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Bulgarian Family Law Code

 

Bulgarian Family Code (abridged)

As of October 2009

 

Chapter One

General Provisions

 

Article 1. Subject

The Family Code settles relations based on marriage, kinship adoption, as well as guardianship and tutelage.

 

Article 2. Principles

The Family relations are settled in compliance with the following principles:

1.      Protection of the marriage and the family by the state and society;

2.      Equality between the husband and wife;

3.      Voluntary nature of the conjugal life;

4.      Special protection of the children;

5.      Equality of the children born in/out of wedlock and adopted children;

6.      Respect for the personality in the family;

7.      Respect, care for and support between members of the family.

 

Article 3. Right of Marriage and Family

Each person is entitled to conclude a marriage and to raise a family under the provisions of the present Code.

 

Chapter Two

Conclusion of Marriage

 

Article 4. Civil Marriage

1.      Only the civil marriage concluded in the form prescribed by this code arises the consequences which the law associate with marriage

2.      The religious ceremony does not have legal effect.

 

Article 5. Consent of the Persons Entering into Matrimony

The marriage is concluded by mutual, voluntary and express consent of a man and a woman given personally and simultaneously before the vital statistics official

 

Article 6. Age for Entry into Matrimony

1.       A marriage may be concluded by a person over the age of 18

2.      As an exception, if important reasons impose that, a marriage may be concluded by a person who has turned 16 with the authorization of a judge in the region that person permanently resides.  If both persons entering into matrimony are minor or have different permanent addresses, the authorization is granted by the regional judge according to the address of one of the persons entering into matrimony, at their choice.

3.      The regional judge holds a hearing of the two persons entering into matrimony, their parents or the trustee of the minor person.  The opinion of the person of full legal age, of the parents or trustee may also be expressed in writing, with notarized signatures.

4.      With the entry into matrimony the minor person becomes capacitated but may dispose of a real estate only with the authorization of the regional judge according to the permanent address of the minor person. 

 

Article 7. Impediments for Conclusion of Marriage

1.      A marriage may not be concluded by a person who:

-is bound by another marriage;

-is under full judicial disability or suffers from a mental disease of has unsound mind which are reasons for his placement under full judicial disability;

-suffers from a disease which is a serious threat to the life or health of the children or the other spouse unless the spouse is familiar with such diseases.

      2.   A marriage may not be concluded between:

            -relatives in the direct line of descent;

-brothers and sisters as well as other relatives in the lateral branch, up to the fourth degree inclusive;

-persons between whom adoption creates relations of relatives in the direct line or as brothers and sisters

 

Article 8. Place of Conclusion of Marriage

1.      Persons entering matrimony are free to select the municipality where the marriage is to be concluded.

2.      The marriage is publically concluded in a place specified by the mayor of the municipality.

3.      The marriage may be conclude in another place at the discretion of the vital statistics official, if valid reasons are provided.

 

Article 9. Documents for Conclusion of Marriage

1.      Each of the persons entering into marriage presents to the vital statistics official: a declaration of unavailability of the impediments for conclusion of a marriage under article 7, a medical certificate that the person does not suffer from the diseases indicated in article 7, and a declaration that the person is informed about the other person’s diseases under article 7.

2.      If the persons entering into matrimony have chosen a regime of their property relations, they submit a common declaration, with a notary certification of their signatures about the chosen regime.  If a marital agreement is concluded, they submit a certificate of the notary public as regards to the date of the agreement and its registration number, as well as the number of the notary public under the notary chamber and the notary’s region of commissioning.

 

Article 10. Order of Concluding Marriage

1.      The vital statistics official verifies then identity and age of the person entering into matrimony, as well as the documents under article 9, submitted by them. 

2.      If no impediment for the conclusion of a marriage is discovered, the vital statistics official asks the persons entering into matrimony whether they agree to marry each other and after an express positive answer composes an act of civil marriage.  The act of marriage reflects the regime of property relations, together with the data under article 9.  In the cases when no regime of property relations is chosen, a legal community regime is entered into the act.

3.      The act is signed by the persons entering into marriage, by two witnesses and by the vital statistics official.

 

Article 11.  Validity of the Act of Marriage

1.      The marriage is considered concluded with the signing of the act for civil marriage by the persons entering the marriage and by the vital statistics official. 

2.      The marriage concluded before a person who has publically exercised the functions of a vital statistics official without having the capacity, is also valid if the persons entering into marriage did not have knowledge of that fact.

 

Article 12. Surname of the Spouses

When the act of civil marriage is compose, the persons entering into marriage declare whether they preserve their surname or adopts the surname of their spouse, or adds their spouse’s name to theirs.  The name of the other spouse with which the other spouse is publically known may also be adopted or added as a surname. 

 

Chapter 3

Personal Relations Between the Spouses

 

Article 13. Equality Between Spouses

The spouses have equal rights and liabilities in their marriage

 

Article 14. Reciprocity Between Spouses

The relations between the spouses are established on the basis of mutual consent, common care for the family and understanding.

 

Article 15. Cohabitation of the Spouses

The spouses live together, unless important reasons otherwise impose.

 

Article 16. Freedom of Personality

The spouses have the freedom to develop their personalities, to choose and exercise their professions.

 

Chapter 4

Property Relations Between Spouses

 

Article 18.  Regimes of Property Relations

(1) The regimes of property relations between the spouses are:

1.      Community property regime;

2.      Separate property regime;

3.      Contractual regime.

 

(2) The community property regime is applied when the persons entering into matrimony have not selected a regime of their property relations, as well as when they are under the age of eighteen or have been judicially declared incapacitated. 

(3) The regime of property relations is registered under the provisions of Article 19.

(4) The regime of property relations may be modified in the course of marriage.  The modification is subject to entry into the act of marriage and in the register under Article 19. 

 

Article 19. Register of Property Relations Between Spouses

(1) The marriage agreements and the applicable legal regime are filled with a central electronic register at the Registry Agency.

(2) The registration is performed ex officio on the basis of a notifice by the municipality or mayoralty where the act of civil marriage is maintained.  The notice is sent immediately to the territorial unit of the Registry Agency according to the relevant district court where the municipality is located.

(3) Modification of the legal regime, alteration and termination of the marriage agreement are noted in the act of civil marriage and are registered under par. 2 on the grounds of the documents indicated in Article 9 or under Article 27.

(4) The register under par. 1 is public.  For any references and certificates under register fees are collected according to a tariff adopted by the Council of Ministers.

( 5) The order of keeping and maintaining the register is determined by virtue of an ordinance issued by the Minister of Justice.

 

Article 20. Protection of Third Parties

In the event of an arrangement between one or both spouses with a third party where no regime of property relations is entered into the register, the community property regime is applied.

  

Article 21. Conjugal Property Community

(1) Real rights acquired during the marriage as a result of common contributions belong jointly to both spouses, irrespective of the name in which they are acquired.

(2) The common contribution may be expressed through putting efforts, labor, care for the children and housekeeping.

(3) The common contribution is presumed until otherwise proven.

(4) A claim for considerably larger contributions may be initiated by:

            -a spouse during the marriage of after its dissolution;

            -a spouse’s heir.

 

Article 22.  Personal Property

(1) Real rights acquired prior to the marriage, as well as such acquired during marriage by gift and descent belong to the spouse who has acquired them.  Personal are also real rights acquired by one of the spouses when a creditor had initiated execution for personal debt of the other spouse under Chapter 44 of the Civil Procedure Code upon real rights which are conjugal community property. 

(2) Personal are movables acquired by one of the spouses during marriage intended for ordinary personal uses, for exercising a profession or craft.

(3) Personal are real rights acquired by a spouse, sole proprietor during the marriage for the exercise of business activity and are included in the spouse’s enterprise. 

 

Article 23.  Transformation of Personal Property

(1) Personal are real rights acquired during marriage entirely by personal property under Article 22 or by other personal property acquired prior to or during marriage.

(2) Where real rights are partially acquired by personal property under Par. 1, personal ownership of each spouse is the relevant part of the acquisition, unless such a part is insignificant. 

Article 24. Management and Disposal of Community Property

(1) The spouses have equal rights upon the community property.  For the duration of their marriage neither of the spouses may dispose of the share which the spouse would be entitled to in the event of termination of the property community.

(2) Management of the community property may be carried out by any of the spouses.

(3) Disposal of the common property is performed jointly by both spouses.

(4) Disposal of a real right upon community immovable property, performed by one of the spouses is contestable.  The other spouse may initiate a claim within six months as from the date this has become known to that spouse, but not later than three years as from its performance.

(5) In case of disposal of a real right upon movable community property for value, performed by one of the spouses without joinder of the other, the third party acquires the right if it has not known or in the relevant circumstances, could not have had adequate knowledge of the lack of consent on behalf of the other spouse.  In case of gratuitous disposal of movable community property or disposal for which a written form and signatures certified by a notary public are required, par. 4 must apply. 

 

Article 25. Disposal of Personal Property

Each of the spouses may enter into an agreement for disposal of their personal property with third parties or the other spouse.

 

Article 26. Disposal of Homestead-Personal Property

The activities pertaining to disposal of the homestead-personal property of one of the spouses are performed with the consent of the other spouse if both spouses do not possess another homestead-community property

 

Article 27. Termination of Conjugal Property Community

(1)The conjugal property community is terminated with the dissolution of the marriage.

(2)The conjugal property community may be terminated during marriage by order of the court if important reasons impose it.

(3)The conjugal property community may be terminated during marriage if the spouses choose a separate property regime or enter into a marriage agreement.

(4)Execution initiated by a creditor upon a chattel - conjugal property community under

Chapter forty four of the Civil Procedure Code for personal debt of one of the spouses terminates the community upon it.

(5)The conjugal property community is terminated with the enforcement of a judgment for insolvency proceedings against a spouse-sole proprietor or a unlimited liability partner.

 

Article 28.  Spouses’ Interests

In case of termination of the property community the spouses have equal interests.

 

Article 29. Determination of a larger interest of one of the spouses

1) In case of termination of the conjugal property community by divorce the court may determine a larger interest in the common property to the spouse who is granted the custody of the minor children, if it gives rise to particular difficulties for the spouse.

(2) The spouse who is granted custody of minor children obtains chattels intended for their upbringing in addition to the spouse's interest.

(3) In case of termination of the community by divorce or under Art. 27 (2) the court may determine a larger interest in the common property to one of the spouses if that spouse's contribution related to its acquisition considerably exceeds the contribution of the other spouse.

 

Article 30.  Partition of personal property

(1) In case of divorce each spouse is entitled to a part of the value of profession or craft-related chattels from the receivables of the other spouse acquired during their marriage if they are at a considerable value and the spouse has contributed to their acquisition with labour, funds, care for the children or housekeeping. Such a claim may be initiated prior to the divorce if the conduct of the spouse who has acquired the property threatens the interests of the other spouse or of the children.

(2)Paragraph 1 is also applied for the cases under Art. 22 (3)

 

Article 31. Time limits for initiation of claims

The claims under Art. 29 (3) and Art. 30 may be initiated within one year as of dissolution of the marriage or of the termination of the conjugal property community, and under Art. 29, Par. 1 and 2 - within one year as from the enforcement of the judgment for the custody of the children.

Article 32.  Responsibility for Liabilities

(1)The costs for the everyday necessaries of the family are covered by both spouses.

(2)The spouses bear joint liability for obligations pertaining to coverage of the everyday necessaries of the family.

 

Separate Property Regime

 

Article 33.  Separate Property

(1) The rights acquired by each spouse during marriage are their personal property.

(2)On dissolution of the marriage under a statement of a claim each spouse is entitled to a part of the property acquired by the other during marriage, depending on the spouse's contributions through labour, funds, care for the children, housework, etc.

 

Article 34.  Disposal of Homestead

Article 26 is applied for the disposal of the homestead.

 

Article 35.  Leaving Personal Property for Use

Where one of the spouses has left to the other a chattel for use, unless otherwise provided by an arrangement, the user owes only the fruits available on the date of their request in writing.

 

Article 36. Responsibility for family obligations

(1)The costs pertaining to everyday necessaries of the family are borne by both spouses.

(2)The spouses bear joint liability for obligations undertaken as regards to current necessaries of the family.

 

Contractual Regime

 

Article 37.  Marriage Agreement

(1)Persons entering into marriage may arrange their property relationship by means of a marriage agreement.

(2)A marriage agreement may be entered into only by capacitated persons.

(3)A marriage agreement may also be concluded by the spouses during their marriage.

 

 

Article 38. Content of Marriage Agreement

(1)The marriage agreement contains arrangements pertaining solely to property relations between the parties, such as:

1. the rights of the parties upon the property acquired during their marriage;

2. the rights of the parties upon the property possessed by them prior to their marriage;

3. the methods of maintenance and disposal of the property, inclusive of the homestead;

4. the interests of the parties in the costs and liabilities;

5. property consequences of a divorce;

6. support of the spouses during their marriage and alimony after a divorce;

7. support of the children of their marriage;

8. other property relations, without prejudice to the regulations contained in this Code.

 

(2)Property relations between the parties may also be arranged through reference to any of the legal regimes. An arrangement for conversion of premarital property of any of the parties into conjugal property community is not permissible.

(3)The marriage agreement may not contain provisions in case of death. The restriction does not apply to provisions related to the spouses' interests on termination of the arranged conjugal property community.

(4)For any property issues unsettled in the marriage agreement the community property regime is applied.

 

 

Article 39. Conclusion of Marriage Agreement

(1)A marriage agreement is personally concluded by the parties in writing, with notarization of its content and their signatures.

(2)A marriage agreement transferring right of ownership or establishing or transferring another real right upon property is certified by a notary public commissioned for the region where the property is located. Where the properties, subject of the agreement are located in the regions of different notaries the certification is performed by a notary public in one of these regions, at the discretion of the parties.

(3)The agreement transferring right of ownership or establishing or transferring another real right upon a real estate arises the effect of a transfer and is entered into the property register.

(4)Where the marriage agreement is concluded during marriage its conclusion is noted

Into the act of civil marriage and the agreement is registered under Art. 19 (2). Ii

 

Article 40. Effect of Marriage Agreement

(1)The marriage agreement becomes effective on conclusion of the marriage; if it is entered into during marriage - as from the date of conclusion of the agreement or from another date specified therein.

(2)The agreement may not concern rights acquired by third parties prior to its conclusion.

 

Article 41. Modification of the marriage agreement

(1)The marriage agreement is modified in the format of its conclusion.

(2)As regards to third parties Art. 40 (2) is applied.

 

Article 42. Termination and Suspension of Marriage Agreement

(1)The marriage agreement is terminated:

1. by mutual consent of the parties; in this case they may choose a legal property regime or may enter into a new agreement; failing to do so - the community property regime is applied;

2. at the request of one of the spouses in case of major changes in the circumstances, if the agreement seriously threatens the interests of the other spouse, the minor children or the family;

3. on dissolution of the marriage, except the clauses settling the consequences of the dissolution of the marriage and are intended to continue their effectiveness afterwards.

 

(2)The marriage agreement may be suspended by order of the court under Art. 87 (1) of the Obligations and Contracts Act, if this does not contradict the principles of this code and the good manners. The suspension may also be partial. The suspension has future effectiveness.

 

Article 43. Invalidity of Marriage Agreement

1) The general regulations for invalidity of contracts are applied as regards to the marriage agreement.

(2)The invalidation has future effect. In this case the spouses may either choose a property regime or conclude a new agreement. Failing to do so, the community property regime is applied.

 

Dissolution of Marriage

 

Article 44. Grounds

The marriage is dissolved:

1. by death of one of the spouses;

2. by invalidation of the marriage;

3. by divorce.

 

Article 45. Termination of Marriage in Case of Declared Death

(1)When the death of one of the spouses is announced by the court the marriage is terminated with the enforcement of the judgment.

(2)If it turns out that the person declared dead is alive the terminated marriage is restored.

 

Article 46. Grounds for Invalidation of Marriage

1) A marriage is invalidated when:

1. on conclusion Art. 6 and 7 were infringed;

2. the consent for marriage was given as a result of threat of serious and impending risk for the life, health or the honor of the person entering into marriage or to the person's relatives.

(2)No arguments may be based on the invalidity of the marriage until it is declared by the court.

 

Article 47. Initiation of a Claim for Dissolution of Marriage

(1)A claim for dissolution of a marriage may be initiated:

1. if Art. 6 is violated-by the minor spouse, not later than 6 months as from reaching majority, if the spouse does not have children from the marriage and the wife is not pregnant;

2. in the case under Art. 46, Par. 1, Subpar. 2 - by the threatened spouse, not later than one year as from conclusion of the marriage;

3. in the case under Art. 7, Par. 1, Subpar. 1 - by any of the spouses, by the prosecutor and by the spouse from the first marriage;

4. in the cases under Art. 7, Par. 1, Subpar.2 and 3and Par. 2, by any of the spouses and by the prosecutor.

 

(2)When two marriages of a person to different spouses are alleged the marriage may not be invalidated if the prior marriage is dissolved.

(3)Where a marriage is concluded contrary to the provisions of Art. 7, Par. 1, Subpar. 1, the spouse from the first marriage, the spouse from the marriage in a process of invalidation as well as the prosecutor may request ascertainment of the grounds for invalidation of the marriage even after the death of the spouse who has entered into two marriages.

(4)In the event of violation of Art. 7, Par. 1, Subpar. 2, the claim may be initiated by the sick or incapacitated spouse not later than 6 months as from the spouse's recovery or from the cancellation of the incapacitation, and by the other spouse or by the prosecutor -until the recovery or cancellation of the incapacitation.

(5)In case of violation of Art. 7, Par. 1, Subpar. 3, the marriage may not be invalidated if the sick spouse has recovered.

(6)In case of violation of Art. 7, Par. 2, Subpar. 3, the marriage may not be invalidated if the adoption is terminated.

 

Article 48. Consequences of Invalidation of Marriage

(1)The invalidation of a marriage has future effect.

(2)The presumption for fatherhood under Art. 61 is also valid for the children conceived or born during the invalidated marriage.

(3)The provisions as regards to the consequences of the divorce for the personal and property relationship between the spouses as well as for the relationship between the mother and the children are applied in the same manner on invalidation of the marriage. Bad faith on invalidation of the marriage is relevant to guilt in case of divorce.

 

Article 49. Divorce by Disruption of Marriage

(1)Any of the spouses may request divorce when the marriage is deeply and irreparable disrupted.

(2)The court urges the spouses to reconciliation through mediation or other methods of voluntary settlement of the dispute.

(3)By the judgment for admission of the divorce the court also passes judgment on the guilt for the disruption of the marriage if any of the spouses has so requested.

(4)At any stage of the suit the spouses may submit to the court an agreement regarding all or any of the consequences of the divorce.

(5)The court ratifies the agreement under Par. 4 after ensuring that the interests of the children are protected. The court may request a statement from Social Support Directorate.

 

Article 50. Divorce by Mutual Consent

In case of serious and inflexible consent of the spouses on divorce the court permits the divorce without searching for their motives for dissolution of their marriage.

 

Article 51. Agreement Between Spouses in Case of Divorce by Mutual Consent

(1)In case of divorce by mutual consent the spouses present an agreement regarding the place of residence of the children, parentage, personal relationship and child support, as well as regarding the homestead use, spouses' alimony and the family name.They may also agree on other matters ensuing from the divorce.

(2)The agreement under Par. 1 is ratified by the court after ensuring that the children's interests are protected. The court may request a statement from Social Support Directorate.

(3)If the agreement is incomplete or the children's interest are not well protected the court gives a time limit for elimination of the discrepancies. If the discrepancies are not eliminated within that time limit the court disregards the application for divorce.

(4)Change in the place of residence, parentage, the personal relationship and children's support may be applied for in case of change in the circumstances.

 

Article 52. Continuation of Divorce by Heirs

(1)The right to a divorce is not transferred to the heirs.

(2)The descents or parents called to inheritance may continue the proceedings if the plaintiff has petitioned judgment on the guilt, in order to establish the substantiation of the initiated claim on the basis of the guilty conduct of the surviving spouse indicated by the plaintiff.

(3)The court rejects the claim if the surviving spouse is not guilty for the disruption of the

 

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