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Bulgaria

from Japanese Fairy Tales





The national religion of the Bulgarian people is that of the Orthodox
Greek Church, and consequently the laws of that church on the subject of
marriage and divorce is part of the organic law of Bulgaria.

Upon the political independence of the country the Bulgarian Church, which
had hitherto been under the Patriarchate of Constantinople through an
exarch, declared its independence and established the Bulgarian Exarchate.
The ecclesiastical courts of this Exarchate have general jurisdiction of
matrimonial causes except as concern Mohammedans, Jews, and Christians who
are not adherents of any of the Eastern Orthodox churches.

Besides the laws of the Church, Bulgaria has a national law of marriage
and divorce dating from 1897.

The matrimonial concerns of Mohammedans are governed by the law of the
religion of Mohammed. Christians who are dissenters from the Orthodox
Church are permitted to marry according to the rules and regulations of
their sect.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE.--The marriageable age for men begins with
twenty years, and for women with eighteen years.

Parental consent is required, but if it is arbitrarily denied the
authorities of the church may give their consent in its stead.

A man or woman is permitted to have but one spouse at a time.

CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriage is forbidden between ascendants and
descendants. In the collateral line marriage is forbidden between persons
related within the seventh degree. Under this rule a person cannot
lawfully marry the child of his or her second cousin. The ecclesiastical
authorities may upon such grounds as to them may seem sufficient grant a
dispensation permitting a marriage within the prohibited degrees.

Marriage is also prohibited between godparents and godchildren, and
between godchildren who have the same godparent. Here also the clergy may
remove the impediment by dispensation.

Persons suffering from idiocy, insanity, epilepsy or syphilis cannot
contract lawful marriage.

Marriage is forbidden when the parties are of different religious faiths.

A person under obligation by religious vow to remain celibate or one who
has been sentenced to a state of celibacy by an ecclesiastical court
cannot conclude marriage.

Accomplices in adultery may not marry each other. Persons in the military
service must obtain the consent of their superiors to contract marriage.

CELEBRATION.--The law of Bulgaria does not permit a civil marriage. If
both or one of the contracting parties are baptized members of the
Orthodox Greek Church, the marriage service must be in accordance with the
rites of that church. Christians who belong to other churches are
permitted to be married by the ministers of their faith. Three weeks at
least must intervene between the betrothal and the wedding. All marriages
must be preceded by the publication of banns.

FOREIGN MARRIAGES.--The law of Bulgaria does not recognize the foreign
marriage of Bulgarian subjects unless the following elements are present:

1. The foreign marriage must comply with all the laws and rules of the
foreign country where it is concluded.

2. If the parties are baptized members of the Orthodox Greek Church the
marriage must be solemnized by a priest of that church. This rule applies
even though in the country where the marriage was concluded a civil
ceremony is sufficient.

DIVORCE.--The Church and State both permit absolute divorces. The causes
are:

1. Adultery of either spouse.

2. Drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

3. Cruel and abusive treatment.

4. Threat to kill.

5. Incurable impotence.

6. Absence of the husband for four years coupled with failure to support
wife.

7. Sentence to prison for an infamous offense.

8. False accusation of adultery.

9. Wife's desertion of the husband continued for three years.

DIVORCE PROCEDURE.--As before stated the suit for divorce must be brought
before the ecclesiastical court.

EFFECTS OF DIVORCE.--If the guilty party is the wife, her husband has the
right to retain all her dowry which she brought to him, and to retake all
gifts made to her either before or after marriage.

If the guilty party is the husband, the wife has the right to recover her
dowry, to keep any present she ever received from the husband, and to
exact suitable maintenance from her divorced husband until such time as
she remarries.

The custody of the children is given to the winning suitor, except that
children under five years remain in the care of their mother.





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