: Japanese Fairy Tales
The marriage and divorce laws of the Swiss Republic are federal--that is,
operating throughout all the cantons of the confederation. Prior to
January 1, 1876, when the present federal law went into effect, the
different cantons had individual laws regulating divorce.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR MARRIAGE.--1. Age. A man must be at least eighteen
years of age and a woman at least sixteen in order to contract a valid
2. Mental capacity. Lunatics and idiots are prohibited from marrying.
3. Free consent. No marriage is valid without the free consent of the
parties. Duress, fraud or error in the person precludes the presumption of
4. Consent of parents. Parental consent is required of all persons under
twenty years of age. If the parents are dead or incapable of manifesting
their will the consent of a guardian is necessary. If the guardian refuses
consent the parties may appeal from his decision to the courts.
CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriage is prohibited between ascendants and
descendants; between brothers and sisters of the whole or half blood;
between uncles and nieces, or aunts and nephews, whether the relationship
arises from legitimate or illegitimate birth, and between connections by
marriage in the direct line.
Marriage is also prohibited between adopting parents and adopted children.
A widow, a divorced woman, or a woman whose marriage has been annulled
cannot contract a new marriage within 300 days after the dissolution of
the former marriage.
When an absolute divorce has been decreed on the ground of adultery,
attempt on life, cruelty, dishonourable treatment, sentence to an
ignominious punishment, wilful desertion, or incurable mental disease, the
guilty or losing party cannot enter into a new marriage until one year has
elapsed from the date of the divorce.
PRELIMINARY FORMALITIES.--Before the celebration, publication must be made
in the district of birth and residence of both parties. Fourteen days
after the formal publication of banns the registrar of the domicile of the
intended husband delivers to the parties, provided no valid objection to
the marriage has been served at the registrar's office, a certificate of
publication, which permits the parties to be married in any place in
Switzerland within six months from date of publication.
CELEBRATION.--The marriage ceremony must be performed by a registrar. The
civil ceremony must precede any religious celebration. The civil marriage
before the registrar must be publicly performed in the presence of not
less than two witnesses.
ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN.--Illegitimate children are legitimatized by the
subsequent marriage of their parents.
FOREIGN MARRIAGES.--A marriage contracted in a foreign country that is
valid according to the laws of that country is valid in Switzerland.
DIVORCE AND JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--Absolute divorce is granted for the
1. When both husband and wife consent to a divorcement and it appears to
the court from facts presented that to keep the parties bound together by
the marriage bond is incompatible with the true intention of marriage.
2. Adultery. However, six months must not have passed since the injured
spouse obtained knowledge of the offence.
3. Attempt upon the life of either spouse.
4. Cruelty or dishonourable treatment.
5. Wilful desertion continued for two years, and the absentee has failed
within six months to obey a judicial summons to return.
6. Incurable insanity or mental disease of three years' existence.
7. In the absence of the causes above set forth the courts have still
power to grant either an absolute divorce or a judicial separation for not
more than two years if it appears that the parties are grossly
antagonistic to each other. If, upon petition, a judicial separation is
granted and at its stated expiration no reconciliation has taken place,
the court will entertain an application for an absolute divorce.
EFFECTS OF DIVORCE.--The questions of property, alimony, custody of
children and change of name are determined according to the laws of the
individual cantons. Generally the guilty party must pay damages to the
innocent spouse, either in one payment or by instalments, the amount
depending upon the means of the parties and the nature and degree of the
offence for which the divorce was granted.