: 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

following causes:

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.