International Divorce & Family Law: Bulgaria
We are a well-known international family law firm and our clients include those who originate from Bulgaria but now live in the UK, or their spouse is Bulgarian, or they were married in Bulgaria.
Here we discuss some of the specifics regarding family law relating to Bulgaria.
Under the Bulgarian Family Code there are three ways to obtain a divorce:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage – either spouse can petition for a divorce on the grounds that the marriage has broken down or is ‘disrupted’. Article 49 of the Family Code doesn’t specify a minimum time for such a petition to be brought and it’s up to the spouse bringing the petition to prove that the marriage has broken down as a result of the behaviour of the other spouse.
- No-fault divorce –Both sides present an agreement to the court on financial and other matters for the court to approve.
- Mutual consent divorce – Under Article 50 of the Family Code spouses can agree to divorce. Unlike England and Wales there is no mandatory period of separation before a couple can seek a divorce by mutual consent. But the marriage must have lasted at least three years and couples may be asked to attend counselling before asking the court for a divorce.
In any divorce involving children, as in the UK the courts will put the interests of the children first in any decision it makes.
What About Finances In A Bulgarian Divorce?
Married couples in Bulgaria can choose to own property jointly, separately or as stipulated in a contract (prenuptial agreement). The family home however cannot be disposed of without the consent of both spouses following divorce. In a divorce the courts will divide property according to the property ownership regime chosen by the couple.
Maintenance rules are tighter than in England and Wales. For example:
- Maintenance is only paid to a spouse who has not caused the breakdown of the marriage.
- Payment of maintenance is limited to three years except in extremely rare cases.
Seeking Advice On Bulgarian Family Law
There are significant differences in the way the courts in Bulgaria and those in England decide family law issues. So it’s essential to get specialist family law advice if your case includes an element of Bulgarian law or either spouse is Bulgarian
Because the courts in either country may be able to decide matters you may need to act quickly to ensure the country that is likely to be more sympathetic to your position is put in charge of proceedings. That’s because the spouse who initiates proceedings will usually get to determine which country’s courts actually handle the divorce case.
Here at Brookman we act for Bulgarian nationals living in the UK, British citizens resident in Bulgaria who wish to divorce, people married in Bulgaria who need advice on family law matters and individuals seeking advice on international child dispute matters where one parent lives in Bulgaria and the other in the UK.
Or call us: +44 (0)20 7430 8470