Domestic partnerships - general information

Nowadays, living together with a partner doesn't automatically mean getting married. Couples often choose to enter a domestic partnership rather than get married.

What is the legal definition of a "domestic partnership"?

In Austria, a domestic partnership is when a couple have been living together for a prolonged period and are in an economic and sexual relationship, but are not married.

However, the couple do not have to be living together in the same house to be considered as being in a domestic partnership. Couples living at different addresses (for example, for work reasons) can still be considered as in a domestic partnership.

The two members of the domestic partnership are not subject to any of the obligations of a marriage, such as fidelity or the obligation to support their partner financially.

Advice

In its decision of 4 december 2017German text, the Constitutional Court of Austria overruled the various regulations that had previously applied to heterosexual and homosexual couples. This opened the way for homosexual couples to marry in Austria, and they have been able to do so in principle since 1 January 2019. Since then, heterosexual couples have also had the option of registering a civil partnerschip (Eingetragene Partnerschaft). The effects of a civil partnership, especially as far as rights to maintenance, inheritance and social security law are concerned, do not extend to domestic partnerships.

Domestic partnerships outside of marriage are not generally associated with any legal obligations. With this in mind, people in such relationships should make timely care provision for the event of their partner falling ill. They can regulate their affairs by means of written agreements. You can find advice about when it might be advisable to arrange (power of attorney) or draw up written agreements on our  Partnershio Agreement page.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 February 2022

Responsible for the content: Austrian Chamber of Civil-Law Notaries