Bulgarian family legislation has traditionally been used to modernize social relations. This article examines the effectiveness of such family legislation. For this purpose, an attempt was made to analyse the social reaction to such legal intervention: was it 'internalized' so as to guide social conduct, or was it rejected? This also requires consideration of the extent to which western legal norms can be applied in Bulgaria, which has a 'non-western' society. To what extent do the economic and social conditions in Bulgaria (which are very different from those in western societies) allow for the successful adaptation of other models, supposing the current capitalist development succeeds.