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Divorce abroad – pension settlement in Switzerland


Employees save up their pension fund assets (pension assets from the occupational pension plan, i.e. 2nd pillar) throughout their working life. The retirement assets consist of contributions paid in by employees and employers with a view to retirement. As a rule, both divorced spouses are entitled to half of the retirement assets acquired during the marriage.

The pension funds carry out the division based on a court decision. As of 1 January 2017, only Swiss courts are authorized to order the pension funds to carry out the division. Foreign divorce decrees containing such a division provision can no longer be recognized in Switzerland and Swiss pension funds are not entitled to divide on the basis of a foreign divorce decree.

As a result, a foreign divorce decree must be supplemented in Switzerland if one or both divorced spouses worked in Switzerland during the marriage. Only in this way can the Swiss pension assets be divided equally between the divorced spouses.

The foreign divorce decree can be supplemented in Switzerland as soon as it has become legally binding. It is advisable to discuss with the Swiss attorney before the divorce negotiations begin which tax arrangements can be beneficial to both parties.

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