Updated on 10.04.2024 

Divorce is a way to dissolve a civil marriage through court proceedings. In Bulgaria divorce can be sought:

  • by mutual consent of the spouses; or 

  • in the event of a deep and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The procedure for the dissolution of a marriage by mutual consent is quicker than in the event of a deep and irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the spouses. 


Who can ask for a divorce in Bulgaria? 

You can seek a divorce at a Bulgarian court if:

  • both spouses are Bulgarian citizens;

  • one spouse is a Bulgarian citizen and the other a foreigner;

  • both spouses are foreign nationals if both or at least one of them has habitual residence in Bulgaria.

The country in which you are deemed to be habitually resident is the country with which you have lasting ties. For this purpose, it is taken into account, for example, whether you work in that country, whether you live there and have a residence permit, where your family is and other factors of a personal or professional nature. 

How can I apply for a divorce at a Bulgarian court?

For divorce due to marital breakdown 

If the divorce is not based on munual agreement but is because there is a breakdown in your relationship, then one spouse files an application against the other at the regional court in accordance with the permanent address of the spouse against whom the application is filed

In this application, you must describe what has caused this breakdown in your marriage and why it cannot be overcome. For example, you don’t live together anymore, there is a lack of emotional and spiritual connection between the two of you, one spouse is in a relationship with another person, etc. 

To the application you should also attach copies of:

  • marriage certificate;

  • birth certificate of the children, if any;

  • power of attorney for a lawyer;

  • evidence of the breakdown of the marriage, if any;

  • proof of payment of the state fee at the time of filing the application - 25 BGN

Note that the court, once it has ruled on the case, may set an additional fee of 20 to 50 BGN

In a divorce case, including a divorce by mutual agreement (see next section), when you reach an agreement on alimony/child support as well as on your property relations, you will also need to pay a fee for:

  • the agreement on property relations - 2 per cent on the value of each share;

  • the alimony/child support agreement - 2 per cent on 3 years' payments.

If you do not have the financial ability to pay the court fee, you can be exempted. To do this, you need to file an application to the court stating the reasons and evidence why you are financially unable to pay the fee. The court will look at the application as well as your and your family's income, your health, your employment status, your age and other relevant circumstances. 

Divorce by mutual agreement

When you divorce by mutual agreement, both spuses file an application together at the regional court at the spouses' permanent address. If the spouses are living separately at the time of filing, then you decide whose permanent address to file the application at. 

You must prepare an agreement which you submit to the court. In this agreement you must arrange:

  • where your children (if you have any) will live;

  • how you will exercise your parental rights and what your personal relationship with the children will be;

  • what the children’s child support will be;

  • who will use the family home and how;

  • whether alimony is owed and how much;

  • whether or not one spouse will keep the surname of the other;

  • any other consequences of the divorce that you want to agree on.

The court must confirm this agreement.

In the case of a divorce by mutual agreement, you need to pay an initial state fee of 25 BGN. When the court accepts the divorce, it again adds an additional fee of up to 40 BGN. See also the additional fees mentioned above regarding property and alimony/child support agreements. 

Regardless of whether the divorce is by mutual agreement or the fault of one of the spouses, we advise you to consult a a lawyer specializing in family law. The lawyer will guide and advise you if there are any specifics regarding your case and help with filing an application or preparing an agreement before the court. 

Finding a good lawyer in Bulgaria


Consequences of divorce

 Financial and property consequences

When getting married in Bulgaria, spouses usually choose how to divide and manage their property (homes, cars, etc.)  acquired during the marriage. The options are:

  • Matrimonial community property regime - the property acquired during the marriage as a result of a joint contribution belongs jointly to both spouses, regardless of whose name it was acquired under. Anything acquired before the marriage, items received as an inheritance or gift for one spouse, items which, although acquired during the marriage, are for the spouse's ordinary private use, as well as items which the spouse uses to perform his or her work, remains the personal property of each spouse.

This regime also applies automatically if you have not expressly chosen one of the options below. 

  • Regime of devision - property acquired by each spouse during the marriage is his/her personal property;

  • You can settle your property relations with a marriage contract which details whose will be the property acquired before and/or after the marriage, the disposition of the property, how you will share the expenses and obligations, the property consequences and alimony/child support payable upon divorce;

  • Another regime if the marriage was contracted abroad and the law of a country other than Bulgaria applies.

Which of the above options you choose when you got married also determines what happens after the divorce. In any case, below we list some of the general consequences for your property after divorce:

  1. The matrimonial property community is terminated, i.e. your common/joint property with your spouse acquired during the marriage becomes ordinary joint property with each of you having your own share. 

  2. It is possible for one spouse to receive a larger share of the joint property in the following cases:

  • By a court decision, when the spouse who has been granted custody has difficulty raising the children. 

  • The spouse who has been granted custody may, in addition to his/her share of the matrimonial property, also claim those things which are necessary for the upbringing of the children.

  • Additionally, a larger share of the community property may be granted by the court to one spouse in cases where the contribution of that spouse to the acquisition of the property significantly exceeds the contribution of the other spouse. 

  1. You may also receive a share of the other spouse's personal property if the items were acquired during the marriage and if they are of substantial value and you contributed to their acquisition by your labour, your resources, your care for the children, or your work in the household. 

  2. You may bring an action in respect of an item of matrimonial property to establish that the other spouse did not contribute anything to its acquisition. In this way, this property can become your personal property.

  3. If your matrimonial home cannot be used separately by both spouses, the court shall allocate the home to one spouse if he/she has requested it and needs it.

  4. After the divorce, the spouses lose the status of potential heirs of each other upon death. 

Non-financial consequences 

  1. After the divorce, the spouses may recover their surnames from before the marriage. 

  2. If you are a foreigner with residence permit in Bulgaria, obtained because you are the spouse of a Bulgarian citizen or a foreigner with a residence permit in Bulgaria, you will lose your right of residence upon divorce in the following cases:

  • If less than 7 years have passed since getting married to the foreign resident.

  • If less than 5 years have passed since getting married to the Bulgarian citizen.

  • However, in the above two cases, the Foreigners’ Administrative Control Services may issue you with a single permit for a period of up to 1 year if your family has lived continuously and legally in Bulgaria for at least 2 years.

  1. If you have been granted a residence permit in Bulgaria on the grounds that you have already been issued a residence permit by another EU Member State as a family member of a Bulgarian citizen exercising the right of free movement, then you can keep your right of residence after the divorce if you work in Bulgaria, have health insurance, can support yourself and your family financially. In addition to this, at least one of the following circumstances must be present: 

  • Your marriage lasted at least 3 years, of which 1 year in Bulgaria; 

  • You have custody over your children by court order; 

  • You were a victim of domestic violence before the divorce; or

  • You have a right granted by a court to visit your minor child who is in Bulgaria. 

  1. If there is a change in your name and address, you will also need to renew your residence permit in Bulgaria. You must apply for new identity documents within 30 days and hand over your old document. If there is a change in your name and the change is not already recorded in the National Population Database, also submit the divorce decree stating the name change. For further information on change of address see this article:

Address registration and Bulgarian identity documents

  1. Consequences related to excersising parental rights when there are children under 18:

  • The spouses may, by an agreement approved by the court, agree on the exercise of parental rights for their children under the age of 18.

  • If you cannot agree and are arguing about who should have custody, the court determines how custody will be exercised.  It will determine which parent the child/children should live with, custody arrangements, the personal relationship between the child/children and the parents, and the child support.