Can spouses lead to health problems

Legal implications of marriage - duties in marriage

Marriage creates special rights and obligations between the spouses that do not exist in non-marital partnerships.

Among other things, the obligations arise

  • for comprehensive marital cohabitation, especially for living together,
  • to loyalty,
  • to "decent encounter" and
  • to provide mutual assistance.

In principle, the state does not interfere in these private affairs. Therefore, in principle, these obligations cannot be sued in court. The breach of these obligations can be relevant as a reason for divorce. In the case of a contentious divorce, whether or not a spouse has fulfilled these "obligations" can play a role in determining who is at fault.

Detailed information on the subjects of "Divorce in dispute" and "Liability for third-party debts" can also be found at

Living together - "Separate accommodation"

In principle, spouses are obliged to live together. If one of the spouses moves out of the shared apartment against the will of the other spouse, he / she can be accused of doing this in the event of a disputed divorce.

However, if living together with the other spouse is unreasonable, in particular due to physical threat, one spouse can temporarily move into a separate apartment. This is also possible for important personal reasons (e.g. to care for a relative who lives further away). In order to rule out negative consequences in the event of a controversial divorce, a corresponding application for a declaration can be submitted to the court. In non-litigation proceedings, the court determines whether the move of one of the spouses, the request for temporary relocation of the joint home or the refusal to move with you was or is lawful. If there is a corresponding decision by the court, the spouse can no longer be accused of moving out in the event of a disputed divorce.


If a spouse manages the household alone, he / she is entitled to maintenance. Upon request, this maintenance must be paid in full or in part in cash. Exception: The spouses have little money available.

If a spouse cannot work or run the household, e.g. for health reasons, he / she is entitled to maintenance.

If the joint household is canceled, the entitlement to maintenance from the spouse generally continues to exist.

Depending on the type of divorce (consensual, contentious), the divorced spouse may also be entitled to maintenance payments from the other spouse.

More information on the subject of "maintenance" can also be found at

Household, raising children and earning a living

According to the law, household, child-rearing and gainful employment should be shared among the spouses by mutual agreement in such a way that the contributions made in each case are balanced. Particular attention should be paid to the respective occupational stress. If they have children, they should also take their well-being into account.

Basically, both spouses have to contribute to the household. There is an exception if only one of the two is gainfully employed. In this case, it is possible for one of the two to run the household alone.

In the event of a significant wish from a spouse (e.g. after taking up gainful employment), the marital partnership should be mutually redesigned.

In principle, one spouse must assist in the acquisition of the other if

  • it is reasonable
  • it is customary according to the living conditions of the spouses and
  • they have not agreed otherwise.

However, if one spouse is involved in the acquisition of the other, he / she is entitled to appropriate compensation for his / her participation. The amount of the entitlement depends on the type and duration of the benefits. The entire living conditions of the spouses, especially the maintenance payments granted, must be adequately taken into account.


Spouses must also assist each other in custody of stepchildren. As far as the circumstances require, the step-parent also represents the parent in custody matters of daily life.

More information on the subject of "custody" can also be found at

Naming rights

In the event of marriage, there is the option of choosing a common family name, adopting a double name or keeping separate family names.

Further information on the subject of "Name change in connection with a marriage" can also be found at


In Austrian (marriage) law, the statutory matrimonial property regime applies to the separation of property. This means that each spouse will keep the property acquired before and during the marriage. Even after a divorce, the spouse remains the owner of the property that she / he brought into the marriage and / or acquired during the marriage; the conjugal household assets and the conjugal savings are to be divided (on request).

In a marriage contract, however, a community of property can be agreed.

Detailed information on the subject of "matrimonial property law" can also be found at

Legal bases

Sections 44, 89 to 100 and 1233 to 1237 General Civil Code (ABGB)

Last updated: January 25, 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice