions pre-prepared. Writing a note detailing what you agree on, and disagree on will be helpful in the future.

She remains the children’s mother and will have a role there, she likely remains a part owner of your home.

Without more information, such as is her B permit tied to you, or yours to her’s it is difficult to comment further.

Talk to her then decide if you need a lawyer.
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:15
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

If she is not open to counselling, try to offer it differently - look for a pre-separation mediation services. They cost less and sometimes are free (cantonal, town-hall organized or by church). You can get the info at your town-hall, dept of family/social. Don't forget that all you and your ex need to prioritize are your children's rights. Your children have the right to growing up with an access to both of their parents.

Last edited by MusicChick; 13.04.2021 at 10:32.
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:16
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Thanks for your replies. Yes it definitely is not easy. Especially knowing that I am going into a process that traditionally favors the mother by default.

@bowlie, we don't own a house, we are renting. So even there, there is a question whether I then pay rent myself? Am I allowed to move to an apartment I can better afford just on my salary?

I understand that the custody question is something that will not come until she actually files for divorce. So that is something I have to deal with in over two years time and I don't know how things will be by then. I am quite confused as to what happens/what is allowed to happen in this "intermediate" period.
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:29
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Haven’t really read the thread in question but I think you’ll find some info regarding the intermediate period before reconciliation or divorce here
https://www.englishforum.ch/family-m...does-mean.html
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:54
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Roughly speaking, because it's now a while since I went through this and things change...

At any time either of you can petition for a divorce.. that will then sort out money, child care (custody is just a legal position, now generally split 50/50 and not the same as 'visitation' i.e. the actual time stipulated of who gets which kids when) etc.

If, either of you doesn't want a divorce one of you can ask to be legally separated for up to 2 years before the divorce proceedings can start, typically meaning one of you moves to another address.

The separation period agreement will stipulate who looks after the kids and when. If you can't agree on those terms it will be settled by a court.

During a separation your incomes are combined and split 50/50 (unless either's costs are widely different for legitimate reasons) but, generally, your capital assets aren't split up. The divorce settlement will sort out asset splits and ongoing payments.

While you're neither in a legally binding separation or divorce agreement it's up to you two what you do. But your kids live at 'your' address.. if she moves out, they still live there.. until there's a legal separation.

Also.. don't move out of your place ! You don't have to and even though it'll be tougher financially you can point to your reduced net income when it comes to splitting up what's available.

Good luck and .. go see a lawyer.. she might have already.
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Old 13.04.2021, 09:57
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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Hi everyone, I have tried to find some information on this topic in the forum and online but I am still quite unclear on some details, so before I contact a lawyer I would like to ask whether anyone has any experience or knowledge.

My wife and are living in Switzerland (on a B permit) and we have two children 5 & 3 years old. We have some troubles which I would like to work on via counseling, but my wife sees that as a waste of money (wait until she hears how much a lawyer costs...). Anyway, she told me yesterday that she would apply for separation, which will as far as I understand initiate the two year period prior to filling for divorce (Needless to say it is not mutual). My question, which I have not found an answer to is this:

If she leaves (without the children), what are my rights as a father regarding her access/decision making etc. to the children in this two year period? Will she just have a key to my house and come and go as she pleases? I really don't know how this would work.

I would love to have sole custody. I also think it would be better for the children based on her behavior (not physically violent, more psychological), but I am aware that this is unlikely and will be decided after divorce is final. But what happens in the two year period of separation?

Thanks in advance toi anyone who might take the time to answer!
If you want your wife to really go bat crap crazy and screw you for all you are worth, without any hope of rational agreements... then sure, try and take her kids away from her. The moment you try and do this you had better be damn sure that you will get them and that you have good reason to ask for it, because otherwise you will draw a big target on your back and make life even more difficult for yourself. I think anyone with even a passing knowledge of psychology knows how protective a mother can get of their children, so triggering that level of survival instinct may not be wise.

It really sounds like for whatever reasons she does not love you any more and is not happy being married to you, so your best hope is likely to be as reasonable as humanly possible, do not allow things to get overly bitter and secure the best deal you can for future financial support and access to the kids.

Your future with an ex-wife and two young children is going to involve paying out a significant portion of your salary for many years to keep them living well until the kids are old enough, while you work yourself to the bone. If you have an average salary this is likely going to make you miserable, but if you are a very high earner then you may still be comfortable.

Good luck and remember that the tone you set at the beginning of this process will likely affect how it proceeds. Going in heavy-handed is likely not in your interests, as in the eyes of the law she holds most of the cards.
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Old 13.04.2021, 10:11
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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You mention psychological issues - do you have any reason to believe that these may exacerbated by the separation?
They may improve. One side of the story and all that - maybe they are caused by a husband that refuses to do his share of "life's chores", hence wanting a divorce
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Old 13.04.2021, 10:17
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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They may improve. One side of the story and all that - maybe they are caused by a husband that refuses to do his share of "life's chores", hence wanting a divorce
Thanks for the valuable input. I'm actually the only one doing any kind of working/chores/looking after the children etc. not that it's any of your business or in any way helpful to the initial question I posed.
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Old 13.04.2021, 10:27
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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If you want your wife to really go bat crap crazy and screw you for all you are worth, without any hope of rational agreements... then sure, try and take her kids away from her. The moment you try and do this you had better be damn sure that you will get them and that you have good reason to ask for it, because otherwise you will draw a big target on your back and make life even more difficult for yourself. I think anyone with even a passing knowledge of psychology knows how protective a mother can get of their children, so triggering that level of survival instinct may not be wise.

It really sounds like for whatever reasons she does not love you any more and is not happy being married to you, so your best hope is likely to be as reasonable as humanly possible, do not allow things to get overly bitter and secure the best deal you can for future financial support and access to the kids.

Your future with an ex-wife and two young children is going to involve paying out a significant portion of your salary for many years to keep them living well until the kids are old enough, while you work yourself to the bone. If you have an average salary this is likely going to make you miserable, but if you are a very high earner then you may still be comfortable.

Good luck and remember that the tone you set at the beginning of this process will likely affect how it proceeds. Going in heavy-handed is likely not in your interests, as in the eyes of the law she holds most of the cards.
Great post, and a good reason why no sane man would get married these days given that women instigate close to 80% of divorces!
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Old 13.04.2021, 10:31
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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Thanks for the valuable input. I'm actually the only one doing any kind of working/chores/looking after the children etc. not that it's any of your business or in any way helpful to the initial question I posed.
Threads like this are annoying.. you didn't ask 'why' things happened.. you just want to know 'what might' happen. But the forum is full of wanna be agony aunts. Ignore them.
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Old 13.04.2021, 11:33
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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Threads like this are annoying.. you didn't ask 'why' things happened.. you just want to know 'what might' happen. But the forum is full of wanna be agony aunts. Ignore them.
I don’t think it’s totally fair to label someone as having psychological issues. It puts people against the wife with only the husbands side of the story. Half the bloody world has psychological issues - it shouldn’t be used in a demeaning way!
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Old 13.04.2021, 11:40
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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It puts people against the wife with only the husbands side of the story.
Who said I was interested in what you think about me or my wife, or whether you put me or her against each other. This was a post asking for actual advice on what could happen. If you want to make judgments keep them to yourself please.
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Old 13.04.2021, 12:10
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Hi Pantaha

Sorry you are going through this. I did too at a rather young age (28). So i know how utterly miserable you must be.

First thing to say is, life will get better again, quite probably better than it ever was before.

Secondly, and following on from the first point. You will remain in constant pain as long as this drags out. It is better both for your mental wellness and your finances to divorce ASAP if she is happy too. I know it's hard, but trust me it's for the best.

Start by working out what she wants - is she happy to leave the kids to you and just come for the occasional visit? It sounds like she is running from the whole family and not just you. Perhaps negotiate that she doesn't need to financially support them if she runs provided she doesn't fight you getting sole custody.

Best of luck - thinking of you.
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Old 13.04.2021, 12:23
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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I understand that the custody question is something that will not come until she actually files for divorce. So that is something I have to deal with in over two years time and I don't know how things will be by then. I am quite confused as to what happens/what is allowed to happen in this "intermediate" period.
With my previous post, I had hoped to point out (w/o any judgement) that unless you and your wife reach a working solution by yourselves, there are lots of issues you have to look into quickly. Now. These questions don’t just come up once a divorce has been filed.
Suggest you stop sniping at perhaps unsympathetic comments and google “Eheschutz” – as others have said, sole custody is extremely unlikely and not necessarily in the kids’ interest.
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Old 13.04.2021, 13:08
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

Before you talk to her, talk to a very good lawyer. You don't have to tell your wife you've taken a lawyer yet, but if they are appraised of the situation and she does take a lawyer, you'll be ready to fire back immediately.

Follow their advice to the letter and though it may cost you a couple of thousand it will be more than worth it in the long run.

A very good lawyer of the standing of Kellerhals Carrard, Walder Wyss, Bar and Karrer etc will cost you in the region of CHF 400 - 500 an hour but worth every penny.
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Old 13.04.2021, 13:21
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

I think this has been said before on the forum, but lawyers are very expensive and you'll want to keep your time with your lawyer focussed on his or her expertise and not on your feelings, not that your feelings aren't valid.

You'll be better off financially if you seperate your discussions about your feelings about the seperation and divorce with your legal discussions.

A psychotherapist costs something around 200 ChF per hour (can also be covered by insurance) and a lawyer costs something like 350 - 450 per hour.
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Old 13.04.2021, 13:29
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

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Before you talk to her, talk to a very good lawyer. You don't have to tell your wife you've taken a lawyer yet, but if they are appraised of the situation and she does take a lawyer, you'll be ready to fire back immediately.

Follow their advice to the letter and though it may cost you a couple of thousand it will be more than worth it in the long run.

A very good lawyer of the standing of Kellerhals Carrard, Walder Wyss, Bar and Karrer etc will cost you in the region of CHF 400 - 500 an hour but worth every penny.
Before talking to a lawyer, if I were the OP I would prepare ALL of the details of my family situation including details of the finances/assets involved. Better to go to a lawyer with all of the information they need to be up and running quickly with no wasted time.
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Old 13.04.2021, 13:39
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Re: Mother leaving the marriage - What are my rights as a father?

I don't have any legal advice to share, I just want to point out one thing to keep in mind.

If you now are aware of negative psychological impact of your wife towards your kids, it's of the utmost imperative to separate and divorce ASAP and by saying that she doesn't want mediation, she's doing you all a big favour, grab it. Do not force 'saving', you risk your kids to be collateral damage. Clean and fast separation and maintaining cordial relationship considering kids is the best thing that you both can aim for.

Psychological violence is violence, and if you wonder what form it can take, just its verbal form, check here: http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/verbal_abuse.html

I'm leaving this because people are not aware of the damage that words can make, and also, we tend to downplay things a lot. So if you're at the position to write online that there are some psychological issues, take that seriously, and I'd also advise finding a therapist (for yourself, and when it starts, another one for kids as well) so that you can sort things out emotionally. No friend can substitute a good therapist, since friends are not objective.

Mental health of all involved should come first, legal matters are simple in comparison to emotional turmoil.

I wish you all good luck and as much peaceful process as it's possible.
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