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Divorces are always complex. We explain what happens to your pension assets if you get divorced, and what you need to bear in mind.
Lebensereignis Scheidung

Impact on your occupational pension

Divorce law affects occupational pensions in the following ways:

  • Where at least one of the spouses is a member of a pension institution, the occupational pension assets accrued during the marriage up to the point at which divorce proceedings commence are divided equitably.
  • In principle, the assets accrued by the two spouses at occupational pension institutions during the relevant marriage period are divided equally. If either or both of the spouses is/are already drawing a retirement pension, or a disability pension after the statutory retirement age, the court will decide at its discretion how the pension(s) is/are to be divided.
  • One-off contributions from individual property (for example from a gift or inheritance) made during the marriage, along with interest up to the time of divorce, are not included in the split.
  • If the spouses have claims against each other, only the difference will be shared out.
  • This arrangement applies regardless of the chosen matrimonial property regime.
  • If the spouses have agreed to the split, the occupational pension institutions concerned will be requested to confirm its practicability as well as the amount of the pension assets or pensions used in the calculation.
  • If the spouses are unable to agree, the divorce court will decide on the split. If the relevant pension entitlements or pensions have not been determined, the divorce court will decide on the ratio in which they are to be shared out, and refer the case to the insurance court responsible.

Payment of occupational pension assets

Vested benefits are not normally paid out in cash, but must instead remain within pillar 2.

They can only be paid out to divorced spouses in cash if

•    they are leaving Switzerland permanently
•    they are taking up self-employment and are no longer subject to mandatory occupational pension provision
•    the vested benefits add up to less than one year’s contributions.

Pension shares awarded are converted into a lifetime annuity for the divorced spouse.

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