The Marriage Contract in Bulgaria regulates only the property relations between present or future spouses.
According to the Bulgarian Family Code the spouses may choose between the following property regimes:
- matrimonial community of property. In this case the properties acquired during marriage as a result of joint contribution become equally owned by both spouses in common, regardless of the fact in whose name they have been acquired;
- statutory regime of separation of property. The rights acquired by each spouse during marriage remain his or her personal property;
- contractual regime.
The Law allows marrying partners to settle their property relations in a marriage contract. A marriage contract in Bulgaria may be concluded also during marriage.
Marriage contracts shall be registered at the Registry Agency. The registration is performed ex officio on the basis of a notice from the municipality or mayoralty the register of which keeps the civil marriage certificate. The change and termination of the marriage contract shall be specified in the civil marriage certificate and registered at the Registry Agency.
Contents of the Marriage Contract
The marriage contract contains arrangements concerning only property relations of spouses, such as:
- rights of the parties over property to be acquired during marriage;
- the parties’ rights over their prenuptial property;
- ways of managing and disposing with property, including the marital home;
- participation of the parties in the family costs and liabilities;
- proprietary effects in case of divorce;
- maintenance of spouses during marriage and in the event of divorce;
- maintenance of the children born in the marriage;
- other property relations.
Any provisions regulating personal relations between spouses are not valid.
A clause envisaging the transformation of prenuptial property of either party into common matrimonial property is not valid. As well, the marriage contract may not include clauses concerning the event of death. This restriction does not apply to the disposal with the shares of the spouses upon termination of agreed matrimonial community of property.
Conclusion of a Marriage Contract
The marriage contract shall be concluded by the parties in person and given in writing with notarized content and signatures. The parties cannot be represented by proxy.
In order to conclude a marriage contract in Bulgaria the notary public requires the following documents:
- civil marriage certificate;
- notary deed – in case of transferring ownership or establishing rights in rem over real estates;
- abstracts from the cadastral map, drawings of self-contained properties within a building or sketches – in case of transferring ownership or establishing rights in rem over real estates;
- a tax valuation of the real estate – in case of transferring ownership or establishing rights in rem over real estates.
A marriage contract transferring ownership or instating or transferring another right in rem over real estates has the effect of transfer and shall be entered into the property register on the day of the attestation by the notary public, where the contract is concluded during the marriage. Where it is concluded prior to the marriage, the contract shall be submitted for entry by the notary public on the date on which the notary public receives the certificate of civil marriage.
A marriage contract enters into force from the date of marriage. When concluded during marriage, the contract takes effect from:
- the date of conclusion of the contract, or
- any other date specified therein.
It is important to be noted that the contract shall have no prejudice to rights acquired by third parties prior to its conclusion.
A marriage contract shall be amended in writing with notarized content and signatures.
Termination of a Marriage Contract
A marriage contract shall be terminated in any of the following cases:
- at the mutual consent of the parties. The spouses may choose a statutory regime or conclude another marriage contract, otherwise the statutory regime of community of property shall govern;
- at the claim of either spouse in the event of material change of circumstances, where the contract presents a serious threat to the interests of this spouse, the children under age or the family;
- upon dissolution of marriage, except for the clauses settling the effects of termination and intended to apply afterwards.