Nuptial agreement – result of higher financial literacy of the Bulgarians

The nuptial agreement is a relatively new agreement in the Bulgarian legislation. It was introduced on October 1, 2009 as a legal institute of family law with the enforcement of the new Family Code. According to the former provision of the law, the assets acquired during the marriage were considered common property.

The nuptial agreement is an agreement made by a couple before or after they marry (prenuptial or postnuptial) concerning the ownership of their respective assets should the marriage fail. It allows the curent or the future family couples to settle in advance their property issues that may arise during the marriage or after a possible divorce. Yulita Yankova, legal adviser in a law firm told Radio Bulgaria. Thus, the family couple can make an arrangement on how the assets acquired during their marriage will be managed, who will gain possession of these assets and how their property will be divided in case of possible failure of their marriage. The nuptial agreement allows people to avoid the difficult and long lawsuit related to the division of the joint property, as well as the tension and the disputes that follow the collapse of the marriage. Moreover, the nuptial agreement allows them to avoid paying substantial costs related to the division of the joint assets.

According to data of the Registry Agency, a total of 4526 nuptial agreements were signed in Bulgaria between 2009 and 2018. In 2018 their number amounted to 953, which were 317 more as compared to the previous year. The number of marriages in Bulgaria amounts to nearly 26,000 per year. What are the most common reasons for the signature of a nuptial agreement?

On one hand, this is due to the higher financial literacy of the Bulgarian citizens, Yulita Yankova contends. People have started to care more about their property and look into ways to protect their assets. The nuptial agreement allows people to divorce quickly and the public pressure over the couple is lower. That is why many people start thinking about the consequences of a possible divorce in advance.

The number of nuptial agreements signed in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Burgas and Pleven is highest. Yulita Yankova advises people to sign this agreement right after their marriage, when the family couple will be more aware of their property status and the assets they would acquire after they get officially married. The prenuptial or the postnuptial agreement can be subject to amendments during the marriage and is no longer valid after the possible divorce. In Yulita Yankova’s words, the people who sign nuptial agreements are not people with a specific profile.

These are mainly people who acquire certain assets during their marriage and want to divide this property. Those who sign the agreement before their marriage (prenuptial agreement) are usually people in middle adulthood who have their private business or possess properties. The number of very young people signing prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not that high, because before their marriage these people are not quite aware of their future properties and perhaps they are more romantic. Prenuptial agreement between people of different nationality is very common. This agreement allows them to avoid any contradictions in law, Yulita Yankova explains.

The nuptial agreement has gained popularity, although there are still some prejudices in the Bulgarian society:

One of the major misconceptions is that nuptial agreement commercializes the love between people and that money and properties are above love and spiritual values. On the contrary, the nuptial agreement is an expression of respect between the married people and an opportunity to solve issues that innevitably occur during their life together.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: private library

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