1.1 What are the grounds of jurisdiction for divorce proceedings? For example, residence, nationality, domicile, etc.?
When it comes to domestic cases, the Courts at the domicile of either spouse has mandatory jurisdiction over the divorce action, as well as application for interim measures.
When it comes to international cases, the situation differs depending on the country of domicile of both spouses.
If both spouses are domiciled in Switzerland, competency lies with the Swiss Courts at the defendant's domicile or the Swiss Courts at the plaintiff's domicile if he/she is a Swiss citizen or has resided in Switzerland for at least one year.
In case the spouses are not domiciled in Switzerland and if one of them is a Swiss citizen, the Courts at the place of Swiss citizenship have jurisdiction over the action if the said action cannot be brought at the domicile of one of the spouses or if it is unreasonable to require such.
1.2 What are the grounds for a divorce? For example, is there a required period of separation, can the parties have an uncontested divorce?
In Switzerland, three different paths might be followed in order to divorce.
First, spouses can jointly request divorce and either submit to the judge (i) a comprehensive agreement on the divorce consequences (parental rights, liquidation of the matrimonial regime, child and spousal maintenance, division of the pension rights), or (ii) a partial agreement containing elements on which they fully agree. The judge is in charge of endorsing the agreement and decide matters on which spouses cannot agree.
Second, one spouse may independently petition for divorce if, at the time of filing the petition, the spouses have lived apart for at least two years. The separation may have been freely consented to by the spouses or imposed by the circumstances.
Finally, one spouse may independently petition for divorce if the marriage has irretrievably broken down for compelling reasons for which he/she is not responsible. It must be proven that it would be considered abusive to force the requesting spouse to maintain the marriage until the end of the two-year period mentioned above.
1.3 In the case of an uncontested divorce, do the parties need to attend court and is it possible to have a "private" divorce, i.e. without any court involvement?
No. Swiss law imposes a mandatory submission of any comprehensive or partial agreement to the judge, who has to endorse the latter through a divorce judgment after checking whether the agreement really is the product of free will and careful reflection from both spouses.
The judge will take a particular look at the spouses' arrangement on children, in order to ensure that the well-being of the latter is fully respected.
1.4 What is the procedure and timescale for a divorce?
The procedure depends on the path selected in order to divorce, as detailed at question 1.2.
The timescale for a divorce highly depends on the selected path and the Courts' availabilities. As a mere indication, a divorce by joint request with a comprehensive agreement might take up to a couple of months; meanwhile a more conflicting divorce might need few years to be fenced off, especially in Geneva.
1.5 Can a divorce be finalised without resolving other associated matters? For example, children and finances.
The Court's decision generally aims to exhaust all matters ancillary to the principle of divorce itself.
However, a clear-cut decision only on the principle of divorce is not something completely excluded under Swiss law. Particularly and subject to a strong motivation, spouses can ask the Court to decide on the termination of their matrimonial regime in different proceedings.
1.6 Are foreign divorces recognised in your jurisdiction? If so, what are the procedural requirements, if any?
Foreign decisions on divorce are normally recognised in Switzerland when handed down in the country of domicile or of habitual residence, or the state of nationality of one of the spouses, or if recognised in one of these countries.
However, a decision rendered in a State of which neither of the spouses or only the plaintiff one is a national can be recognised in Switzerland only where:
- at the time the application was lodged, at least one of the spouses was domiciled or habitually resident in that State and the respondent spouse was not domiciled in Switzerland;
- the defendant spouse has submitted without reservation to the jurisdiction of the foreign Court; or
- the respondent spouse has expressly consented to the recognition of the decision in Switzerland.
To register a divorce pronounced abroad in the Swiss civil status register, the following must be submitted to the competent Swiss civil registry office: (i) the divorce decree with the date on which it takes effect; and (ii) the decision concerning the parental authority of any children of the couple with the date when it takes effect.
1.7 Does your jurisdiction allow separation or nullity proceedings?
Yes, Swiss law allows for both types of proceedings.
First, spouses may petition for a separation action, called a "request for provisional measures to protect the conjugal union". It allows them to live separately for an indefinite period of time and regulates the consequences of the separation such as the children and maintenance contributions questions. Such an institution generally is the first step undertaken by spouses who do not agree on the principle of divorce. Indeed, it will mark the beginning of the two-year separation period required by law in order to unilaterally initiate divorce proceedings (see question 1.2).
Also, spouses (and even public offices) may annul a marriage based on specific grounds provided by law. For instance, marriage annulment can be sought if a spouse has not married of his/her own free will or if one of the spouses was already married at the time of the wedding and the previous marriage had not been dissolved by divorce or by the death of the previous spouse.
1.8 Can divorce proceedings be stayed if there are proceedings in another country?
Yes. If divorce proceedings are pending in another country and are expected to lead to a decision capable of recognition in Switzerland in a reasonable period of time, parallel proceedings in Switzerland will be stayed.
2. FINANCES ON DIVORCE
2.1 What financial orders can the court make on divorce?
As an exemplative list, the Court can pronounce or approve (in case of a comprehensive agreement on these matters, see questions 1.2 and 1.3) the following financial orders: child and spousal maintenance; division of marital assets and spouses' pension rights accumulated during the marriage; and other interim measures (such as freezing the spouses bank accounts, for instance).
2.2 Do matrimonial regimes exist and do they need to be addressed by the court on divorce? Is there a default matrimonial regime?
Yes. In Switzerland, spouses are free to select one of the three marital regimes that fits their best interests, either: (i) the "participation in acquired property" (i.e. spouses equally share each and every asset they acquired during their marriage, which is the "by default" scheme in case the spouses did not express their will on this subject); (ii) the community of property (i.e. spouses share the assets that they decided to qualify as "joint property"); or (iii) the separation of assets (i.e. each spouse is the only owner of his/her assets and assumes his/her debts alone; nothing is shared between the spouses).
2.3 How does the court decide what financial orders to make? What factors are taken into account?
When deciding on the principle and the amount of spousal maintenance, the Court takes into consideration the very circumstances of the case at hand (such as the length of the marriage, the allocation of duties within the marriage, etc.) as well as each spouse's financial capabilities (including the spouses' lifestyle during the marriage, the earning capacity and hypothetical income of each spouse, taking into account their age and their education level and professional experience, etc.).
When deciding on the amount of child support, the Court mainly takes into account the financial capabilities of the parents and the custody arrangements.
When it comes to determining the termination of the matrimonial regime and other financial orders, the Court takes into account, among others, the principles detailed in the answer to question 2.2.
2.4 Is the position different between capital and maintenance orders? If so, how?
As a principle, maintenance contributions are to be paid monthly. Exceptionally, if the parties agree to it and if the judge allows it, a lump sum might replace such a monthly pay-out.
When in the form of a monthly pay-out, the size of the contributions can be re-evaluated based on new and relevant circumstances, while a lump-sum payment does not provide for such flexibility.
2.5 If a couple agrees on financial matters, do they need to have a court order and attend court?
Yes, as detailed in the answer to question 1.3, each and every agreement found between spouses related to the divorce principle and its ancillary matters must always be endorsed by a judge.
2.6 How long can spousal maintenance orders last and are such orders commonplace?
In Switzerland, the "clean-break" principle requires each ex-spouse to independently support him/herself after the divorce. However, a spouse may have to financially support his ex-spouse, depending on a few criteria such as the length and the allocation of duties within the marriage, the age, health and career prospects of the ex-spouse, etc.
There is no clear time limit when it comes to a spousal maintenance. It will all depend on both spouses' financial and personal situations, re-evaluated where appropriate.
2.7 Is the concept of matrimonial property recognised in your jurisdiction?
Yes, see question 2.2.
2.8 Do the courts treat foreign nationals differently on divorce? If so, what are the rules on applicable law? Can the court make orders applying foreign law rather than the law of the jurisdiction?
In the context of an international divorce (i.e. international by reason of domicile or habitual residence of the spouses, nationality(ies) of the spouses, place(s) of the spouses' property), the Swiss judge is obliged to apply the foreign law designated by the relevant private international law rules.
The matters dealt with in the context of such a divorce may be governed by different laws. Basically, a distinction must be made between the divorce pronouncement, and automatically subject to Swiss law and the various ancillary effects of the divorce.
When it comes to the dissolution of the matrimonial property regime, the applicable law is determined based on a cascade approach. Except in the case that the spouses operate a choice of law through a written agreement, it can either be the law of the State in which both spouses are (or were last) domiciled simultaneously, or the law of their common State of citizenship. If there is none, Swiss law will apply.
The law applicable to maintenance obligations between parent and child is determined based on the Hague Convention of October 2nd, 1973 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations.
The question of the spousal pension rights accumulated in Switzerland will exclusively be determined based on Swiss law and by Swiss Courts who have exclusive jurisdiction on the matter (see question 2.11).
2.9 How is the matrimonial home treated on divorce?
The allocation of the family home owned in common by the spouses is settled by the Court based on the conditions of the selected matrimonial regime (see question 2.2).
Generally, in practice, one of the spouses takes over the house and makes a compensatory payment to the other. Mixed solutions are also possible. For instance, one spouse could give up his/her share of the property and in return obtain a usufruct or right to a share of income. The couple might also sell the property and share the profit.
In case of a more conflicting divorce, the judge will allocate the family home to one of the spouses, based on an overall assessment of the concrete needs of each spouse and those of the children.
In case of a lease, and where the interests of the children or one spouse require so, the judge may transfer the rights and obligations under the tenancy agreement to that spouse, provided that this is not inequitable for the other. The previous tenant is jointly and severally liable for the payment of the rent.
2.10 Is the concept of "trusts" recognised in your jurisdiction? If so, how?
To date, Switzerland does not have a trust law as such. Nonetheless, foreign trusts have been recognised domestically since the entry into force of the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and their Recognition in 2007.
Currently, and since June 2018, a group of experts (put in place by the Federal council) has been working towards the creation of a legal framework for the registration of a trust in Swiss law.
2.11 Can financial claims be made following a foreign divorce in your jurisdiction? If so, what are the grounds?
Yes, in case new and relevant facts are invoked by the parties, Swiss Courts have jurisdiction to hear claims that aim at amending or modifying a divorce decree, regardless of the nationality of such decree if (i) the respondent is domiciled in Switzerland, or if (ii) the plaintiff has resided in Switzerland for at least one year or is a Swiss citizen.
Since January 1st, 2017, Swiss Courts have had exclusive jurisdiction on the question of the division of the spouses' pension rights linked to a Swiss occupational benefits institution. Hence, a fortiori, any action aiming at amending or modifying such decision falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Swiss Courts.
2.12 What methods of dispute resolution are available to resolve financial settlement on divorce? E.g. court, mediation, arbitration?
Mediation is being increasingly put under the spotlight when it comes to resolving all kind of disputes in Switzerland, especially divorce cases. Even during proceedings, judges are encouraged to, at any time, attempt to find understanding between the parties.
In case no common ground can be found between the two spouses, a classic Court litigation process then takes place.
3. MARITAL AGREEMENTS
3.1 Are marital agreements (pre- and post-marriage) enforceable? Is the position the same if the agreement is a foreign agreement?
Swiss law allows for prospective spouses to conclude a marital agreement (but does not force them to do so), before or after the wedding. The spouses-to-be may choose, set aside or modify their marital agreement within the limits of the law.
It has to be noted that, when it comes to the matrimonial property regime, it is in the interests of the spouses to conclude such a marital agreement should they want to select the regime they prefer. Otherwise, participation in the acquired property regime, as detailed in the answer to question 2.2, will automatically apply.
At the time of the divorce, the judge will, in any case, evaluate the fairness of such an agreement.
Foreign marital agreements are usually recognised on matrimonial regime questions, but the judge remains free to rule differently on the other points.
3.2 What are the procedural requirements for a marital agreement to be enforceable on divorce?
Basically, the same principles applicable to the endorsement of a comprehensive/partial agreement on divorce and its ancillary matters, as detailed in the answer to question 1.3, apply.
In other words, the judge will investigate in order to establish whether the spouses willingly and carefully concluded the marital agreement and that it is not manifestly unfair, while carefully assessing the children question.
3.3 Can marital agreements cover a spouse's financial claims on divorce, e.g. for maintenance or compensation, or are they limited to the election of the matrimonial property regime? Can they deal with financial claims regarding children, e.g. child maintenance)?
In principle, yes.
Swiss law does not clearly limit the scope of such a marital agreement to the selection of the matrimonial regime. It is not excluded for prospective spouses to agree, in advance, on other financial claims upon divorce. However, it should be kept in mind, as detailed in the answer to question 3.2, that such an agreement is subject to the judge's control, especially concerning children-related matters.
4. COHABITATION AND THE UNMARRIED FAMILY
4.1 Do cohabitants, who do not have children, have financial claims if the couple separate? What are the grounds to make a financial claim?
No. Partners living together without being married or in a registered partnership do not enjoy the same social and legal rights as a married couple.
No specific mutual support claims exist by law based on a cohabitation relationship. The only claims that cohabitants might try to make are the ones that can be based on standard law, meaning simple partnership, co-ownership, etc.
However, cohabitants can conclude an agreement on financial matters in order to ensure some legal rights stemming from their relationship.
4.2 What financial orders can a cohabitant obtain?
At the time of the separation, a cohabitant cannot claim any financial order based on the relationship he/she had with his/her partner, except if cohabitants concluded an agreement on this very matter (see question 4.1).
However, in case ex-partners have any children together, the parent who devoted his/her time to take care of the couple's child(ren) might receive financial support through child maintenance, as detailed in the answer to question 5.1.
4.3 Is there a formal partnership status for cohabitants (for example, civil partnerships, PACS)?
No, there is no such status.
4.4 Are same-sex couples permitted to marry or enter other formal relationships in your jurisdiction?
No; as at the time of writing, same-sex couples are not permitted to marry in Switzerland. Nonetheless, they are able to conclude a registered partnership, which, to a large extent, is quite similar to marriage.
5. CHILD MAINTENANCE
5.1 What financial claims are available to parents on behalf of children within or outside of marriage?
In Switzerland, since both parents are jointly responsible for supporting their child, irrespective of whether they are married, separated or divorced, whichever partner does not live with the child will have to pay child maintenance.
Other than covering the child's needs in terms of food, clothes, etc., the maintenance shall also cover the "subsistence costs" of the custodial parent who dedicated his/her time to take care of the child, depending on the financial capabilities of the parties. Basically, this covers the rent of the custodial parent, health insurance and other general living expenses.
5.2 How is child maintenance calculated and is it administered by the court or an agency?
In case of a conflicting discussion about child maintenance between the parents, the judge will decide on the size of such contributions based on the financial resources of both parents and the financial needs of the child and the custodial parent. The child's assets and income will be taken into account in the calculation. Basically, the idea is to maintain the level of the couple's lifestyle known by the child during the marriage.
In any case, the size of the maintenance contributions shall not exceed the means of the paying parent and drive him/her to the minimum subsistence level, preventing him/her from covering his/her own basic expenses (such as rent, health insurance and general living expenses).
It is to be noted that the Court may order that the child maintenance contributions be automatically increased or decreased in the event of changes in the child's needs, the parents' financial resources or the costs of living.
5.3 For how long is a parent required to pay child maintenance or provide financial support for their children? For example, can a child seek maintenance during university?
In principle, a parent is required to pay child maintenance until the child turns 18 years old.
However, in case the child has not completed his/her education by the time he/she reaches the age of majority and if the education is to be completed within a normal period of time, the parent must, to the extent of their means, continue to provide for his/her maintenance until his/her 25th birthday (approximately). As far as university studies are concerned, education is considered completed with a Master's degree.
It is to be noted that if, as an adult, the child refuses to establish or maintain a minimum of contact with the parent who is to support him/her and if that parent has tried unsuccessfully to establish such contact, that parent may not be required to pay for the child's education.
5.4 Can capital or property orders be made to or for the benefit of a child?
As a principle, child maintenance is to be paid monthly. Exceptionally, if the parties agree and if the judge allows it, which would require solid grounds to be given, a lump sum might replace such a monthly pay-out (see question 2.4).
5.5 Can a child or adult make a financial claim directly against their parents? If so, what factors will the court take into account?
Yes. When minor, to make such a claim, the child must be represented either by his custodial parent or by a curator named by the Court if the child and the circumstances require it. After turning 18, such claim will be subject to the conditions detailed in the answer to question 5.3.
6. CHILDREN – PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AND CUSTODY
6.1 Explain what rights of custody both parents have in your jurisdiction, whether (a) married, or (b) unmarried?
In Switzerland, a distinction is to be made between parental authority and child custody.
Parental authority refers to the various obligations parents have to honour towards their minor children (such as education, financial support, etc.). Whether the parents are married or not, joint parental authority has been the rule in Switzerland since 2014, unless exceptional circumstances require the judge to grant sole parental authority to one parent. In that configuration, parents must take important decisions concerning the child together (such as his/her habitual residence, education, religion, etc.). However, joint parental authority does not mean shared custody.
When it comes to child custody, and in case parents cannot find any agreement on this question, the decision will rest on the shoulders of the judge who will assess the general situation in order to rule on this matter. Among others, and keeping in mind the child's well-being, the judge will take into account the parental capacity of the parents, their places of residence and the distance between them, the child's own preferences, etc., in order to take his/her decision.
6.2 At what age are children considered adults by the court?
At 18 years old.
6.3 What is the duration of children orders (up to the age of 16 or 18 or otherwise)?
In principle, child orders are relevant until he/she reaches 18 years old. However, as detailed in the answer to question 5.3, the judge can order maintenance contributions to last until the child's 25th birthday in case he/she pursues studies.
6.4 What orders can the court make in relation to children? Does the court automatically make orders in relation to child arrangements in the event of divorce?
When it comes to child-related matters, the judge compulsorily acts, evaluates the situation based on the specific circumstances of the case and takes a decision based on the child's well-being.
Even if the parents agreed on the questions of parental authority, custody, maintenance contributions, and visitation rights, the final word goes to the judge.
6.5 What factors does the court consider when making orders in relation to children?
As mentioned in this chapter, the core guiding principle when deciding on questions related to the children (such as custody or parental authority, for instance) is the well-being of the latter. The judge will, in any situation (and even where the parents managed to find a comprehensive agreement these matters), have to assess which solution best meets the child's interests and needs.
6.6 Without court orders, what can parents do unilaterally? For example, can they take a child abroad?
As detailed in the answer to question 6.1, in case of joint parental authority, parents can and commonly have to take important decisions concerning their child (such as defining their place of residence). In case of a conflict on this very matter, the decision will be entrusted to the judge.
In case of sole parental authority, the custodial parent is able to take these decisions alone but must inform the other parent of such decisions in good time.
6.7 Is there a presumption of an equal division of time between separating or divorcing parents?
No. It is a simple consideration that the judge will evaluate in case parental authority is exercised jointly and if the father, mother or child so requests. In any case, Swiss law gives priority to the child's well-being when determining the division of time between divorcing parents.
6.8 Are unmarried parents treated in the same way as married parents when the court makes orders on separation or divorce?
Generally, and other than on the question of child maintenance contributions, unmarried and married parents are far from treated equally with respect to separation and/or divorce proceedings.
When it comes to child maintenance contributions, both married and unmarried parents benefit from the same treatment on merits. The new law that came into force on January 1st, 2017 eliminated unequal treatment among children of unmarried parents and children of married ones through the generalisation of the inclusion of the cost of their care in the calculation of the child maintenance contribution (see question 5.1).
6.9 Is a welfare report prepared by an independent professional or is the decision taken by the Judge alone? If so, does the child meet the Judge?
In principle, it is the responsibility of the judge to evaluate and determine the child's welfare, based on the circumstances of the case.
To this purpose, in divorce or separation proceedings, the judge must hear the child before taking any decision that will potentially impact his/her day-to-day life (such as the attribution of the parental authority, for instance). The judge hears the child alone and takes precious care not to place him/her in a confusing state or a conflict of loyalty towards his/her parents by asking direct questions that he/she cannot answer (such as which parent he/she prefers).
However, such a hearing need not be conducted if the child is young (i.e. under 6 years old), or if the child's personal development or any other good reason prevents the judge from giving any weight to his/her statements.
The judge might consider that it is necessary to delegate the child's hearing to a child specialist (usually the child protection service), which will be in charge of drawing up a report summing up the child's narrative.
6.10 Is there separate representation for children in your jurisdiction and, if so, who would represent them, e.g. a lawyer?
Yes, in specific cases, the child's well-being might command the judge to appoint a representative to represent the child's interests during the proceedings. This is especially the case: (i) where the parents adopt different positions on the fate of the child (such as the allocation of residence or parental responsibility for instance); (ii) where the child protection authority or one of the parents so requests; or (iii) if the Court doubts the merits of the parents' joints conclusions or is considering ordering a child protection measure.
A child who has the capacity to consent (generally at the age of 11 years old or more) may also request the appointment of such a representative.
The law does not specifically require a lawyer to act as such a representative; the said person only has to be experienced in welfare and legal matters.
6.11 Do any other adults have a say in relation to the arrangements for the children? E.g. step-parents or grandparents or siblings. What methods of dispute resolution are available to resolve disputes relating to children?
No, only the spouses/parents have a say when it comes to the principle of divorce, its ancillary matters, and specifically, children-related ones.
The child's relatives might only be solicited during a preliminary stage, especially at the time of establishment of reports that may be enquired into by the Court during proceedings (mainly conducted by the child protection service; see question 6.9).
As detailed in the answer to question 2.12, mediation is highly promoted and urged by the judge when it comes to matrimonial disputes. When the children question is raised, the judge may even force parents to attempt mediation.
7. CHILDREN – INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS
7.1 Can the custodial parent move to another state/country without the other parent's consent?
Joint parental authority (as detailed in the answer to question 6.1) requires the habitual residence of the child to be determined by both parents, via a common decision.
Only a parent who possesses sole parental authority is allowed to move to another state/country without the other parent's consent. However, the other parent must be kept informed of such a move in reasonable time prior to the departure.
7.2 Can the custodial parent move to another part of the state/country without the other parent's consent?
In case of sole parental authority, the custodial parent is allowed to move to another part of Switzerland without the other parent's consent but has to notify him/her of the move in good time.
In case of joint parental authority, the custodial parent is only allowed to do so if the change of the place of residence does not have serious consequences on the ability of the other parent to exercise parental authority and have contact with the child.
7.3 If the court is making a decision on relocation of a child abroad, what factors are taken into account?
As in all proceedings relating to children and parental rights, the aim is to determine which solution best serves the interests and well-being of the child.
To this purpose, the factors notably taken into account are the personal relations between the parents and the child maintained up to that point, the educational capacities and respective availability of each parent, and the needs of the child guaranteeing his/her harmonious development, particularly with regards to the necessary stability of living conditions, including the child's preferences on this topic.
7.4 If the court is making a decision on a child moving to a different part of the state/country, what factors are taken into account?
See question 7.3.
7.5 In practice, how rare is it for the custodial parent to be allowed to relocate internationally/interstate?
Nothing prevents a parent who benefits from sole custody to relocate internationally/interstate, provided that the conditions detailed in the answers to questions 7.1 and 7.2 are fulfilled and that the child's welfare is respected.
However, as soon as share custody is concerned, such relocation might be quite problematic, primarily if it affects the rights of the other parent.
7.6 How does your jurisdiction deal with abduction cases? For example, is your jurisdiction a party to the Hague Convention?
Switzerland is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of October 25th, 1980.
8.1 In your view, what are the significant developments in family law in your jurisdiction in the last two years?
Although this development dates back to 2017, the elimination of unequal treatment among children of unmarried parents and children of married ones in terms of the calculation of child contributions (as detailed in the answer to question 6.8) marked a turning point with regard to equality in family law in Switzerland.
8.2 What impact, if any, has the COVID-19 pandemic had on family law in your jurisdiction to date, and is likely to have over the next 12 months?
The COVID-19 pandemic has mainly led to a downturn in and congestion of the justice system (set aside urgent cases).
The pandemic situation also had a huge impact on visitation rights. For instance, in Geneva, any visiting rights for children placed in care as well as supervised visiting rights have been cancelled, even if no measures restricting usual visiting rights have been taken by the Swiss authorities to date.
8.3 To what extent and how has the court process and other dispute resolution methods for family law been adapted in your jurisdiction in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. virtual hearings, remote access, paperless processes)? Are any of these changes likely to remain after the COVID-19 crisis has passed?
The practice varies from one canton to another. In Geneva, for instance, nothing other than compliance with public health basic rules (i.e. wearing of masks, use of hydroalcoholic gel, social distancing) must be observed.
8.4 What are some of the areas of family law which you think should be looked into in your jurisdiction?
It will be interesting to keep an eye on the evolution of the judicial system's approach to the resolution of family disputes upon separation, especially with regards to the children question.
In our opinion, the so-called "Cochem method", first developed in Germany, is quite an interesting model. Briefly, it establishes an "orderly cooperation" between the different professionals involved in the management of family conflict (be they judges, lawyers, experts or psychologists) and the parents of the child.
This alternative and constructive dispute resolution method presupposes a common objective, shared by all actors involved in the process, including parents, in favour of the peaceful resolution of the conflicts in the child's interests. In other words, the idea is to avoid post-separation conflict, which is highly detrimental to the child's development and well-being.
Originally published by The International Comparative Legal Guide to Family Law 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.