Marriage and partnership law

Since 1 January 2019, marriage has been open to same-sex couples in Austria, based on a 2017 ruling by the Constitutional Court. At the same time it has become possible  for couples of the opposite sex to enter into a registered partnership and thus form an alternative to the “traditional” marriage. The legal differences however are small, since the legislator essentially adopted the provisions of the Marriage Act (EheG) when introducing the registered partnership in 2010, only slightly adapting them and replacing the term “marriage” with “registered partnership” to enable same-sex couples to formalize their partnership without allowing marriage for everyone.

A total of 39,662 marriages were concluded in Austria in 2020, a much lower number compared to previous years due to the restrictions imposed by the Corona measures. Furthermore, 1,256 registered partnerships were recorded in Austria in 2020.

In the same period, 14,870 marriages were divorced in Austria, with the overall divorce rate being around 40% in Vienna and 36% nationwide. The average length of marriage is still around 10 years, meaning that exactly half of all divorced marriages last longer than 10 years and the other half get divorced earlier. 108 registered partnerships were dissolved again. The number of divorces also declined in the Corona year, contrary to isolated media reports at the time.

Ultimately, this corresponds to the fact that a separation or divorce does not usually lead to an improvement in the economic situation of the parties involved. Two places of residence, two households, maybe two cars etc. have to be financed. What was previously paid with perhaps two incomes together, each party must pay for it alone in the future. Divorce, dissolution of a partnership or separation therefore always requires careful consideration. All legal and economic consequences have to be taken into account. Hasty or ill-considered actions can have far-reaching consequences in terms of social security law, maintenance law, housing law and other possible disadvantages. All these aspects should be considered in the case of counseling with regard to a possible divorce or consensual solution.

It should further be borne in mind that former spouses or registered partners remain connected through their children for many years after the divorce or partnership dissolution: the divorces in 2020 affected a total of 12,037 minors under the age of 18, including 3,078 children under the age of six. Maintaining a good and respectful basis should be the goal of every separation.

The legal options for a divorce or the dissolution of a registered partnership are the consensual and the contentious divorce or dissolution. As part of a consensual solution, an agreement must be reached on maintenance issues and the division of the jointly created assets. If there are common underage children, an additional regulation must be made on custody, the contact right and child maintenance.

Depending on which form of divorce or dissolution of marriage proves to best protect your interests, we will be happy to support you with all our strength and expertise in achieving a consensual solution or in conducting court proceedings.