Marriage and Divorce in the United States
Marrying abroad can lead to unexpected legal consequences. If a female Austrian citizen does NOT submit a "legal statement of familiy name" (namensrechtliche Erklärung) neither before actually marrying nor during the wedding ceremony, she automatically gives up her family name and takes the one of her husband (Sec. 93 of the Austrian Civil Code). In addition, children born-in-wedlock to this couple will be given the father's familiy name.
Thus, if the wife does not want to take the husband's name, here is what she can do:
1) Both partners must submit a "legal statement of name" before leaving Austria, if
a) the husband takes the wife's family name,
b) one of the spouses hyphenates own family name and partner's last name (either name can be placed first; e.g. husband: Müller; wife: Huber; if wife wants to combine both names [be aware that your decision is legally binding], she can call herself Müller-Huber or Huber-Müller; her husband will keep his familiy name Müller; the couple's children will also be named Müller) or
c) both spouses keep their own family names (e.g. he remains Mr. Müller, she Ms. Huber). If you opt for keeping your own familiy names, you must decide on the family name of your children. (e.g. the children can be named either Müller or Huber, but NOT Müller-Huber NOR Huber-Müller).
The "legal statement of family name" is then to be sent together with the original marriage certificate (with an apostille affixed) to the Standesamt (Vital Statistics Office) Vienna-First District. The Standesamt will issue you an official document regarding your chosen last name(s).
2) If both spouses are already in New York, they can submit their "legal statement of family name" to the Consulate General before actually marrying.
In addition, you may ask the individual performing the wedding ceremony to clearly state the family names you both would like to take after the marriage on your marriage certificate. Please be aware that the regulations and rules as outlined above must be followed (e.g. a combined (i.e. hyphenated) name for BOTH spouses will not be accepted by Austrian officials since there is no legal basis for that).
In general (but there is no guarantee !!), the family names as stated on the marriage certificate (as long as they do not collide with Austrian law) will be accepted and confirmed by the Standesamt Vienna-First District.
Detailled information on marrying in New York City and Boston respectively can be found in the information sheets below (German only).
On principle, the divorce of Auistrian citizens issued by a US court will be accepted by the Austrian authorities without any further action.
In general, divorced spouses keep the family names they had during their marriage. If in the course of the divorce you decide to take a former last name, please make sure that your intention to take a former family name is stated in the divorce decree issued by the US court. In addition, you must declare before an Austrian official at a Vital Statistics Office (Standesamt) that you wish to take a former familiy name.
The following documents must be submitted: citizenship papers, marriage certificate(s) of previous marriage(s), divorce decree of last marriage, birth certificate, birth certificate(s) of children born-in-wedlock.
The application is filed with the Austrian Consulate General and then forwarded to Austria. Fees might amount to between € 60.00 and 80.00.
Please note: A family name taken in the course of a former marriage can be re-taken if and only if children were born in-wedlock during the marriage (Example: Mrs. Müller, née Huber, married to Mr. Maier in her first marriage, can re-take the family name Maier after a divorce from Mr. Müller if and only if the Maiers had children. Otherwise, i.e. Mr. and Mrs. Maier had no children during their marriage, she can only re-take her maiden name Huber).