Today, 1st of October 2009, the new Family Code enters into force.
The major and most-significant amendment is the regulation of the property relations between spouses which is entirely new for Bulgaria. The revoked Family Code implemented the principle of marital community property, i.e. the property acquired during the marriage by the means of joint contribution is co- owned by the spouses. The new regulation allows the spouses to choose between three principles of regulation, namely: regime of separate property ownership, regime of community property ownership and regime of marital agreement. In case the individuals do not predetermine a principle of regulation of their property relations upon the marriage, the new Family Code states that the marital community property principle, used in the revoked Family Code, shall apply.
If the spouses choose regime of separate property ownership, the property acquired by any of them is his or her personal property. Notwithstanding the above, in case a spouse decides to dispose of his own property, which is the matrimonial home (i.e. the only property owned by any of the spouses where the family actually lives), he or she needs the approval of his or her spouse. If such approval cannot be acquired, the only option is the court to allow the deal contemplated only if the latter is in favour of the children and the family. Even in case the regime of separate property ownership applies, the spouses are liable for all debts related to the on-going maintenance of the family.
The implementation of the figure of marital agreement is another major novelty in the regulation. The marital agreement is to be executed in a written form, personally with certification of both the content and the signatures by a notary public. The agreement must be registered with a special register, being a part of the Registry Agency. In case the marital agreement contains clauses for conveyance of real estate or conveys other property rights over a real estate, the agreement shall have transfer effect and shall be registered with the Real Estate Register of the Registry Agency. The agreement may only arrange matters related to property rights acquired before or after the marriage is executed, management and disposal of property, including matrimonial home, liabilities, property relationships in case of divorce, support of children etc.
The spouses’ choice of type of marital property relationships regime shall be registered with the electronic Registrar of Property Relations of Spouses of the Registry Agency ex officio. Each and every citizen has access to the register above. The Register contains only information for the regime of marital property relations and the date of execution and termination of the marriage. The Registrar is accessible through the following web address: http://www.mrra.bg/Default.aspx .
The couples, married before the new Labour Code entered into force, are also entitled to rearrange their marital property relations. The law also allows spouses to rearrange their relations and to register the amendments in the Registrar of Property Relations of Spouses.
The new Family Code contains number of other amendments such as decrease of terms for marriage, divorce and adoption, etc.