DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, OWNED BY A CHILD

August 8, 2016

According to the present Bulgarian legislation, infants (i.e. children under 14 years of age) are legally incapacitated to perform deals on their own, and for their own account. They participate in the civil relations via their legal representatives, being their parents or legal guardians.

To protect the interests of the infant, as well to support their future, the local lawmakers have established in the Law an absolute prohibition for concluding of particular categories of pecuniary deals by infants (for example, donation, refusal of right, consumer’s loan, etc.), and also have set up strict conditions for concluding other types of financial deals, where the disposal of real estates, owned by infants, has also been included.

Under the provision of Art.130, al.3 of the Family Code, performance of disposal actions with real estates owned by individuals under 14 years old, is possible only once permission by the local District Court is granted in advance. Any deal concluded without such legal permission, is voidable and could be subject of litigation dispute.

In theory there are no doubtful points here, but in practice very often complications could arise – mostly in situations involving real estates in Bulgaria owned by foreign underage individuals. There are numerous times where clients have contacted us in relation to prospective property sales, placing questions like: “Do the Bulgarian requirements apply, if there are no such requirements in the property owner’s domestic Law?”; “As the infant who owns the real estate, does not have any residence address in Bulgaria, who should issue the needed permission then?”. The local Family Code does not supply precise answers of these issues, so solution should be found within the international civil legislation: According to art.64 and art.65 of the International Civil Law Code, the applicable Law towards the real estates is namely the Law in the area where these are situated at the moment of performance of the deal. So, bearing that a deal will involve real estate, situated in Bulgaria, then without any doubt the Bulgarian Law will be the applicable to govern the relations of the parties.

So even if there are no restrictions under the domestic Law of the infant, for performance of property deal here, it is necessary to meet the conditions under the Bulgarian Law as well (participation of the legal representative of the infant and obtaining permission by the District Court).

It is important to be established namely which court should issue the needed permission, because the infant has no residence address in Bulgaria. According to Article 12 of the International Civil Law Code, any claims related to real estates situated in Bulgaria, should be heard exclusively by the Bulgarian courts of Law. So as long as it concerns a real estate here in Bulgaria, foreign court competency should be excluded; and so permission for disposal of such immovable property should be obtained also here at the Bulgarian court, and not at the court in the home country of the infant.

The newest local court practice supports this opinion. According to Adjunction No.144/02.06.2015 on civil case No.1100/2015, issued by the Civil Department of the Supreme Cassation Court: “As the permission for real estate deal is given by the court, it has to be the court in the country where the property is situated”.  So undoubtedly the hearing on applications by foreign individuals for granting permission for real estate deal is within the competency of the Bulgarian court of law.

Under the provision of Art.107 of the local Civil Code, in situations where the claimant has no residence address in Bulgaria, the claim should be lodged in the related court in Sofia. The same legal principle should apply also in the present cases, where the court acts only in its capacity of “court administration”. So since the local Law requires the permission to be granted by the District court, these types of application should be lodged at the Sofia District court.

The procedures for obtaining court permission for performance of property deals by infants, is part of the legal practice of our Bulgarian law firm. We provide full assistance of our clients for performance of the above said procedures. If you need to obtain permission at the Bulgarian court for performance of real estate deal with your child, and if you have any questions related to the procedure, do not hesitate to contact with us – you will receive quick and professional legal assistance.

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