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2021
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Bulgaria: Family code (estratto)

Chapter six

ADOPTION

Age of the adopted
Art. 49. Adopted can only be a person who, at the time of filing the application for adoption, has not accomplished eighteen years of age.

Adoptive parent
Art. 50. Adoptive parent can only be a legally able person who has not been deprived of parental rights.

Age difference
Art. 51. The adoptive parent must be at least fifteen years older than the adopted. Age difference shall not be required when a spouse adopts the child of his/her spouse. When the adoption is effected simultaneously or consecutively by two spouses and the age difference is present with one of them such difference shall not be required for the other person.

Prohibition of adoption between relatives
Art. 52. (1) Not admitted shall be adoption between lineal relatives and between brothers and sisters.
(2) The grandfather and the grandmother or one of them can adopt their grandchild only when they were born out of wedlock or both or one of the parents have died. The court shall hear out the other grandparents of the person to be adopted as well.
(3) On request for adoption of a grandchild by the grandparents on the sides of both the mother and the father the court shall resolve the issue in view of the interests of the child.

Prohibition of adoption by two persons
Art. 53. (1) No one can be adopted simultaneously by two persons unless they are spouses.
(2) No one can be adopted for a second time until the existing adoption is terminated. This prohibition shall not apply regarding the spouse of the adoptive parent.

Advantage of kinship ties
Art. 53a. Twins shall be adopted together.

Conditions of full adoption
Art. 53b. (1) Full adoption shall be admitted only between an adoptive parent and an adopted child who have been entered into the registers under this Code.
(2) Paragraph 1 shall not be applied when the spouse adopts the child of his/her spouse and in case of adoption of a grandchild by his/her grandfather and grandmother or by one of them.

Register of children for full adoption
Art. 53c. (1) The regional directorates for social assistance shall keep registers of children who can be adopted under the conditions of full adoption.
(2) The following information shall be included in the register:
    1. personal data of the child;
    2. health status and medical examinations made of the child to be adopted as well as information about its special needs;
    3. presence or absence of consent for its full adoption given by the parents;
    4. personal data of the parents and the other family members as well as data about their status of health;
    5. contacts of the child with his/her parents and the other family members;
    6. specialized institutions, foster families or other persons with whom the child was placed or who have taken care of it;
    7. reasons for the placement;
    8. other circumstances of importance for the adoption.
(3) The terms and procedure for keeping and storing the register shall be determined by an ordinance of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

Entry in the register
Art. 53d. (1) For a child placed at a specialized institution with consent for full adoption given by the parents or whose parents are unknown, the manager of the specialized institution shall notify in writing, within 3 days of his/her placement, the relevant regional directorate for social assistance about his/her entry in the register.
(2) For a child placed at a foster family or with other persons with the consent of his/her parents for full adoption or whose parents are unknown, the director of the Directorate “Social Assistance” at the permanent address of the child shall notify in writing, within 3 days of his/her placement, the relevant regional directorate for social assistance about his/her entry in the register.
(3) Except for the cases under paragraph 1, a child placed at a specialized institution that have not been asked for by his/her parents within 6 months after the expiry of the time-limit of his/her placement, may be entered in the register with a decision by the regional court at the location of the specialized institution. The manager of the specialized institution shall notify in writing about that, within 3 days, the relevant regional directorate for social assistance or the regional public prosecutor.
(4) Except for the cases under the preceding paragraphs a child whose parents are unknown, dead or deprived of parental rights may be entered in the register with a decision by the regional court at the permanent address of the child. The guardian, the trustee respectively shall notify in writing about that the relevant regional directorate for social assistance or the regional public prosecutor.
(5) A child not placed at a specialized institution, with a foster family or with other persons may be adopted under the conditions of full adoption, after entry in the register upon request by the parents, with a decision of the regional court at the permanent address of the child. The application shall be filed through the regional directorate for social assistance at the permanent address of the child. The consent for adoption in writing shall be enclosed with the application.
(6) The notifications under paragraphs 1 to 4 and the application under paragraph 5 shall contain the information required under art. 53c, paragraph 2.
(7) In the cases under paragraphs 1 to 4 the notification, the referral to the court can be made by the public prosecutor as well.

Proceeding before the court for entry in the register
Art. 53e. (1) Proceedings before the court shall start on the proposal of the director of the regional directorate for social assistance or upon request by the public prosecutor made
within 14 days after the notification as well as with an application by the parents of the child. (2) The proposal, the request and the application under paragraph 1 shall contain the information specified in art. 53c, paragraph 2.
(3) In the proceedings under paragraph 1 shall participate the public prosecutor, the parents, the guardian or the trustee respectively, the child, provided he/she has accomplished 14 years of age as well as a representative of the regional directorate for social assistance.
(4) The decision may be appealed by the persons under paragraph 3 before the regional court. The decision of the regional court is final.

Notes in the register
Art. 53f. (1) Each change of the circumstances shall be noted in the register.
(2) Deletion from the register shall be made upon:
    1. adoption admitted;
    2. majority attained;
    3. establishment of the origin of the child;
    4. withdrawal of the consent for adoption granted by the parents beforehand;
    5. restoration of the parental rights;
    6. dead of the child;
(3) The notes and the deletion shall be made with an order by the director of the regional directorate for social assistance while respecting the requirements of art. 53c.

Consent for adoption
Art. 54. (1) For the adoption is required the consent of:
    1. the adopting parent;
    2. the parents of the child to be adopted;
    3. the spouses of the adopting parent and the person to be adopted;
    4. the person to be adopted if he/she has accomplished 14 years of age.
(2) The consent of the mother under paragraph 1, item 2 can be granted 14 days of giving birth at the earliest.
(3) The parents of the child to be adopted shall grant their consent also in the cases where they are minors.
(4) Consent of the persons under paragraph 1, item 2 and 3 is not required if they are minors, if they are placed under judicial disability or their permanent address is unknown.
(5) The Directorate “Social Assistance” shall explain to the persons under paragraph 1 the consequences of the admittance of adoption before granting their consent.
(6) The persons under paragraph 1 shall present a written notarized declaration that the consent granted by them is not bound with a material benefit.

Opinion on adoption
Art. 55. (1) The adopted person shall be heard out by the court under the terms and procedure of art. 14 of the Law on Child Protection.
(2) Opinion on the adoption shall be given by:
    1. the guardian or the trustee;
    2. the parents, if they are minors, placed under limited judicial disability or deprived of parental rights;
    3. the spouses if they are placed under limited judicial disability .

Form of the consent and of the opinion
Art. 56. (1) The consent of the person to be adopted shall be given personally in court.
(2) The consent of the adoptive person, of the parents of the person to be adopted and of the spouses of the adoptive person and of the person to be adopted, as well as the opinion of the parents and the spouses placed under limited judicial disability or deprived of parental rights, and of the guardian or trustee can be given in court personally or in writing with a notary certified signature or through an attorney ad hoc. The court can subpoena and hear out personally some of these persons when it deems it necessary.
(3) The consent in writing, in the cases of full adoption, is granted in a form approved by the Minister of Justice.

Withdrawal of the consent given beforehand
Art. 56a. The parent can withdraw, before the Directorate “Social Assistance”, his/her previous consent for full adoption in writing with a notary certified signature by the time of starting proceedings for adoption in the court. The requirements under art. 54, paragraph 6 and art. 56, paragraph 3 shall be applied for the withdrawal.

Adoption without the consent of the parent
Art. 57. (1) As an exception, adoption shall be admitted when the parent does not accede if he/she permanently does not take care of the child, does not provide support and raises and brings him/her up in a way detrimental to his/her development.
(2) Adoption without consent of the parent shall also be admitted when he/she has left the child for raising in a specialized institution and he/she has not asked for him/her within six months from the day when he/she was supposed to take the child away.
(3) In the cases under the preceding paragraphs the parent shall be subpoenaed in order to be heard out in court.

Permission for full adoption
Art. 57a. (1) Person willing to adopt a child under the conditions of full adoption shall file a written application with the Directorate “Social Assistance” at its permanent address to obtain permission for entry in the register.
(2) The Directorate “Social Assistance” shall carry out social study of the person under paragraph 1 about its suitability to adopt a child.
(3) The study shall be carried out within 3 months from the date of filing the application and it shall contain information about the:
    1. identity of the prospective adoptive parent;
    2. his/her health status;
    3. family of the prospective adoptive parent;
    4. personal data of the members of his/her family as well as data of their health status;
    5. economic and social situation of the prospective adoptive parent;
    6. reasons for the adoption;
    7. other circumstances that are of importance for the adoption.
(4) Report shall be drawn up for the findings of the study on the basis of which the Director of the Directorate “Social Assistance” shall grant, within 7 days from its presentation, permission to the person under paragraph 1.
(5) The refusal to grant permission can be appealed under the terms and the procedures of the Law on Administrative Proceedings.
(6) The permission shall be issued for a period of two years. Upon a change of the circumstances that are of importance for granting the permission the person wishing to adopt a child shall be bound to inform the Directorate “Social Assistance”. If the change is of substantial importance, new social study shall be carried out and the permission can be suspended, in the opinion of the authority under paragraph 4.
(7) The terms and procedure for carrying out social study, as well as the terms and procedure for granting and suspending the permission for adoption of a child shall be regulated by the ordinance under art. 53c, paragraph 3.

Register of candidate-adopters for full adoption
Art. 57b. (1) The regional directorates for social assistance shall keep registers of the persons willing to adopt a child under the conditions of full adoption.
(2) A person who has obtained permission for adoption by the Directorate “Social Assistance” is entered in the register of the relevant regional directorate for social assistance ex officio and, upon his/her request, in the registers of other regional directorates as well.
(3) The number and the date of the permission as well as the information under art. 57a, paragraph 3 shall be entered in the register.
(4) The terms and procedure of keeping and storing the registers under paragraph 1 shall be determined by the ordinance under art. 53c, paragraph 3.

Adoption Council
Art. 57c. (1) Adoption Council shall be established with each regional directorate for social assistance.
(2) The Adoption Council shall consist of a chairman – the director of the relevant regional directorate for social assistance and members – the manager of the relevant specialized institution, a lawyer nominated by the district governor, a doctor nominated by the territorial body of health care, a pedagogue nominated by the regional inspectorate of education and a psychologist nominated by the Directorate "Social Assistance" at the permanent address of the child.
(3) The Adoption Council shall nominate for each child from the register in the regional directorate for social assistance the eligible adoptive parent taking into consideration the order of his/her entry in the register of prospective adoptive parents, his/her qualities, whether he/she has not been nominated for eligible adoptive parent of another child and whether he/she has not filed application for adoption within the time-limits, as well as other circumstances of importance for the adoption.
(4) The regional directorate for social assistance shall inform in writing the person nominated under paragraph 3 about the child and his/her data as well as about the conditions under which he/she can establish personal contact with the child, with the assistance of the relevant Directorate "Social Assistance" at the permanent address of the child.
(5) The regional directorate for social assistance shall notify in writing the relevant specialized institution, the foster family or the persons taking care of the child, as well as the Directorate "Social Assistance" of the need to assist the adoptive parent in establishing contact with the child.
(6) Within a month from the receipt of the notification the prospective adoptive parent willing to adopt the child shall file an application for adoption before the court through the regional directorate for social assistance.
(7) The regional directorate shall forward, within 3 days from its receipt, the application of the candidate-dopter to the court, with the whole file of the case enclosed and shall notify about that the regional directorates in which registers there is an entry of the candidate-adopter.
(8) In the case where the person nominated refuses the proposal or he/she does not file an application for adoption within the time-limits under paragraph 6, the Adoption Council shall, within 14 day, nominate another eligible prospective adoptive parent for the child. The refusal or failing to file an application shall be noted in the registers in which the candidate adopter has been entered.
(9) If, within 6 months from the entry of the child in the register at least three candidate adopters have been nominated and no one of them has filed an application for his/her adoption or if no eligible prospective adoptive parent has been nominated, and if the child meets the requirements under art. 136, paragraph 2, the Council shall notify the Council of Intercountry Adoptions within the Ministry of Justice to nominate an eligible foreign candidate adopter. This circumstance shall be noted in the register of children for full adoption.
(10) The Minister of Justice, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education and Science and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy shall develop Regulations on the Activity of the Council under paragraph 1.

Notes and deletions in the register
Art. 57d. (1) Upon a change of the circumstances entered in the register the prospective adoptive parent shall be bound to notify the regional directorate for social assistance.
(2) The regional directorate for social assistance may require a new social study in the cases of paragraph 1 or ex officio.
(3) Any change of the circumstances that have been entered shall be noted in the register.
(4) Deletion in the register shall be made upon request of the candidate adopter as well as where his/her suitability for adoption has dropped.

Jurisdiction
Art. 58. (1) The application for adoption shall be considered by the district court at the location of the regional directorate for social assistance in which the child was entered, within 14 days from its filing.

Decision on the request for adoption
Art. 59. (1) The district court, in a session in camera, after hearing out the conclusion of the public prosecutor, shall rule by a decision. The decision shall be announced in a court session and after its coming into force it shall be forwarded ex officio to the municipality at the permanent address of the prospective adoptive parents, and in case of foreigners – to Sofia Municipality.
(2) The adoption shall be admitted only if it is to the interest of the person to be adopted.

Appeal against the decision
Art. 60. (1) The decision under art. 59, paragraph 1 can be appealed by the public prosecutor and by the persons under art. 54, para 1, item 1, 2 and 4 before the appellate court within 7 days from the announcement of the decision in court session.
(2) Within 14 days from the filing of the claim the court, in a session in camera, shall rule by a decision that is final.

Full adoption
Art. 61. (1) Full adoption is compulsory where the person to be adopted is:
    1. a child of unknown parents;
    2. he/she has been left in a specialized institution with the previous consent of the parents for full adoption;
    3. he/she has been left in a specialized institution and has not been asked for by his/her parents within 6 months from the date on which he/she had to be taken away.
(2) In the cases of paragraph 1 between the adopted and his descendants, on one hand, and the adoptive parent and his relatives, on the other hand, shall occur rights and obligations as between relatives by origin, and the rights and obligations between the adopted and his descendants with their relatives by origin shall be terminated. The same consequences shall also occur when the persons under art. 54, para 1 give their consent to that effect while the full adoption shall not be compulsory. The obstacles for contracting marriage due to affinity according to art. 13, para 2, item 1 and 2 shall not be dropped.
(3) The court shall rule that a new birth certificate is issued where the adoptive parent shall be entered as parent. The certificate shall be issued by the official on civic status at the municipality, the mayoralty or the region at the permanent address of the adoptive parent.

Incomplete adoption
Art. 62. In cases other than those under the preceding article the adoption shall be incomplete and it shall give rise to rights and obligations as between relatives by origin only between the adopted and his descendants, on one hand, and the adoptive parent, on the other hand, and the rights and obligations between the adopted and his descendants with their relatives by origin shall be retained. On such an adoption the parental rights and obligation shall pass on to the adoptive parent and the native parents shall not succeed the adopted.

Adoption by a spouse of a parent
Art. 63. On adoption under art. 61 and 62 of a child by a spouse of a parent the rights and obligations between this parent and his relatives, on the one hand, and the adopted and his/her descendants, on the other hand, shall be retained.

Assistance and supervision after the adoption
Art. 63a. (1) Directorate "Social Assistance" at the present address of the adoptive parent shall supervise the process of bringing up of the child and the observation of his/her rights and legitimate interest for a period of 2 years.
(2) Annual reports for the supervision shall be prepared and forwarded to the regional directorate.

Termination of the adoption
Art. 64. (1) The adoption shall be terminated by the court:
    1. for invalidation due to violation of art. 49, art. 50, art. 51, art. 52, paragraphs 1 and 2, art. 53, art. 53d, paragraphs 1-5, art. 54, paragraph 1, items 1, 2 and 4 and paragraphs 2, 3 and 5;
    2. by mutual consent of the adopted person and the adoptive parent when both are legally able in the cases of uncomplete adoption;
    3. for severe offence by one of the parties or in the presence of other circumstances which deeply upset the relations between the adoptive parent and the adopted person.
(2) Claim for invalidation of the adoption due to a violation of art. 54, paragraph 1, item 1, 2 and 4 can be laid within one year, which shall run for the adoptive parent and for the parents of the adopted person from the time of learning, and for the adopted person - from the coming of age.
(3) In cases other than those under the preceding paragraph termination of the adoption under paragraph 1, item 1 can be requested by the adoptive parent, the adopted person and by the parents of the adopted person, and those under para 1, item 3 - by the adoptive parent and by the adopted person. If a public interest is affected the public prosecutor can request termination of the adoption as well. In the cases of intercountry adoption the Minister of Justice can request termination of the adoption as well.
(4) The participation of a public prosecutor in the cases for termination of the adoption under para 1, item 1 and 3 shall be obligatory.

Termination of the adoption upon death of the adoptive parent
Art. 65. (1) In case of adoption according to art. 61 the court can terminate the adoption upon request of the adopted person, of his parents, of the guardian, of the trustee or of the public prosecutor if the only or both adoptive parents have died and this is required by the interests of the adopted person.
(2) In case of adoption under art. 62, if the only or both adoptive parents die, the adoption shall be considered terminated, but the adopted person shall succeed the adoptive parent.

Continuation of the case for termination of the adoption
Art. 66. When the death of the adoptive parent or of the adopted person occurs in the course of the process of termination of the adoption according to art. 64, paragraph 1, items 1 and 3 the case can be continued by the legatees or by the public prosecutor. Should the court honour the claim the guilty living adoptive parent or adopted person shall not succeed the deceased.

Effect of the termination
Art. 67. The effect of the adoption shall stop by its termination.

Data protection
Art. 67a. (1) The Agency for social assistance and the Ministry of Justice are bound to undertake the required organizational and technical measures for protection of the personal data in the registers kept by them, in compliance with the Law on Protection of Personal Data and the Law on Protection of Classified Information, and to admit for work with such data persons who have signed a secrecy affidavit.
(2) The officials are bound to keep secret the data of the children and of the adoptive parents which have become known to them during or on occasion of performance of their official duties.

Right of information
Art. 67b. (1) The adoptive parents or the adopted person who has come to age can ask the district court that ruled the decision for admission of the adoption to provide them information about the origin of the adopted when important circumstances require so. The district court, in a session in camera, after hearing out the native parents of the adopted person and the opinion of the public prosecutor, shall rule by a decision.
(2) The decision of the district court can be appealed by the persons under paragraph 1 under the general procedure.

Prohibition of carrying out business activities
Art. 67c. Business activity related to the adoption shall be prohibited.

Chapter eleven

APPLICABLE LAW FOR LEGAL FAMILY RELATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL NATURE

Adoption
Art. 136. (1) Adoption between persons, one of whom is a Bulgarian citizen, shall be allowed according to the provisions of this Code. When the adopted person is a Bulgarian citizen consent shall be requested from the Minister of Justice and the adoption shall be effected by Sofia City Court.
(2) A Bulgarian citizen who has accomplished one year of age can be adopted by a foreign national who has presented permission for adoption of a child under his/her native law. A foreign national whose domicile is in another country should meet also the requirements for adoption under the law of his/her country of domicile. As an exception, for reasons of health of the child or when other important circumstances are present, he/she can be adopted before accomplishing one year, if this is of his/her exclusive interest.
(3) The adoption between persons with the same citizenship shall be allowed under the conditions of their native law. If they have different citizenship the adoption shall be allowed under the conditions of their native laws. The provisions of art. 52 shall apply in these cases.
(4) A Bulgarian national who has also another citizenship and lives permanently abroad, when adopting a child who is a Bulgarian citizen, should meet also the requirements for adoption of the law of his/her country of domicile.
(5) A Bulgarian national willing to adopt a child who is a foreign citizen shall meet the requirements of this Code and the requirements of the native law of the child, if so provided in it.
(6) When adopting a child who is a citizen of a State-Party to the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, referred to hereinafter as “Convention”, the adoption shall be recognized upon presentation of a certificate of the Central Authority. The Ministry of Justice shall forward the birth certificate ex officio to be entered in the register of the civil status.
(7) The terms and procedure of granting consent for adoption of a person who is a Bulgarian citizen by a foreigner shall be specified in an ordinance issued by the Minister of Justice.
(8) The act of adoption shall be settled according to the native law of the adoptive parent.
(9) Termination of the adoption shall be settled according to the native law of the adopted, expect for the cases when the native law of the adoptive parent is more favourable for the adopted person.

Powers of the Ministry of Justice on intercountry adoptions
Art. 136a. (1) The Ministry of Justice shall carry out activities on intercountry adoptions in cooperation with the relevant Bulgarian and foreign competent authorities and accredited bodies.
(2) The Ministry of Justice shall:
    1. take measures to provide information to the central authorities, to the other state agencies and accredited bodies under the Convention about:
        a. the effective domestic legislation in the area of the adoption as well as statistical data and approved standard forms;
        b. the application of the Convention;
    2. support the cooperation between the Bulgarian competent authorities and the competent authorities of the States-Parties to the Convention as well as between the Bulgarian and foreign accredited bodies, for effective protection of the children and achievement of the goals of the Convention;
    3. update and forward to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law data about the names and addresses of the accredited agencies that have obtained permission by the Minister of Justice;
    4. require and maintain updated information of the names and addresses of the accredited bodies of the States-Parties to the Convention;
    5. give consent before the central authorities of the States-Parties to the Convention on the possibility to proceed with the adoption procedure;
    6. certify that the adoptions that have taken place are in compliance with the Convention;
    7. keep:
        a. register of the children who can be adopted by foreigners under the conditions of full adoption;
        b. register of the foreign candidate adopters willing to adopt a child under the conditions of full adoption;
        c. register of candidate adopters who are Bulgarian citizens willing to adopt a child who is foreign citizen whose domicile is abroad;
        d. register of the accredited agencies that act as an intermediary in intercountry adoptions;
        8. collect, store and exchange with the competent authorities or agencies nominated by them information about the status of the child and the prospective adopters as far as required for the adoption to take place;
        9. perform activities and notify the competent authorities in the country and abroad of the necessity to perform activities to prevent obtaining undue financial or other benefits related to the adoption;
        10. exercise control over the composition and the activities of the accredited agencies that act as an intermediary in intercountry adoptions as well as over the observance of the requirements of this Code and of the permission granted;
        11. organize the acceptance, registration and handling the applications for adoption;
        12. send to the foreign competent authorities and agencies the applications of the Bulgarian citizens willing to adopt a child who is a foreign citizen;
        13. undertake acts in relation to the establishment of lack of obstacles for the child to enter and reside permanently in the receiving State;
        14. assist in establishment of a contact between the child and the foreigners nominated for eligible adoptive parents;
        15. forward the application for adoption of a foreign citizen with the file of the case to Sofia City Court to rule on the adoption;
        16. render assistance in the period after the adoption has taken place; receive, examine and store the required after-adoption documentation;
        17. arrange consultations, seminars and training in the area of adoptions;
        18. develop and exchange with the competent authorities of other States summary reports for assessment of the expertise in the area of the intercoutry adoption;
(3) The registers under paragraph 2, item 7, “a”, “b” and “c” shall contain the information under art. 53c, paragraph 2 and art. 57a, paragraph 3 respectively.
(4) The register under paragraph 2, item 7 “d” shall contain information about:
    1. the name of the agency;
    2. the seat and the address of the agency and data of the persons who shall represent it;
    3. the number and date of the permission for mediation activity;
    4. the authority that has issued the permission;
    5. the terms of the permission under item 3;
    6. the terms and conditions of the permission for performing mediation activity issued by a foreign competent authority;
    7. other data entered in the Central Register under art. 45, paragraph 1 of the Law on Non-Profit Corporate Bodies.
(5) The regional directorates for social assistance shall forward to the Ministry of Justice at the end of each month information about the children entered in the register under art. 53c, paragraph 1 and who meet the requirements under art. 136, paragraph 2. The information shall contain the data specified in the ordinance under art. 53c, paragraph 3 as well as information on the possibilities for bringing up and adoption of the child in the respective municipality.
(6) The content and the procedure of keeping the registers under paragraph 2, item 7 shall be determined in the ordinance under art. 136, paragraph 7.

Mediation in intercoutry adoption
Art. 136b. (1) Mediation in adoption of a child can be carried out only by a Non-Profit Corporate Body for carrying out socially useful activity, referred to hereinafter as “accredited agency”, that has been entered in the Central Register under art. 5, paragraph 1 of the Law on Non-Profit Corporate Bodies and has obtained permission for that by the Minister of Justice.
(2) Only unconvicted persons with higher education and total work record not less than 5 years can be elected in the managing board of the agency.
(3) In the agency shall work lawyers, psychologists, doctors as well as other specialists with knowledge and experience in the area of intercountry adoption.
(4) To obtain permission for mediation in intercoutry adoptions the agency shall file application to the Minister of Justice accompanied by:
    1. documents issued by the court and by the Central Register under art. 45, paragraph 1 of the Law on Non-Profit Corporate Bodies reflecting the current situation of the agency;
    2. copy of the articles of incorporation or the statute of the agency;
3. information about the costs and expenses of the agency related to the mediation activity as well as the maximum size of the fees for its performance;
    4. identification of the States in respect of which the mediation shall be carried out;
    5. other data related to the mediation activity.
(5) The applications for granting permission shall be filed by the end of the second calendar month of each year. Within two months from the expiry of the time-limit for filing applications the Ministry of Justice shall, upon the proposal of the Intercountry Adoption Council, issue a permission or a reasoned refusal for its issuance. The refusal for issuance of the permission shall be subject to appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court.
(6) The permission under paragraph 1 shall be issued for a period of 2 years and it shall be entered in the register under art. 136a, paragraph 2, item 7 “d” that is public.
(7) The permission cannot be ceded or transferred.
(8) The accredited agency is bound to place the permisson in plain sight and to state in reference its number in the correspondence.
(9) A fee defined in a tariff approved by the Council of Minister shall be paid for issuance of the permission.
(10) The foreign non-profit corporate body that has obtained permission for meditation in the area of intercountry adoptions from the relevant foreign authority can exercise its activity in the Republic of Bulgaria while abiding with the terms of the Law on Non-Profit Corporate Bodies after having obtained the permission of the Minister of Justice to carry out mediation activity with the respective State.
(11) The permission under paragraph 10 shall be granted for a period of 2 years but no longer than the period for which the permission by the competent foreign authority has been issued.
(12) The procedure of granting, refusal and withdrawal of the permission under paragraphs 1 and 10 shall be established by the ordinance under art. 136, paragraph 7.

Withdrawal of the permission
Art. 136c. (1) The Minister of Justice can withdraw, with an order, the permission under art. 136b, paragraphs 1 and 10 also before the expiry of the period for which it has been issued in the cases where the agency does not fulfill the conditions therein or violates other requirements of the law.
(2) The order under paragraph 1 can be appealed under the terms and procedure of the Law on the Supreme Administrative Court.

Termination of the permission
Art. 136d. The permission shall be terminated:
    1. upon expiry of the period for which it has been issued;
    2. on request of the accredited organization;
    3. upon dissolution of the corporate body;
    4. upon deletion of the entry in the register under art. 48 of the Law on Non-Profit Corporate Bodies;
    5. where the relevant competent authority has withdrawn the permission for mediation of the foreign corporate body under art. 136b, paragraph 10.

Activity of the accredited agency
Art. 136e. The accredited agency shall:
1. present to the Ministry of Justice the request for adoption and the documents of the prospective adoptive parent as well as any other information about him/her that is necessary for the protection of the child’s interest;
2. provide to the prospective adoptive parent detailed information about the rights and the obligations in adoption and about the legal consequences in full adoption under the laws in effect both in the State whose citizens is the prospective adoptive parent and of the State of residence of the child to be adopted;
3. notify the prospective adoptive parent of the consent of the Minister of Justice under art. 136, paragraph 1;
4. present to the Ministry of Justice the application for adoption together with the whole file of the case;
5. mediate for establishment of a contact between the nominated adoptive parent and the person to be adopted and provide to the prospective adoptive parent the report drawn up by the Ministry of Justice concerning the personal data of the person to be adopted, his/her health status, social status, his/her picture and video records and other materials related to the child, if appropriate;
6. secure for the Bulgarian citizens willing to adopt a child who is foreign citizen information about a specified child provided for by the relevant authority or agency;
7. notify the Ministry of Justice about the consent or the refusal to adopt the proposed child expressed by the prospective adoptive parent;
8. submit, to the Ministry of Justice, every 6 months, a report about the state of the child up to two years after his/her adoption; the report shall contain also evaluation of the accredited body concerning the conditions of life, the progress, the level of physical, mental and emotional development of the child, his/her attachment to the adoptive parents, the parent’s care and abilities, the measures to promote the cultural identity of the child and others;
9. ensure representation of the prospective adoptive parent before the court; 10. mediate in the issuance of a permission for the child to leave the State of origin and to enter the receiving State as well as permission for him/her to reside permanently in the receiving State;
11. ensure that the transfer of the child takes place in secure and appropriate circumstances and, if the adoptive parents decide so, shall carry out the transfer or ensure accompanying of the child;
12. undertake acts to ensure the return of the child to the State of origin in the case where the decision of the Bulgarian court is not recognized in the receiving State within one year after its entry into force and shall supervise the state of the child during that period.
(2) The procedure of carrying out the activity under paragraph 1 shall be specified in the ordinance under art. 136, paragraph 7.

Intercountry Adoptions Council
Art. 136f. (1) Intercountry Adoptions Council shall be established with the Ministry of Justice which shall consist of a Chairman – Deputy Minister of Justice and members – one representative of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the State Agency for Child Protection.
(2) The Intercountry Adoptions Council shall:
    1. make proposal before the Minister of Justice to nominate the proper foreign prospective adoptive parent;
    2. make proposal before the Minister of Justice with regard to the applications for granting permission under 136b, paragraph 1 and 10 after study of the agency and an interview;
    3. express opinion and give recommendations for the implementation of the requirements for intercountry adoptions;
    4. express opinion before the Minister of Justice with regard to the applications of Bulgarian citizens for adoption of a child who is a foreign citizen;
    5. give opinion for distribution of the financial means under the Assistance of Children Fund.
(3) The Minister of Justice shall define the list of the names of the Council members under paragraph 1 upon proposal by the leaders of the respective ministries and agencies and shall issue regulations on its activity.

Application for intercoutry adoption
Art. 136g. (1) The application for intercountry adoption shall be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice accompanied by the permission for adoption under 136, paragraph 2 and the data under art. 136a, paragraph 3 for entry of the person in the relevant register.
(2) In the cases where a Bulgarian citizen wishes to adopt a child who is a citizen of a State – Party to the Convention, the application shall be forwarded by the Ministry of Justice to the relevant central authority or accredited body.

Proceedings on application for intercoutry adoption
Art. 136h. (1) Sofia City Court shall consider the application for adoption in a session in camera within 14 days of its filing and shall rule by a decision that shall be immediately announced to the parties.
(2) The decision under paragraph 1 shall be subject to appeal before Sofia Appellate Court within 7 days from the announcement of the ruling. Within 14 days from filing of the claim the Court shall, in a session in camera, rule by a decision that is final.


Relations between parents and children
Art. 137. The relations between parents and children shall be settled according to the native law of the child unless the parents have the same citizenship and their native law is more favourable for the child.
(2) In the cases where the parents do not live together and there is no decision ruled for the measures in respect of the personal relations or a recognition and admission of the implementation of a decision of a foreign court concerning exercising of parental rights have been refused, the Minister of Justice responsible for the application of the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children of 1980 can, upon request of the interested party, refer the cases to Sofia City Court to define measures concerning the personal relations. The Court shall rule by a decision within 30 days.
(3) The decision under paragraph 2 shall be subject to appeal before Sofia Appellate Court within 7 days from the announcement of its ruling. Within 30 days from filing of the claim the Court shall, in a session in camera, rule by a decision that is final.

Transitional and Final Provisions
§ 29. The pending cases at the time of entry into force of this law under art. 58 of the Family Code and under art. 2 of Decree No. 1336 on the application of art. 136, paragraph 1 of the Family Code shall be considered under the previous terms and procedure.

§ 30. When the time-limit for filing claims against the court decisions has not expired by the date of entry into force of this Law the claims shall be filed and considered under the previous terms and procedure.

§ 31. (1) Within 2 months from coming into force of this law the directors of the specialized institutions shall send to the Ministry of Justice all applications filed by foreigners together with the attached documents notifying the applicants about that.
(2) The applications of foreigners that have obtained permission for adoption by the competent authority of a State-Party to the Convention, registered in the specialized institutions in Bulgaria by 31 August 2002 shall be examined under the previous terms and procedure if by the day of entry into force of this Law the Ministry of Justice has received proposal by them for adoption of the child.

§ 32. (1) Foreigners whose applications for adoption has been filed through the respective central authorities under the Convention or through accredited bodies and have been received in the Ministry of Justice by the day of entry into force of this Law, shall be entered ex officio in the register under art. 136a, paragraph 2, item 7 “b”.
(2) The children for whom by the day of entry into force of this law there were three refusals for adoption by Bulgarian citizens shall be entered ex officio in the register under art. 136a, paragraph 2, letter “b”.
(3) Bulgarian citizens who have filed applications for adoption by the day of entry into force of this Law shall be entered ex officio in the register under art. 57b, paragraph 1.

§ 33. (1) Within one month from the entry into force of this law the directors of the specialized institutions shall forward to the Ministry of Justice information about the children for whom by the day of entry into force of the Law three refusals for adoption by Bulgarian citizens have been received.
(2) Within three month from the entry into force of this law the directors of the specialized institutions shall forward to the respective regional authorities for social assistance all applications for adoption filed by the entry into force of this Law by Bulgarian citizens together with the documents attached thereto for what they shall notify the applicants.

§ 34. Within three month as from the entry into force of this law the corporate non-profit bodies for carrying out socially useful activity willing to mediate in intercountry adoptions can file applications at the Ministry of Justice while observing the terms and procedure provided for in art. 136b.

§ 35. (1) A parent who has placed his/her child in a specialized institution while a time-limit for his/her bringing up in it has not been specified and previous consent for full adoption has not been given, is bound either to take his/her child away, within a period of 6 months from the entry into force of this Law, or to grant consent for his/her full adoption, or to request the court to rule a measure for protection under art. 4 of the Law on Protection of the Child.
(2) If the patent does not undertake any of the acts under paragraph 1, the director of the specialized institution shall notify the regional directorate for social assistance or the regional public prosecutor to start court proceedings on the entry of the child in the register.

§ 36. The regulations and ordinances provided for in this law shall be issued within 3 months as from its entry into force.

§ 37. The Minister of Labour and Social Policy and the Minister of Justice shall exercise supervision on the fulfillment pf the obligations under this Code by the Directorate "Social Assistance" and the regional directorates for social assistance.

§ 38. Decree No. 1336 of 1986 on the application of art. 136, paragraph 1 of the Family Code (SG No. 33/1986) is hereby repealed.

§ 39. The following supplements shall be made in art. 50, paragraph 2 of the Law on Civil Registration (promulgated SG No. 67/1999, as amended, No. 28 and 37/2001 and No. 54/2002):
1. In item 2, at the end, a comma shall be inserted and the words “and in the cases of intercountry adoptions – the real place of birth ” shall be added;
2. In item 3 after the words “shall not be filled in” a semi-colon shall be inserted and the words “when the child shall be adopted by a spouse of the parent, data about the native parent with whom the relations shall be retained and data about the prospective adoptive parent” shall be added.

§ 40. In art. 48 of the Law on the Bulgarian Identification Documents (promulgated SG No. 93/1998, as amended, No. 53 and 67/1999, No. 70 and 113/1999, No. 108/2000, No. 42/2001 and No. 45 and 54/2002) a new paragraph shall be inserted:
“(3) Passport of a child adopted under the conditions of intercoutry adoption shall be issued within 3 days from the date of filing the application”.

§ The following amendments and supplements shall be made in the Law on Protection of the Child (promulgated SG No. 48/2000, as amended, NO. 75 and 120/2002, No. 36/2003):
1. In art. 4:
    a. item 3 of paragraph 3 is hereby repealed.
    b. new paragraph 2 shall be inserted:
“(2) Each child can be adopted under the terms and procedure provided for in the Family Code”.
    c. the previous paragraph 2 becomes paragraph 3.
2. In art. 17a the figure “3” shall be deleted.
3. In art. 43c, item 5 the words “paragraph 2” shall be replaced by “paragraph 3”.
4. New paragraph 44a shall be inserted:


Children Assistance Fund
Art. 44a. (1) Children Assistance Fund shall be established with the Minister of Justice as a second-level budgetary-spending unit.
(2) The Children Assistance Fund shall be a corporate body seated in Sofia.
(3) The financial means of the Fund under paragraph 1 shall be raised from:
1. the balance of the state fees at the amount of 95 per cent collected by the courts on the applications for adoption;
2. the state fees collected by the Ministry of Justice on the application with which is requested the consent under art. 136, paragraph 1;
3. the state fees under art. 136b, paragraph 9;
4. donations;
5. other sources specified in by law or by an act of the Council of Ministers.
(4) The financial means of the Fund shall be spent to assist children in risk, specialized institutions in which are placed children, foster families and parents who have taken their children away from the specialized institution and take care