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Bulgaria

Country information

Bulgaria

1. International Family Mediation

Family mediation, in Bulgaria, is legally recognised. According to the Bulgaria’s Mediation Act (2004), mediation can be provided in cases of family dispute by professional mediators from the Unified Register of the Ministry of Justice. You can find mediators or organisations that provide mediation service in Bulgaria here (website is in Bulgarian).

International Social Service Bulgaria (ISS Bulgaria) provides a mediation-based approach and identifies appropriate family mediation services to help parents find an extra-judicial solution to their conflict and to help find the best solution for the involved children.

There is no structure specialised on international family mediation in Bulgaria, but the Network of Cross-border Family Mediators has created a global database which identifies expert family mediators who specialise in cross-border family conflict.

1) Bulgaria is a Party to the 1980 Hague Convention.

The 1980 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which provides procedural guidelines on the return of children and their protection in cases of international parental child abduction.

Contact the Central Authority established in Bulgaria for cases of child abduction (operational languages: Bulgarian, English, French and Russian). Consult the website of the Ministry of Justice in Bulgarian here.

2) Bulgaria is a Party to the 1996 Hague Convention.

The 1996 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which determines jurisdiction, applicable law, co-operation in respect of parental responsibility and access rights, as well as civil and public measures for the protection or care of children. 

Contact the Central Authority established in Bulgaria for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children. Consult the website of the Ministry of Justice in Bulgarian here.

3) Bulgaria is a Party to the Brussels IIA Regulation.

Brussels IIA: a legal instrument of the European Union to help resolve family disputes involving more than one country, over divorce, all parental responsibilities and, in particular, the custody of children. Brussels IIA is a regulation applicable to all European Union Member states (except Denmark). The regulation prevails over the 1996 Hague Convention in cases where the child’s habitual residence is within a European Union Member state (except Denmark). Please be aware that if a decision on access and/or custody rights is taken by a court from the European Union, the regulation foresees that a State Party to the 1996 Hague Convention must recognise the court decision.

Contact the Central Authority established in Bulgaria designated under the 1996 Hague Convention for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children (operational languages: Bulgarian, English, French and Russian). Consult the website of the Ministry of Justice in Bulgarian here.

You can determine whether countries relevant to your case are Parties, or not, to the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection and/or Brussels IIA (except Denmark) in order to locate the appropriate central authority. As for the 1980 Hague Convention, you can check whether the Convention is in force between two specific States in the Spreadsheet showing acceptances of accessions to the Child Abduction Convention.

International Social Service Bulgaria (ISS Bulgaria) offers compliance strategies to procedural guidelines in cases of conflict, separation or divorce. ISS Bulgaria also provides counselling in child abduction cases as well as prevention and post-abduction measures. The organisation assists in establishing contact between the child and parents.

The National Legal Aid Bureau provides legal aid to eligible persons who are receiving social support, those lodged in specialised institutions that administer social support, to adopting families and to families, relatives or close persons of a child protected by the Child Protection Act. You can find useful legal aid information here.

Nadja Centre is a psycho-social centre to help and support victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, child sexual abuse, children at risk and their families.

Animus Association provides counselling and psychotherapeutic programmes for adults facing domestic or sexual violence. You can contact them directly here.

4. Child Welfare Services

The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) is a non-profit association of independent children’s rights institutions (click on Bulgaria in the list of country-members).

The National Network for Children is an alliance of civil society organisations and supporters working with and for children and families across Bulgaria. The network can provide useful information and link children and families in cross-border conflict situations to professionals.

The website of “Missing Children Europe” provides helpful information and a List of all organisations around Europe working in the realm of child disappearances.

Animus Association provides counselling and psychotherapeutic programmes for children and adolescents (therapy for children, consultation for parents, family therapy). You can contact them directly here.

SOS Children's Villages in Bulgaria offer Family Strengthening Programme to protect children who are at risk of losing the care of their family, which includes nutrition, education, health and psychosocial support, improving living conditions, parenting counselling. They work in Sofia, Radomir, Dren, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Trjavna and you can contact them directly here (website is in Bulgarian).

5. Support to Bi-national Couples, Cross-cultural and Migrant Families

The Center for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria (CLA) is a non-governmental organization based in Sofia that provides pro bono legal consultations to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, as well as legal representation in administrative and judicial proceedings on the national and European levels.

Caritas Bulgaria is a non-profit organization performing social work for vulnerable populations (website is in Bulgarian). For refugees, migrants and asylum seekers the Migration Service of Caritas Bulgaria provides social consultations, humanitarian assistance and specialized services.

Some of the hyperlinks you will find in the texts of this section lead you to websites available only in the native language of the country chosen. Copy the URL-address and paste it in Google Translate, choose your language and click on “translate” to find the whole website available.