What changes after marriage?

In the case of marriage, it is possible to conclude a prenuptial agreement. The selectable matrimonial property regimes are the following three: Errungenschaftsbeteiligung, community of property and separation of property. If no prenuptial agreement is concluded, the matrimonial property regime applies. Muriel Ego-Sevinc, a lawyer and specialist in family law, explains: "The share of acquisitions can be adjusted somewhat individually through a prenuptial agreement. However, the other matrimonial property regimes, such as the separation of property and the community of property, also offer interesting options and allow the property consequences of the marriage to be adapted to the individual needs of the spouses." Therefore, the divorce lawyer recommends to deal with the consequences of marriage in time and to get advice in this regard.

Inheritance share

In this form there are four assets. The personal property of both spouses as well as the earnings of both spouses. Personal property includes all items for personal use, as well as assets that belonged to one before marriage or that come to one later through inheritance. In addition, respective replacement purchases for the personal property also belong to the personal property. The inheritance includes, among other things, work earnings, benefits for personnel welfare institutions, social insurances, social welfare institutions, the earnings of the personal property and also the replacement acquisition for inheritance. In the event of a divorce, the assets of both spouses are divided in half, unless a marriage contract to the contrary has been concluded.

Community of goods

In this case, the joint property includes all the assets and income of both spouses, with the exception of the assets that are by law personal property. These are the items for exclusive personal use as well as claims for satisfaction. In the event of divorce, the total property is divided between the spouses half each, unless otherwise agreed in the marriage contract.

Separation of property

With the separation of property there is no common property. Each:r spouse:in remains owner:in his own goods. Within the limits of the law, everyone manages and disposes of his or her assets. Accordingly, there is basically no division of property in the event of a divorce.

Name and children

Name: With marriage, there is an option to take your partner's last name as your common name. Since the introduction of naming rights in 2013, it is no longer possible to choose a double name, but there are discussions about whether this should be reinstated. It is still possible to hyphenate an alliance name and list it on your passport, for example. If both spouses keep their own name, they must decide on a family name at the civil registry office, which will then be given to the descendants.

Parental custody: "When a child is born, spouses automatically receive joint parental custody," attorney shares. This is not the case for unmarried couples.

Paternity: for children born during marriage, there is a presumption that the husband is also the child's father. In the case of an unmarried couple, in turn, this would have to be asserted through civil channels.

Taxes and insurance

Wedding penalty: the "wedding penalty" is the tax discrimination against married couples. Why exactly, explains Ego-Sevinc: "With marriage, the spouses are taxed together. This increases the progression with two salaries, which in turn can lead to higher taxes depending on income and family constellation." The federal government and the cantons do grant tax deductions to mitigate this "penalty" somewhat, but they do so on a very small scale.

Insurance/rental property: personal liability insurance and homeowner's insurance should be informed and the policy adjusted if necessary. In addition, the or the landlord:in must be informed. For the family dwelling a special protection against dismissal applies.


Liability: Each spouse is liable with his or her own assets. Ongoing needs make the exception. Here the lawyer mentions the apartment and the taxes as an example. In this case the pair is jointly liable.

Maintenance/pension fund: "The lower-income spouse, or the spouse who takes care of the children, is better protected financially as a result of the marriage," says divorce lawyer Ego-Sevinc. From the time of marriage, the couple shares in each other's pension fund assets. In addition, the person who cares for the children is entitled to cash and care maintenance, which an unmarried child-caring parent is also entitled to, as well as personal maintenance, depending on the individual case. "At the latest since the new federal court case law, however, the or the lower-income spouse:in can no longer rely on being financially secure in the long term beyond the divorce," attorney Ego-Sevinc points out. For this reason, the lawyer advises not to significantly reduce or even abandon the workload for a long period of time.

Inheritance law: marriage gives spouses inheritance rights in the event of the death of the other spouse. If there is neither a will nor an inheritance contract, the surviving spouse receives at least 50 percent of the estate. "It should be noted that in a first step, the property law dispute must be made, before in a second step, the estate to be divided with any descendants can be determined," shares the lawyer.

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