Civil status

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Personal status or - Swiss - marital status ( French état civil ) is derived from the features of the family law resulting position of a person within the legal system including its name. They are used in personal status cases , some officially-related processes in the civil certification required. The individual details are the civil status data of a person.


Civil status data is at the core of the population register and can be found in civil status documents such as birth , marriage and death certificates , as well as in death books and similar documents. One speaks of a civil status case in particular in the case of birth , marriage (and comparable partnership models) and death .

A basic distinction is made between the civil status data:

  • General civil status data (data on the core of the person ) - this is information such as ...
  • special civil status data - this is further information depending on the civil status case, such as details ...
    • to the parents at birth,
    • to the partner at the time of marriage or the establishment of a registered partnership;
  • other civil status data - all other information that ...
    • "Required by a civil status authority for proper enforcement".

Because the civil status data is part of the basic private information of a person, it is subject to particularly strict data protection , on the other hand it is part of the core of sovereign expenditure because it represents the basic information on the population (the extent of state sovereignty in addition to the territorial status ), so strict rules also apply Citizens are obliged to provide information on their own civil status.

The exact scope of the civil status data to be provided and recorded varies from state to state. Thus ecclesiastical information on baptism and religious affiliation or type of funeral today in many countries no longer part of the civil status data.

The civil status data gives a fundamental insight into a person's living conditions . For this reason, historical life data (including church registers ) are, for example, basic material for genealogy . They are also used for official statistics , whereby the data records can be anonymized by omitting identification features . A distinction must be made between the civil status data and the identification data, such as those specified on ID cards : this also includes civil status data such as name, date of birth, but identification data such as height or hair color are not part of the civil status. Even more volatile information such as place of residence , which is of central importance for the registration system (register system) , is usually not counted as civil status data in the narrower sense (it is other civil status data if necessary).


In Germany, the civil status includes data on birth, gender, marriage, establishment of a civil partnership and death, as well as related family and name law facts ( Section 1 (1) PStG ).

The certification of the civil status and the marriage ( civil marriage ) is the task of the authorities responsible for civil status under state law ( registry offices ). There, the appointed leading registrar the civil registers (birth, marriage, death and civil partnership register).

For civil status in Germany also includes the family law institute of civil partnership . With its certification are now in all states the registry offices in charge. The declaration of wanting to enter into a partnership with one another can also be submitted to any notary in Bavaria.

The legal basis for civil status issues is the Civil Status Act and the Introductory Act to the Civil Code .

In the case of filling out forms in which the civil status must be entered, there are the options “single”, “married”, “widowed” or “divorced”. Recently, the item "partnered" has been added to many forms, which is not an official civil status, but is only intended to cover the increasingly common variant of the unofficial and uncertified civil partnership.

In addition to the entries female and male in the birth register, Section 22 (3) of the Civil Status Act also regulates the medically determined indeterminacy of gender. This is noted with the information diverse or without information in the birth register and relates to the genetic-anatomical intersexuality , see also third gender (examples for the legal handling of a third gender characteristic) . The gender entry in the birth register can be changed if there is an irreversible transsexuality .


The basis for Austrian civil  status cases is the Personal Status Act (PStG).

"Civil status within the meaning of this federal law is the position of a person within the legal system, including their name, resulting from the characteristics of family law" (Section 1 (1) PStG). "Civil status cases are birth, marriage, establishment of a registered partnership and death" (Paragraph 2).

According to § 44 ABGB, civil marriage is established as a marriage between two persons of different sex. The other legal bases such as marital status, marriage bans and reasons for nullity as well as marriage at the registry office and divorce in court etc. are regulated in the marriage law. Since a ruling by the Constitutional Court in June 2006, changing the sex of one of the spouses during an upright marriage is no longer an obstacle to changing the gender entry in the birth register and thus does not change the legal status of a marriage that was previously concluded as a different sex. With this change in civil status, the marriage becomes de facto same-sex (see transsexuality , section Austria). Registered partnerships for same-sex couples have been possible since the beginning of 2010 . The legal basis for this is the Registered Partnership Act  (EPG).

The religion is then given in Austria if the person (in childbirth case: parents) to a legally recognized church or religious community include (but not for registered confessional communities or religious associations ). This registration is based on the special protective rights that the legal recognition entails (§ 14 Personal Status Ordinance - PStV).

Changes to first names and / or surnames are subject to the special norm of the Name Change Act  (NÄG).

The central civil status register brings an innovation . The existing book structure and the classic local jurisdiction are now to be dropped. For citizens, this has the advantage that in future every registry office will be able to issue birth, marriage and death certificates and there will be no need to present documents to many authorities because they will be available online. This change is planned as part of the eGovernment initiative. The start of real operation was scheduled for November 1, 2013, but was postponed by a year.

Before issuing a passport, identity card or proof of citizenship, the applicant must submit a declaration of civil status.

In the former Austria-Hungary , the civil status register was called registers.

France and Germany in the period before 1874/1876

On September 20, 1792, the French National Assembly passed a law that regulated the legal certification of the civil status of French citizens.

On June 17, 1796, the French civil status laws were announced in the Ourthe and Meuse-Inférieure departments , as well as on May 1, 1798 in the four newly established departments on the left bank of the Rhine - Department de Rhin-et-Moselle , Département de la Roer , Département de la Sarre and Département du Mont-Tonnerre .

The mayor of the respective town was responsible for the tour. In Westphalia, on the other hand, in French times, the registers were kept separate according to denomination from the local pastors and rabbis of the respective parishes.

The civil code of 1803 summarized the civil status laws and regulated the keeping of the registers. It was introduced in the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1808 and in the Grand Duchy of Berg with effect from January 1, 1810.

Around 1814, after the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine and the break-up of Prussia, state registers also found their way into the right bank of the Rhine, for example in the Electorate of Hanover , in the Kingdom of Westphalia , Duchy of Berg , Grand Duchy of Frankfurt and in the Duchy of Warsaw , in the Duchy of Nassau , Grand Duchy of Baden , on the North Sea coast and in the Hanseatic cities.

With the end of Napoleon's rule and after the reorganization of Europe by the Congress of Vienna , the civil status registers were partially abolished again. They were continued mainly in the Rhine Province , Lübeck and Bremen .

In 1874, the civil status registers in Prussia and in 1876 in the rest of the German Empire were replaced by the civil status registers that were then introduced. Since then, registrars have been entrusted with maintaining the civil status registers. In terms of content, these registers are pretty much the same as the civil status registers.

Other states

The central Infostar civil status register has existed in Switzerland since 2005 .

The same system as in Germany basically also exists in France , Belgium , the Netherlands , Italy etc. In Great Britain , the civil status does not have to be officially reported. In the USA , there is no obligation to report civil status.

Individual evidence

  1. a b an example as a form see the Austrian document announcement of the birth according to Federal Law Gazette II No. 1/2010, Annex 1 ( Annex 1a gives the anonymized version that is to be transmitted to Statistics Austria , according to § 19. Z.3 of Implementing Ordinance of the Personal Status Act, Personal Status Ordinance - PStV).
  2. a b c an example as a form see Austrian death certificate with religion according to Federal Law Gazette II No. 1/2010, Annex 11 ( Annex 11a gives the alternative death certificate without religion according to § 14 PStV).
  3. for example § 1. Z. 2 Austrian Personal Status Act (PStG 2013)
  4. a b for example § 2. ÖPStG 2013; Quote § 2, line 6
  5. Section 17 sentence 1 PStG in conjunction with Section 14 (3) sentence 1 PStG, in Bavaria in accordance with Section 17 sentence 2 PStG in conjunction with Section 23 LPartG and Article 2 (2) sentence 3 of the Act for the Implementation of the Life Partnership Act (AGLPartG) of 7 July 2009, GVBl p. 261
  6. Art. 1, Paragraph 1, Clause 1 of the Act on the Implementation of the Life Partnership Act (AGLPartG) of 7 July 2009, GVBl p. 261
  7. Federal Law on the Regulation of Civil Status (Personal Status Act 2013 - PStG 2013) RIS , accessed on 25 August 2017
  8. Name Change Act as amended in RIS.
  9. ^ Helgo Eberwein: New civil status. in: Public Safety 9–10 / 2013, p. 59 ( pdf ,
  10. Central Civil Status Register and Central Citizenship Register. From November 1, 2014 ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,, as of December 6, 2013, accessed June 20, 2014.
  11. ^ Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon. 6th edition, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1905-1909. 1909, Retrieved October 18, 2017 .