Mum must tell daughter who her dad is: Swiss court

A single mother who wanted to keep the identity of her daughter's father secret from the child has lost her final appeal and been ordered to reveal who he is.

Mum must tell daughter who her dad is: Swiss court
Do children need to know who their father is? Photo: Ashley Webb/Flickr

The Federal Supreme Court – the top arbiter in civil cases –  has ordered a trusteeship to be set up in order to establish the father's identity, according to 20 Minutes.

Putting the ruling into practice could prove difficult, though, due to the mother's resistance.

This kind of trusteeship is usually used when it is necessary to ensure sufficient payments for the child's maintenance and education are received.

But the woman in this case, from the Fribourg region of the country, argues that she doesn't require any financial assistance from the child's father because she earns enough to live “comfortably”. She added that she has “personal reasons” for concealing his name.

Judges disputed her claims, saying that due to the fact she only works part-time, her salary could not be considered “particularly comfortable”.

'Destructive consequences'

The mother even argued that the revelation of his identity may have “destructive social and psychological disadvantages.”

She said that her daughter, currently just over one year old, could decide for herself if she wanted to know who her father was once she reached the age of 19.

However, the tribunal rejected the argument that the mother's privacy was being violated.

The cantonal court argued that it is unfair to make the girl wait until adulthood before finding out who her father is, because she would miss out on “the benefit of establishing a paternal link during her childhood and adolescence, important phases in her development. “


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Is foreign marriage recognised in Switzerland?

Perhaps you and your spouse are foreign nationals who got married abroad. Or maybe you are Swiss but decided to wed in Las Vegas with an Elvis Presley impersonator. Will your marriage be valid in Switzerland?

Is foreign marriage recognised in Switzerland?

Saying ‘I do’ implies not only a lifetime of happiness (if you are lucky), but also a number of administrative tasks, such as reporting the change of status, your new surname, and address (if applicable) to the municipal administration, cantonal tax authorities, your employer, your bank, the post office, and insurance companies.

If you changed your last name upon marriage, you should also request a new passport, ID card, and driver’s license.

All this is required of people domiciled  in Switzerland who got married here — regardless of their nationality.

However, the administrative burden is even heavier if you wed abroad.

To answer the initial question — yes, marriage contracted abroad is recognised in Switzerland, as long as it complies with Swiss law. This also concerns same-sex couples

This is the case even if the requirements in the foreign nation differ from Swiss procedures. But the union should comply with a civil (rather than merely religious) law in that country.

However, for the marriage to be considered legal in Switzerland, it must first be authenticated by Swiss authorities abroad.

How do you go about this process?

First, you must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in the country in which the marriage took place and request that the union be recognised. 

You will have to provide all documents, such as your marriage license and anything else that is needed for the process to be completed.

The diplomatic mission will check the accuracy of the documents, notorise them, and translate them into one of Switzerland’s official languages (unless they are already in German, French, or Italian).

The documents will then be sent to the supervisory bureau of your canton of origin or canton of residence if both parties are of foreign nationality.

If all the conditions are met, it orders the transcription to be made in the Infostar database, the central electronic register for all civil status events, such as births, death, divorces, and, yes, marriages.

What’s next?
Other than living happily ever after, there are some other tasks you should complete if one of you is a foreign national coming to Switzerland for the first time.

Once your marriage is officially recognised and you are in Switzerland legally, you should inform your canton of your arrival.

The ‘address registration’ rules may come as somewhat of a shock to people from some other places, like the United States, where you can move from one location to another and stay pretty much under the radar.

Not so in Switzerland. Swiss authorities want to know who is living in their country and where — especially if you are foreigner.

When you settle in a new home, you have 14 days to announce your arrival in your commune of residence, though in some places the deadline may be longer.

In some cantons, you can do this procedure online, while in others you must come to your local residents’ registration office (Einwohnerkontrolle / Contrôle des habitants/ Controllo abitanti) in person.