A new maintenance law has been in force in Switzerland since 1 January 2017. The revised law (ZGB) is intended to put children of unmarried parents on an equal footing with those of married parents. Maintenance is owed to the child and is divided into cash and childcare maintenance. Cash maintenance is based on the actual costs attributable to the child, i.e. the legal basic amount plus rent, health insurance and any costs of third-party care. Care maintenance is intended to compensate the child for the financial disadvantage that arises when one parent assumes sole care of the child. It is based on the basic needs of the parent who has taken on care of the child. Spousal maintenance can also be owed in addition to cash and childcare maintenance for the child if the parents are or were married. However, child support takes precedence over spousal support.
The practice of the courts in this area is still very varied. In particular, the proportion share of the rental costs and the calculation of care maintenance are currently still handled very differently in practice. It is a fact, however, that maintenance obligations tend to be higher. However, the party paying must retain a minimum subsistence level, which is why a calculated underfunding will arise in a large number of cases. This means that the debtor is not able to pay full maintenance to the child. In such a situation, the children concerned can be re-registered with social security, who will check whether they are entitled to benefits. Initial decisions also point to the fact that child support as a rule will not be due when custody alternates between the parents because both spouses pay their share in cash. Thus, the more balanced the proportion of care is, the less will be the need to determine additional payments.