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Child custody in Switzerland

From July 1st 2014 the legal standard in Switzerland is joint legal custody of children following divorce of the parents. Parents who live together but are not married can also declare that they desire joint legal custody of their children. Joint legal custody means that both mother and father have responsibility for the child’s upbringing and development. They decide together about education and care (also medical care) etc. If they are unable to decide together, neither party has a casting vote but they can ask the child protection authority to mediate. For daily questions and urgent matters, the parent who has physical custody of the child can decide alone. Exceptions to joint legal custody are now only allowed if the child’s welfare is at risk.

Building work defects

According to Swiss Law you have to react immediately (i.e. within days) if a builder (in German Handwerker) has made an error or if the quality of the work is not sufficient.  You should lodge a complaint immediately  after discovering the defect (this is called a Mängelrüge in Geman). It is best to do this by sending the builder a registered letter (eingeschriebener Brief). In your complaint you can request the builder to either fix the defect or give you a price reduction. If you and the builder disagree then it is best to get an expert to assess the defect. IMPORTANT: The onus of proof lies with you and therefore you should collect and document the facts as carefully as you can, also with photos if possible.

Buyer beware when buying a used car

Federal Court decision from March 2014:

In the advertisement the seller said the car was like new (in German “wie neu”). Later the buyer found out that the car had been involved in an accident. The court decided that the advertisement didn’t say and hadn’t promised that the car had never been involved in an accident (in German “unfallfrei”). Rather the description “like new” was meant as an “extolment to encourage the purchase”.