1 Which law applies?

1.1. Which law is applicable to a couple´s property? Which criteria/rules are used to determine the applicable law? Which international conventions have to be respected with regard to certain countries?

If the spouses do not themselves make a choice of law, the law to be applied with regard to the personal legal effects of the marriage at the time of the marriage is applied (§ 19 Internationales Privatrechts-Gesetz, IPRG). This corresponds to the common or, in the absence thereof, the last common personal statute (= nationality), under the condition that one of the spouses has retained it (§ 18 para. 1 Z 1 IPRG). Otherwise one applies the law of the state in which both spouses have their habitual residence or, in the absence thereof, the law of the state in which the two had their last common habitual residence, under the condition that one of the spouses has retained it (§ 18 para. 1 Z 2 IPRG). If the spouses never had neither a common personal statute nor a common habitual residence, the law of the state to which they have the closest relation will be applied (§ 1 IPRG).

1.2. Do the spouses have the option of choosing the applicable law? If so, by which principles is this choice governed (e.g. the laws to be chosen, formal requirements, retro-activity)?

The spouses have the possibility of freely choosing the law to be applied to their property. Insofar as this does not violate the Austrian ordre public (§ 6 IPRG), the spouses are unrestricted in this choice - the chosen law does not have to demonstrate a relationship to the marriage. The choice of law must be made expressly (§ 19 IPRG).