From 1 July 2022, marriage in Switzerland will be open to all individuals, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Is the registered partnership automatically converted into a marriage?

No. Existing registered partnerships remain in force. However, they may be converted into a marriage upon a joint declaration by the partners to the competent civil registry office.

From 1 July 2022, registered partnerships cannot be established anymore. From that date, marriage will be the only option for same-sex couples.

What must be considered when converting a registered partnership into a marriage?

With the conversion of the registered partnership into a marriage, the ordinary matrimonial property regime is changed. Separation of property no longer applies as the ordinary matrimonial property regime; but the participation in acquired property applies. In the event of divorce or death, the assets acquired after the conversion are principally divided equally. If the couple wishes to convert their registered partnership into a marriage but retain the regime of separation of property, a nuptial agreement must be concluded. If a nuptial agreement already exists, it remains valid for the time after the conversion into marriage.

It may further be mentioned that for the dissolution of the registered partnership at the request of only one partner (without the consent of the other), the partners must have been living separately for at least one year at the time the action is lodged.

What is the legal situation of pre-existing foreign marriages?

If registered partners have married abroad, the marriage will be recognized automatically as a marriage (and not only as a registered partnership) in Switzerland from 1 July 2022 on. Upon the spouses’ wish, they may request an adjustment of the entry in the civil status register. It is important to know that the participation in acquired property applies retroactively to the date of the marriage abroad. This means that the assets acquired abroad since the marriage are principally divided equally in the event of divorce or death. If couples wish to retain their previous property rules in the future, a nuptial agreement must be concluded.

What further changes come into effect?

From 1 July 2022, not only same-sex couples may adopt the child of their registered partner, but they may also jointly adopt a child.

Finally, the simplified naturalization procedure also applies to same-sex foreigners.