Divorce in the EU

Within the EU (apart from Denmark), the jurisdiction for divorces is governed by the Brussels IIa Regulation. Judgments on divorce petitions that are given in an EU Member State (apart from Denmark) are generally automatically recognised in Austria.

The law according to which the competent body must give a decision on divorce is governed by the Rome III Regulation. According to this regulation, it is generally the habitual residence of the spouses that is decisive, not the nationality.

Habitual residence

A habitual residence is deemed to be the place where,

  • the spouses reside on a not merely temporary basis; and
  • their social contacts are focused, in particular in terms of family and work.

Choice of law

However, this regulation grants spouses the opportunity to choose the applicable law themselves. The following are not covered by the Rome III Regulation

  • property law and
  • maintenance obligations.

The regulation is applicable in most EU Member States, including Austria.

If these two EU regulations do not apply, the jurisdiction and applicable law in the case of foreign proceedings in Austria are governed by the rules of the IPR-Gesetz.

International private law

Under the IPR-Gesetz the requirements and effects of divorce must be assessed in accordance with the law governing the personal legal effects of marriage at the time of the divorce petition. If, according to this law, divorce is not possible or there is no connecting factor to another country, in case of doubt the personal status (generally the law of the country of nationality) of the petitioning spouse at the time of the divorce petition is decisive. Information on the national rules of other countries in this regard (international private law) can be provided by the respective diplomatic representations in Austria (→ BMEIA).

More detailed information on divorceGerman text can be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2023

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice