Alimony and spousal support when divorcing in Switzerland

Alimony and spousal support when divorcing in Switzerland

Spousal support? What for?

When a marriage is dissolved, one partner may be financially disadvantaged compared to the other spouse to continue living independently. The lower-earning or non-wage-earning spouse may be eligible for alimony to get back on his or her feet and to maintain a basic lifestyle to which he or she became accustomed during the marriage.

Are you not enthusiastic about paying alimony? When you got married, you said “yes” to marital and post-marital support, among other things.

Temporary spousal support while living apart and in divorce proceedings

Life goes on while you live separately. Bills have to be paid, but now you have two households, often only one income and maybe equity locked up in your family property. Temporary or interim spousal support addresses your immediate financial needs to get through separation. It allows you to cover your daily living expenses until the divorce is finalized. A judge will consider your financial needs and your net incomes, when determining how much spousal support you should pay or receive per month.

Das Leben geht weiter, während Sie getrennt leben. Rechnungen sind zu zahlen, auch jetzt bei zwei Haushalten, oft nur einem Einkommen und allenfalls auch noch gebundenem Eigenkapital in Ihrem Wohneigentum. Vorläufiger Ehegattenunterhalt deckt Ihren unmittelbaren finanziellen Bedarf, Ihre täglichen Lebenskosten, um die Trennung zu bewältigen, bis die Scheidung abgeschlossen ist. Ein Richter wird Ihre finanziellen Bedürfnisse und Ihre Nettoeinkommen berücksichtigen, wenn er bestimmt, wer wie viel Ehegattenunterhalt pro Monat zahlen oder erhalten soll.

Alimony after divorce

What are the eligibility requirements of post-marital maintenance?

The Swiss Civil Code outlines several factors a judge must have in mind when determining the amount and duration of spousal support, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living and division of duties during the marriage, the age and health of the spouses, earnings and assets. The court also considers your spouse’s chances of finding a job.

Often, one spouse has opted to sacrifice his or her career to raise the children or to support her or his spouse’s career advancement.

Crucial to the post-marital maintenance claim of the divorced spouse is whether there is a life-defining, life-influencing, formative marriage. This must be examined in each individual case.

Life-influencing, life-shaping marriage

In some cases, the judge may order your ex-spouse to pay alimony for a certain time after the divorce, especially in the long term, life-shaping marriages where one spouse stayed at home, raised the children, gave up economic independence, and could not continue in his or her former professional position. The disadvantaged spouse should be able to enjoy the same standard of living as during the marriage.


The question of gainful employment concerns the ability to support oneself (so called self-sufficiency). A spouse is only entitled to maintenance if he or she is unable and cannot reasonably be expected to pay one’s way.

Childcare, school level model

Childcare may restrain the primary carer from working for a while until the children have started school.

Training and further education, professional retraining

Today, alimony is usually only awarded for a limited period of time, if at all. The goal is to foster the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a timely manner. The judge takes into account the age, skills, education, possibility of retraining, and the realistic chances of the recipient spouse finding a job that will allow him or her to support him or herself. A spouse may receive some support payments to become self-sufficient by acquiring job skills, training, or education.

In Switzerland, we have a ‘no fault’ system. Even if your spouse has betrayed you, that is not a cause for not awarding spousal support, as seemingly unfair as that may be.

Surplus, deficiency, priority list (or priority order)

Just keep in mind that maintaining two households cannot be as cost effective as running one. Thus, not every family can still maintain that lifestyle and provide for their children at the same time. How to proceed in case of a shortfall? What is the priority order?

Waiving spousal support

A spouse can waive alimony if he or she has sufficient earnings while remaining financially independent.

Modification and termination of spousal support

See problems after divorce resp. post-divorce issues.

Do not hesitate to contact me. I can guide you through the process, starting with analyzing your lifestyle and historical financial information. it is mandatory to accurately document income and needs based on the living standards established throughout the marriage.