– December 19, 2023

Personal contact with the non-custodial parent

Parents can be denied or deprived of the right to personal contact if this would jeopardise the child’s welfare. However, the Federal Supreme Court is somewhat reserved in its judgement on this question.

According to the case law of the Federal Supreme Court, the right to personal contact between the non-custodial parent and their child under Art. 273 para. 1 of the Swiss Civil Code constitutes a personal right of the child. This is intended to serve the interests of the child. The decision on personal contact must therefore be made in such a way that it meets the child’s needs as closely as possible. The interests of the parents take a back seat. If the child’s welfare is jeopardised by personal contact, this can be refused or withdrawn as a last resort (Art. 274 para. 2 CC).

The Federal Supreme Court, as the court of last instance, only intervenes if the lower court has failed to observe essential criteria for the decision on visiting rights without good reason or if the judgement of the lower court is based on facts that are irrelevant to the best interests of the child or violate principles of federal law.

To summarise, it should be noted that the refusal or withdrawal of the right to personal contact of the non-custodial parent with their child may only take place under clear conditions, whereby decisions are made with restraint (BGer 5A_95/2023 of 17 July 2023).

If you have any questions in family law, our lawyers will be happy to advise you.