In a case of international marriages where one of the spouses is a Bulgarian citizen or when one of the parents is a Bulgarian citizen, or when the children live on the territory of Bulgaria, we can be useful in the following directions:

- in the matter of divorce with Bulgarian citizen or applying for divorce in Bulgaria when the spouses have permanent residence in the country (for EU citizens). When the spouses are citizens of the European Union, then the relevant jurisdiction shall be determined under the Regulation 2019/1111. Non-EU citizens married to Bulgarian citizens are allowed to obtain a divorce in Bulgaria, observing the provisions of the Bulgarian International Private Code.

If the foreign citizen has no address in Bulgaria or his address abroad is unknown, it`s not an obstacle for the Bulgarian citizen to apply for divorce in Bulgaria, there is a special procedure in the Bulgarian legislation.

If the couple has children born during the marriage, the divorce claim must be connected with parental rights claim – it` s a mandatory requirement of the Bulgarian family law.

We can help with the divorce as to draft the settlement agreement (in case of divorce by mutual consent) or to prepare all of the court documentation on your behalf (in case of divorce by claim), to advise you on each step of the process till the final decree of divorce, including to assist for arranging the financial matters.

- in case of parental rights and personal contacts disputes between the parents – the matter is much more complicated when both parents are fighting for custody over the children. The best solution would be signing of settlement agreement but if not possible, the dispute must be resolved from the court. For EU citizens the competent court shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation “Brussels IIa”.

In case of settling the custody and contacts matter the court is asking for preparing of social reports for both of the parents about their parental capacity, home conditions, job position, if they could rely on relatives to take care of the children, etc. All this should be also confirmed by testimony of witnesses; the court should take the final decision only following the principle for “protecting the best children `s interests” and is not bound from the parents` requests.

The cases in Bulgaria are moving extremely slowly, the process could take place even 2-3 years, if one of the parents appeals the first-instance ruling. Thus, in most of the cases, once the process starts, the judge could determine “temporary measures” (interim measures) which means that until the court process is moving, one of the parents should exercise temporarily the parental rights over the children and the children shall live with that parent; the other parent is determined a visitation regime. The court order for temporary measures can be subject to executive actions taken by private bailiff.

If the parent who is entitled to exercise temporarily the regime of personal contacts does not live in Bulgaria, two legal options could be used:

- the main parent, who exercises the parental rights temporarily, to sign a notary verified consent as to allow the other parent to take the children in his country for the time of the personal contacts determined by the court. However, parents often have conflicts between each other and this rarely happens.

- the law provides a special claim for replacing the consent of the parent who is not giving permission the children to cross the Bulgarian border. There is a controversial legal practice if this claim could be connected or not in the process for parental rights, it depends on the subjective judgment of the respective judge. If it occurs that the claim must be handled in a separate process, this case become practically useless and in fact the parent could not exercise his visitation regime abroad but is obliged to come every time in Bulgaria. It is because the process is moving very slowly, the parents are obliged to ensure again all relevant legal evidence which are collected in custody case (including social reports, witnesses, etc.), first-instance ruling is again subject of appeal. Following that, very often the restricted parent is forced, due to the above circumstances, to come to Bulgaria for the time of the determined regime as to exercise his personal contacts.

- There are many cases when the children develop a Parental alienation syndrome because of the conflict between the parents and because the parent who is not living in Bulgaria has not permanent contacts with the children. In case of custody claim, if this syndrome is proved before the court with a psychological expertise, then the practice is the parental rights to be finally granted to the alienated parent.

Even though, it` s very often when the children who are suffering from PAS refuse to leave with the that parent. In that case the only authorized person, having the legal possibility to take the children from the other parent, is the bailiff. However, the practice shows that the executive procedure is hard and stressing for the children and most of the bailiffs refuse to take executive actions and to press the children, they rely again on the help of psychologists, social workers, etc. So, even the alienated parent has a final court ruling, which allows him to take the children in his domicile abroad, if the children are suffering from PAS or are not willing to leave Bulgaria at any other reason, the legal options for enforcement of the court ruling are very limited. Unfortunately, when the parents does not achieve good relations and mutual help and trust to each other as well as if there is no agreement achieved by mutual consent between the parents, the only suffering are the children.

Parental rights cases are long and hard battles, but you could count on our professional help, experience and quick reactions. We could be in help in respect of preparing of settlement agreement and determination of contacts regime plus representation in the court for approving the agreement as well as we represent the parents in the whole court process in case of custody petitions, appeals, executive procedures with bailiffs, etc.

- in case of child abduction- should one of the parents takes the child to another EU country without the other parent's permission or in breach of a court ruling, then the case is defined as "abduction" under the 1980 Hague Convention. In addition to the Hague Convention, the protection of the other parent is determined in the Regulation of EU N 2201/2003.

In case of protection under the Regulation 2201/2003, the Bulgarian court should be competent if the child has had a place of residence in Bulgaria before the abduction as well as if 1 year, following the abduction, has not been expired.

If the protection is in accordance with the Hague Convention, then the competent court shall be the court where the child was taken. It should be underlined that not every country in the world is a party under the Hague Convention which means that if the child is taken to a country, which is not a member of the Hague convention, then the procedure for protection could not be started.

In case of protection under the Hague Convention, an application must be submitted to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, which is shall officially contact the relevant body in the country where the child is located. The Ministry of Justice is able to initiate a case before the competent court and to resolve the case.

Our law company could be able to assist you in the defense in both cases:
- to initiate a case before a Bulgarian court in the case of protection under the Regulation AND
- to represent the parent before the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria, if the defense is under the Hague Convention.

- arrangement of financial issues - very often the Bulgarian courts become an arena of court battles between ex-spouses who have common properties in Bulgaria. In case of possession of common property in Bulgaria, before starting the divorce procedure, the spouses could sign a marriage contract, arranging the ownership over the common assets and the property relations after the divorce. The contract must be verified before the Notary Public in Bulgaria and has to be registered in the Bulgarian Land registry.

If there is no valid marriage agreement, then after the termination of the marriage by the court the ex- spouses could settle their property relations voluntarily (signing of separation agreement before the Notary).

If the relations between the ex-spouses could not be resolved by mutual consent, then a law case before the Court should be initiated.

It should be mentioned that in Bulgaria the litigation lasts several years, involves court and legal costs as the court separation of the property has two separate legal phases as each one is appealed in three instances. That's why it is recommendable, in the absence of a marriage contract, the ex-spouses to settle their relations voluntarily as to avoid legal case.

Our company could be able to assist you in every legal stage until resolving of the legal issues:

- preparation of a marriage contract with a clear content

- assisting in the process of negotiations between the ex-spouse for voluntary settlement of the dispute and signing the agreement

- if the dispute cannot be settled voluntarily, we could assist you in initiation and conducting the litigation process before the Bulgarian courts


The inheritance under the Bulgarian law could be two different types- by law and by will. The inheritance by law is applicable if no will takes place.

The practice shows that the people in Bulgaria prefer to make disposition deals with their properties while they are alive, using agreements such as donation, sale, contract for maintenance and care, etc. as the disposing person very often "reserves the right of use" over the property till the end of his life; in such of case the owner has no possibility to use the properties.

While the wills are recognized and widespread practice in another countries, in Bulgaria the wills are disputable and not a preferable way of settling property. Instead, purchase, sale, contracts for maintenance and care are much preferred due to its security as legal options.

In the legal practice in Bulgaria there are often cases where the testator /usually foreign person/ disposes of all his assets around the world, including with properties in Bulgaria, as the will is made under the law provisions of another country, but must be executed in Bulgaria in respect of the Bulgarian property. Such cases are creating legal problems in practice and often the dispute should be resolved in the court room due to the lack of imperative instructions under the Bulgarian law how it should be proceeded.

In this connection, the EU Regulation650/2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession is trying to avoid such possible legal disputes, settling that all the issues related with the cross-border /international inheritance (succession) must be resolved by one court and under one law. The principle is that the courts of the member state in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death shall have jurisdiction to rule on the succession as a whole but there could be exceptions. Also, the Regulations establishes the procedure for issuing of European Certificate of Inheritance/Succession which is very helpful in resolving the matter with the foreign wills – please see our article “European Certificate of Succession” published in the section “Our magazine”.

The relations with the foreign wills are also subject of regulation under the Bulgarian International Private Law Code, so it`s very important to be  carefully observed which legal act shall be applicable in the individual case (please see our article “Succession of immovable property” published in the section “Our magazine”).

Bulgarian law also recognizes "the right of the reserved part from the succession", which is related with gratuitous acts such as donation and will. It means that despite the property has been donated or bequeathed in favor of a third person, first-line relatives of the testator have the right to contest the act and claim for their ideal part from the property or pretend its monetary equivalent. Therefore, both donation and will (as dispositions acts) are not preferred as it could affect the rights of the closest relatives.

The contract for maintenance and care is also a specific institution for the Bulgarian law, which raises immediately right of ownership for the person who accepts to take care for the disposing person, but the contract is practically legally indisputable by the other heirs.

We are offering services in every aspects of the above items, including assistance and consultation on concluding the most profitable and indisputable transaction in the concrete case, representation before a notary, preparation of the entire package of documents, making searches in the Land registry for the lack of burdens, representation in the court room in case of legal dispute, assistance for issuing of the European Certificate of Inheritance/Succession from the Bulgarian court.