Law:Division 6. Nullity, Dissolution, And Legal Separation (California)

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Contents

Part 1. General Provisions

Chapter 1. Application Of Part

Ca Codes (fam:2000) Family.code Section 2000



2000. This part applies to a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties.


Chapter 2. Jurisdiction

Ca Codes (fam:2010-2013) Family.code Section 2010-2013



2010. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties, the court has jurisdiction to inquire into and render any judgment and make orders that are appropriate concerning the following: (a) The status of the marriage, including any marriage under subdivision (c) of Section 308. (b) The custody of minor children of the marriage. (c) The support of children for whom support may be ordered, including children born after the filing of the initial petition or the final decree of dissolution. (d) The support of either party. (e) The settlement of the property rights of the parties. (f) The award of attorney's fees and costs.


2011. When service of summons on a spouse is made pursuant to Section 415.50 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court, without the aid of attachment or the appointment of a receiver, shall have and may exercise the same jurisdiction over: (a) The community real property of the spouse so served situated in this state as it has or may exercise over the community real property of a spouse who is personally served with process within this state. (b) The quasi-community real property of the spouse so served situated in this state as it has or may exercise over the quasi-community real property of a spouse who is personally served with process within this state.


2012. (a) During the time a motion pursuant to Section 418.10 of the Code of Civil Procedure is pending, the respondent may appear in opposition to an order made during the pendency of the proceeding and the appearance shall not be deemed a general appearance by the respondent. (b) As used in this section, a motion pursuant to Section 418.10 of the Code of Civil Procedure is pending from the time notice of motion is served and filed until the time within which to petition for a writ of mandate has expired or, if a petition is made, until the time final judgment in the mandate proceeding is entered.


2013. (a) If a written agreement is entered into by the parties, the parties may utilize a collaborative law process to resolve any matter governed by this code over which the court is granted jurisdiction pursuant to Section 2000. (b) "Collaborative law process" means the process in which the parties and any professionals engaged by the parties to assist them agree in writing to use their best efforts and to make a good faith attempt to resolve disputes related to the family law matters as referenced in subdivision (a) on an agreed basis without resorting to adversary judicial intervention.


Chapter 3. Procedural Provisions

Ca Codes (fam:2020-2026) Family.code Section 2020-2026



2020. A responsive pleading, if any, shall be filed and a copy served on the petitioner within 30 days of the date of the service on the respondent of a copy of the petition and summons.


2021. (a) Subject to subdivision (b), the court may order that a person who claims an interest in the proceeding be joined as a party to the proceeding in accordance with rules adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 211. (b) An employee benefit plan may be joined as a party only in accordance with Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 2060).


2022. (a) Evidence collected by eavesdropping in violation of Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1 of the Penal Code is inadmissible. (b) If it appears that a violation described in subdivision (a) exists, the court may refer the matter to the proper authority for investigation and prosecution.


2023. (a) On a determination that payment of an obligation of a party would benefit either party or a child for whom support may be ordered, the court may order one of the parties to pay the obligation, or a portion thereof, directly to the creditor. (b) The creditor has no right to enforce the order made under this section, nor are the creditor's rights affected by the determination made under this section.


2024. (a) A petition for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation of the parties, or a joint petition for summary dissolution of marriage, shall contain the following notice: "Dissolution or annulment of your marriage may automatically cancel your spouse's rights under your will, trust, retirement benefit plan, power of attorney, pay on death bank account, transfer on death vehicle registration, survivorship rights to any property owned in joint tenancy, and any other similar thing. It does not automatically cancel your spouse's rights as beneficiary of your life insurance policy. If these are not the results that you want, you must change your will, trust, account agreement, or other similar document to reflect your actual wishes. Dissolution or annulment of your marriage may also automatically cancel your rights under your spouse's will, trust, retirement benefit plan, power of attorney, pay on death bank account, transfer on death vehicle registration, and survivorship rights to any property owned in joint tenancy, and any other similar thing. It does not automatically cancel your rights as beneficiary of your spouse's life insurance policy. You should review these matters, as well as any credit cards, other credit accounts, insurance policies, retirement benefit plans, and credit reports to determine whether they should be changed or whether you should take any other actions in view of the dissolution or annulment of your marriage, or your legal separation. However, some changes may require the agreement of your spouse or a court order (see Part 3 (commencing with Section 231) of Division 2 of the Family Code)." (b) A judgment for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties shall contain the following notice: "Dissolution or annulment of your marriage may automatically cancel your spouse's rights under your will, trust, retirement benefit plan, power of attorney, pay on death bank account, transfer on death vehicle registration, survivorship rights to any property owned in joint tenancy, and any other similar thing. It does not automatically cancel your spouse's rights as beneficiary of your life insurance policy. If these are not the results that you want, you must change your will, trust, account agreement, or other similar document to reflect your actual wishes. Dissolution or annulment of your marriage may also automatically cancel your rights under your spouse's will, trust, retirement benefit plan, power of attorney, pay on death bank account, transfer on death vehicle registration, survivorship rights to any property owned in joint tenancy, and any other similar thing. It does not automatically cancel your rights as beneficiary of your spouse's life insurance policy. You should review these matters, as well as any credit cards, other credit accounts, insurance policies, retirement benefit plans, and credit reports to determine whether they should be changed or whether you should take any other actions in view of the dissolution or annulment of your marriage, or your legal separation."


2024.5. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the petitioner or respondent may redact any social security number from any pleading, attachment, document, or other written material filed with the court pursuant to a petition for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation. The Judicial Council form used to file such a petition, or a response to such a petition, shall contain a notice that the parties may redact any social security numbers from those pleadings, attachments, documents, or other material filed with the court. (b) An abstract of support judgment, the form required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 4014, or any similar form created for the purpose of collecting child or spousal support payments may not be redacted pursuant to subdivision (a).


2024.6. (a) Upon request by a party to a petition for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation, the court shall order a pleading that lists the parties' financial assets and liabilities and provides the location or identifying information about those assets and liabilities sealed. The request may be made by ex parte application. Nothing sealed pursuant to this section may be unsealed except upon petition to the court and good cause shown. (b) Commencing not later than July 1, 2005, the Judicial Council form used to declare assets and liabilities of the parties in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation of the parties shall require the party filing the form to state whether the declaration contains identifying information on the assets and liabilities listed therein. If the party making the request uses a pleading other than the Judicial Council form, the pleading shall exhibit a notice on the front page, in bold capital letters, that the pleading lists and identifies financial information and is therefore subject to this section. (c) For purposes of this section, "pleading" means a document that sets forth or declares the parties' assets and liabilities, income and expenses, a marital settlement agreement that lists and identifies the parties' assets and liabilities, or any document filed with the court incidental to the declaration or agreement that lists and identifies financial information. (d) The party making the request to seal a pleading pursuant to subdivision (a) shall serve a copy of the pleading on the other party to the proceeding and file a proof of service with the request to seal the pleading. (e) Nothing in this section precludes a party to a proceeding described in this section from using any document or information contained in a sealed pleading in any manner that is not otherwise prohibited by law.


2025. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the court has ordered an issue or issues bifurcated for separate trial or hearing in advance of the disposition of the entire case, a court of appeal may order an issue or issues transferred to it for hearing and decision when the court that heard the issue or issues certifies that the appeal is appropriate. Certification by the court shall be in accordance with rules promulgated by the Judicial Council.


2026. The reconciliation of the parties, whether conditional or unconditional, is an ameliorating factor to be considered by the court in considering a contempt of an existing court order.


Chapter 3.5. Attorney's Fees And Costs

Ca Codes (fam:2030-2034) Family.code Section 2030-2034



2030. (a) (1) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation of the parties, and in any proceeding subsequent to entry of a related judgment, the court shall ensure that each party has access to legal representation, including access early in the proceedings, to preserve each party's rights by ordering, if necessary based on the income and needs assessments, one party, except a governmental entity, to pay to the other party, or to the other party's attorney, whatever amount is reasonably necessary for attorney's fees and for the cost of maintaining or defending the proceeding during the pendency of the proceeding. (2) When a request for attorney's fees and costs is made, the court shall make findings on whether an award of attorney's fees and costs under this section is appropriate, whether there is a disparity in access to funds to retain counsel, and whether one party is able to pay for legal representation of both parties. If the findings demonstrate disparity in access and ability to pay, the court shall make an order awarding attorney's fees and costs. A party who lacks the financial ability to hire an attorney may request, as an in pro per litigant, that the court order the other party, if that other party has the financial ability, to pay a reasonable amount to allow the unrepresented party to retain an attorney in a timely manner before proceedings in the matter go forward. (b) Attorney's fees and costs within this section may be awarded for legal services rendered or costs incurred before or after the commencement of the proceeding. (c) The court shall augment or modify the original award for attorney's fees and costs as may be reasonably necessary for the prosecution or defense of the proceeding, or any proceeding related thereto, including after any appeal has been concluded. (d) Any order requiring a party who is not the spouse of another party to the proceeding to pay attorney's fees or costs shall be limited to an amount reasonably necessary to maintain or defend the action on the issues relating to that party. (e) The Judicial Council shall, by January 1, 2012, adopt a statewide rule of court to implement this section and develop a form for the information that shall be submitted to the court to obtain an award of attorney's fees under this section.


2031. (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), during the pendency of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, for legal separation of the parties, or any proceeding subsequent to entry of a related judgment, an application for a temporary order making, augmenting, or modifying an award of attorney' s fees, including a reasonable retainer to hire an attorney, or costs or both shall be made by motion on notice or by an order to show cause. (2) The court shall rule on an application within 15 days of the hearing on the motion or order to show cause. (b) An order described in subdivision (a) may be made without notice by an oral motion in open court at either of the following times: (1) At the time of the hearing of the cause on the merits. (2) At any time before entry of judgment against a party whose default has been entered pursuant to Section 585 or 586 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The court shall rule on any motion made pursuant to this subdivision within 15 days and prior to the entry of any judgment.


2032. (a) The court may make an award of attorney's fees and costs under Section 2030 or 2031 where the making of the award, and the amount of the award, are just and reasonable under the relative circumstances of the respective parties. (b) In determining what is just and reasonable under the relative circumstances, the court shall take into consideration the need for the award to enable each party, to the extent practical, to have sufficient financial resources to present the party's case adequately, taking into consideration, to the extent relevant, the circumstances of the respective parties described in Section 4320. The fact that the party requesting an award of attorney's fees and costs has resources from which the party could pay the party's own attorney's fees and costs is not itself a bar to an order that the other party pay part or all of the fees and costs requested. Financial resources are only one factor for the court to consider in determining how to apportion the overall cost of the litigation equitably between the parties under their relative circumstances. (c) The court may order payment of an award of attorney's fees and costs from any type of property, whether community or separate, principal or income. (d) Either party may, at any time before the hearing of the cause on the merits, on noticed motion, request the court to make a finding that the case involves complex or substantial issues of fact or law related to property rights, visitation, custody, or support. Upon that finding, the court may in its discretion determine the appropriate, equitable allocation of attorney's fees, court costs, expert fees, and consultant fees between the parties. The court order may provide for the allocation of separate or community assets, security against these assets, and for payments from income or anticipated income of either party for the purpose described in this subdivision and for the benefit of one or both parties. Payments shall be authorized only on agreement of the parties or, in the absence thereof, by court order. The court may order that a referee be appointed pursuant to Section 639 of the Code of Civil Procedure to oversee the allocation of fees and costs.


2033. (a) Either party may encumber his or her interest in community real property to pay reasonable attorney's fees in order to retain or maintain legal counsel in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties. This encumbrance shall be known as a "family law attorney's real property lien" and attaches only to the encumbering party's interest in the community real property. (b) Notice of a family law attorney's real property lien shall be served either personally or on the other party's attorney of record at least 15 days before the encumbrance is recorded. This notice shall contain a declaration signed under penalty of perjury containing all of the following: (1) A full description of the real property. (2) The party's belief as to the fair market value of the property and documentation supporting that belief. (3) Encumbrances on the property as of the date of the declaration. (4) A list of community assets and liabilities and their estimated values as of the date of the declaration. (5) The amount of the family law attorney's real property lien. (c) The nonencumbering party may file an ex parte objection to the family law attorney's real property lien. The objection shall include a request to stay the recordation until further notice of the court and shall contain a copy of the notice received. The objection shall also include a declaration signed under penalty of perjury as to all of the following: (1) Specific objections to the family law attorney's real property lien and to the specific items in the notice. (2) The objector's belief as to the appropriate items or value and any documentation supporting that belief. (3) A declaration specifically stating why recordation of the encumbrance at this time would likely result in an unequal division of property or would otherwise be unjust under the circumstances of the case. (d) Except as otherwise provided by this section, general procedural rules regarding ex parte motions apply. (e) An attorney for whom a family law attorney's real property lien is obtained shall comply with Rule 3-300 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California.


2034. (a) On application of either party, the court may deny the family law attorney's real property lien described in Section 2033 based on a finding that the encumbrance would likely result in an unequal division of property because it would impair the encumbering party's ability to meet his or her fair share of the community obligations or would otherwise be unjust under the circumstances of the case. The court may also for good cause limit the amount of the family law attorney's real property lien. A limitation by the court is not to be construed as a determination of reasonable attorney's fees. (b) On receiving an objection to the establishment of a family law attorney's real property lien, the court may on its own motion determine whether the case involves complex or substantial issues of fact or law related to property rights, visitation, custody, or support. If the court finds that the case involves one or more of these complex or substantial issues, the court may determine the appropriate, equitable allocation of fees and costs as provided in subdivision (d) of Section 2032. (c) The court has jurisdiction to resolve any dispute arising from the existence of a family law attorney's real property lien.


Chapter 4. Protective And Restraining Orders

Article 1. Orders In Summons

Ca Codes (fam:2040-2041) Family.code Section 2040-2041



2040. (a) In addition to the contents required by Section 412.20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the summons shall contain a temporary restraining order: (1) Restraining both parties from removing the minor child or children of the parties, if any, from the state without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court. (2) Restraining both parties from transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, and requiring each party to notify the other party of any proposed extraordinary expenditures at least five business days before incurring those expenditures and to account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after service of the summons on that party. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in the restraining order shall preclude a party from using community property, quasi-community property, or the party's own separate property to pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs in order to retain legal counsel in the proceeding. A party who uses community property or quasi-community property to pay his or her attorney's retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the community for the use of the property. A party who uses other property that is subsequently determined to be the separate property of the other party to pay his or her attorney's retainer for fees and costs under this provision shall account to the other party for the use of the property. (3) Restraining both parties from cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered. (4) Restraining both parties from creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court. (b) Nothing in this section restrains any of the following: (1) Creation, modification, or revocation of a will. (2) Revocation of a nonprobate transfer, including a revocable trust, pursuant to the instrument, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect. (3) Elimination of a right of survivorship to property, provided that notice of the change is filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect. (4) Creation of an unfunded revocable or irrevocable trust. (5) Execution and filing of a disclaimer pursuant to Part 8 (commencing with Section 260) of Division 2 of the Probate Code. (c) In all actions filed on and after January 1, 1995, the summons shall contain the following notice: "WARNING: California law provides that, for purposes of division of property upon dissolution of marriage or legal separation, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form is presumed to be community property. If either party to this action should die before the jointly held community property is divided, the language of how title is held in the deed (i.e., joint tenancy, tenants in common, or community property) will be controlling and not the community property presumption. You should consult your attorney if you want the community property presumption to be written into the recorded title to the property." (d) For the purposes of this section: (1) "Nonprobate transfer" means an instrument, other than a will, that makes a transfer of property on death, including a revocable trust, pay on death account in a financial institution, Totten trust, transfer on death registration of personal property, or other instrument of a type described in Section 5000 of the Probate Code. (2) "Nonprobate transfer" does not include a provision for the transfer of property on death in an insurance policy or other coverage held for the benefit of the parties and their child or children for whom support may be ordered, to the extent that the provision is subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a). (e) The restraining order included in the summons shall include descriptions of the notices required by paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (b).

2041. Nothing in Section 2040 adversely affects the rights, title, and interest of a purchaser for value, encumbrancer for value, or lessee for value who is without actual knowledge of the restraining order.


Article 2. Ex Parte Orders

Ca Codes (fam:2045) Family.code Section 2045



2045. During the pendency of the proceeding, on application of a party in the manner provided by Part 4 (commencing with Section 240) of Division 2, the court may issue ex parte any of the following orders: (a) An order restraining any person from transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, and if the order is directed against a party, requiring that party to notify the other party of any proposed extraordinary expenditures and to account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures. (b) A protective order, as defined in Section 6218, and any other order as provided in Article 1 (commencing with Section 6320) of Chapter 2 of Part 4 of Division 10.


Article 3. Orders After Notice And Hearing

Ca Codes (fam:2047) Family.code Section 2047



2047. (a) After notice and a hearing, the court may issue a protective order, as defined in Section 6218, and any other restraining order as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 6340) of Chapter 2 of Part 4 of Division 10. (b) The court may not issue a mutual protective order pursuant to subdivision (a) unless it meets the requirements of Section 6305.


Article 4. Orders Included In Judgment

Ca Codes (fam:2049) Family.code Section 2049



2049. A judgment may include a protective order, as defined in Section 6218, and any other restraining order as provided in Article 3 (commencing with Section 6360) of Chapter 2 of Part 4 of Division 10.


Chapter 5. Notice To Insurance Carriers

Ca Codes (fam:2050-2053) Family.code Section 2050-2053



2050. Upon filing of the petition, or at any time during the proceeding, a party may transmit to, or the court may order transmittal to, a health, life, or disability insurance carrier or plan the following notice in substantially the following form: "YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED, PURSUANT TO A PENDING PROCEEDING, IN RE MARRIAGE OF ____, CASE NUMBER ____, FILED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF ____, THAT OWNERSHIP OF, OR BENEFITS PAYABLE UNDER, A POLICY OF HEALTH, LIFE, OR DISABILITY INSURANCE WHICH YOU HAVE ISSUED TO ONE OF THE PARTIES TO THIS PROCEEDING, POLICY NO. ____, IS AT ISSUE OR MAY BE AT ISSUE IN THE PROCEEDING. YOU ARE HEREBY INSTRUCTED TO MAINTAIN THE NAMED BENEFICIARIES OR COVERED DEPENDENTS UNDER THE POLICY, UNLESS THE TERMS OF THE POLICY OR OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW REQUIRE OTHERWISE, OR UNTIL RECEIPT OF A COURT ORDER, JUDGMENT, OR STIPULATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES PROVIDING OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. YOU ARE FURTHER INSTRUCTED TO SEND NOTICE TO THE NAMED BENEFICIARIES, COVERED DEPENDENTS, OR OTHER SPECIFIED PERSONS UPON CANCELLATION, LAPSE, OR CHANGE OF THE COVERAGE, OR CHANGE OF DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE POLICY."


2051. Upon the entry of an order or judgment in the proceeding requiring a party to maintain existing health, life, or disability insurance coverage for a spouse or children or after an order or judgment in the proceeding requiring a party to purchase life or disability insurance and name the spouse or children as beneficiaries and upon receipt of the name, title, and address of the insurer, or the name of the plan's trustee, administrator, or agent for service of process, a party may transmit to, or the court may order transmittal to, the insurer or plan a copy of the order or judgment endorsed by the court, together with the following notice in substantially the following form: "PURSUANT TO A PROCEEDING, IN RE MARRIAGE OF ____, CASE NUMBER ____, IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF ____, YOUR INSURED, ____, HAS BEEN ORDERED TO MAINTAIN THE EXISTING (HEALTH) (LIFE) (DISABILITY) INSURANCE COVERAGE, POLICY NO. ____, IN FORCE FOR THE NAMED BENEFICIARIES OR COVERED DEPENDENTS AS SPECIFIED IN THE ATTACHED ORDER OR JUDGMENT. THE ATTACHED ORDER OR JUDGMENT REQUIRES YOU TO MAINTAIN THE NAMED BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE POLICY AS IRREVOCABLE BENEFICIARIES OR COVERED DEPENDENTS OF THE POLICY AND YOU MUST ADMINISTER THE COVERAGE ACCORDINGLY, UNTIL THE DATE SPECIFIED, IF ANY, IN THE ORDER OR JUDGMENT, OR UNTIL THE RECEIPT OF A COURT ORDER, JUDGMENT, OR STIPULATION PROVIDING OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. YOU ARE FURTHER INSTRUCTED TO SEND NOTICE TO THE NAMED BENEFICIARIES, COVERED DEPENDENTS, OR OTHER SPECIFIED PERSONS UPON ANY CANCELLATION, LAPSE, OR CHANGE OF COVERAGE, OR CHANGE OF DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES UNDER THIS POLICY."


2052. Notice pursuant to this chapter may be sent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address of the covered dependents, named beneficiaries, or other specified persons who have requested receipt of notification.

2053. The insured or policyholder who is a party to the proceeding shall furnish to the other party the name, title, and address of the insurer or the insurer's agent for service of process.


Chapter 6. Employee Pension Benefit Plan As Party

Article 1. Joinder Of Plan

Ca Codes (fam:2060-2065) Family.code Section 2060-2065



2060. (a) Upon written application by a party, the clerk shall enter an order joining as a party to the proceeding any employee benefit plan in which either party to the proceeding claims an interest that is or may be subject to disposition by the court. (b) An order or judgment in the proceeding is not enforceable against an employee benefit plan unless the plan has been joined as a party to the proceeding.


2061. Upon entry of the order under Section 2060, the party requesting joinder shall file an appropriate pleading setting forth the party's claim against the plan and the nature of the relief sought.

2062. (a) The party requesting joinder shall serve all of the following upon the employee benefit plan: (1) A copy of the pleading on joinder. (2) A copy of the request for joinder and order of joinder. (3) A copy of the summons (joinder). (4) A blank copy of a notice of appearance in form and content approved by the Judicial Council. (b) Service shall be made in the same manner as service of papers generally. Service of the summons upon a trustee or administrator of the plan in its capacity as trustee or administrator, or upon an agent designated by the plan for service of process in its capacity as agent, constitutes service upon the plan. (c) To facilitate identification and service, the employee spouse shall furnish to the nonemployee spouse within 30 days after written request, as to each employee benefit plan covering the employee, the name of the plan, the name, title, address, and telephone number of the plan's trustee, administrator, or agent for service of process. If necessary, the employee shall obtain the information from the plan or plan sponsor.

2063. (a) The employee benefit plan shall file and serve a copy of a notice of appearance upon the party requesting joinder within 30 days of the date of the service upon the plan of a copy of the joinder request and summons. (b) The employee benefit plan may, but need not, file an appropriate responsive pleading with its notice of appearance. If the plan does not file a responsive pleading, all statements of fact and requests for relief contained in any pleading served on the plan are deemed to be controverted by the plan's notice of appearance.


2064. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, the employee benefit plan is not required to pay any fee to the clerk of the court as a condition to filing the notice of appearance or any subsequent paper in the proceeding.

2065. If the employee benefit plan has been served and no notice of appearance, notice of motion to quash service of summons pursuant to Section 418.10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or notice of the filing of a petition for writ of mandate as provided in that section, has been filed with the clerk of the court within the time specified in the summons or such further time as may be allowed, the clerk, upon written application of the party requesting joinder, shall enter the default of the employee benefit plan in accordance with Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 585) of Title 8 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.


Article 2. Proceedings After Joinder

Ca Codes (fam:2070-2074) Family.code Section 2070-2074



2070. (a) This article governs a proceeding in which an employee benefit plan has been joined as a party. (b) To the extent not in conflict with this article and except as otherwise provided by rules adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 211, all provisions of law applicable to civil actions generally apply, regardless of nomenclature, to the portion of the proceeding as to which an employee benefit plan has been joined as a party if those provisions would otherwise apply to the proceeding without reference to this article.

2071. Either party or their representatives may notify the employee benefit plan of any proposed property settlement as it concerns the plan before any hearing at which the proposed property settlement will be a matter before the court. If so notified, the plan may stipulate to the proposed settlement or advise the representative that it will contest the proposed settlement.


2072. The employee benefit plan is not required to, but may, appear at any hearing in the proceeding. For purposes of the Code of Civil Procedure, the plan shall be considered a party appearing at the trial with respect to any hearing at which the interest of the parties in the plan is an issue before the court.


2073. (a) Subject to subdivisions (b) and (c), the provisions of an order entered by stipulation of the parties or entered at or as a result of a hearing not attended by the employee benefit plan (whether or not the plan received notice of the hearing) which affect the plan or which affect any interest either the petitioner or respondent may have or claim under the plan, shall be stayed until 30 days after the order has been served upon the plan. (b) The plan may waive all or any portion of the 30-day period under subdivision (a). (c) If within the 30-day period, the plan files in the proceeding a motion to set aside or modify those provisions of the order affecting it, those provisions shall be stayed until the court has resolved the motion. (d) The duration of the stay described in subdivision (a), and the time period for filing the motion to set aside or modify provisions of the order, shall be extended to 60 days if the plan files with the court and serves on all affected parties a request for extension within the 30-day period. (e) Either spousal party may seek an order staying any other provisions of the order and associated orders or judgments related to or affected by the provisions to which the plan has objected, until the court has resolved the motion, in order to protect the right of the party to seek relief under subdivision (c) of Section 2074.


2074. (a) At any hearing on a motion to set aside or modify an order pursuant to Section 2073, any party may present further evidence on any issue relating to the rights of the parties under the employee benefit plan or the extent of the parties' community or quasi-community property interest in the plan, except where the parties have agreed in writing to the contrary. (b) Any statement of decision issued by the court with respect to the order which is the subject of the motion shall take account of the evidence referred to in subdivision (a). (c) If the provisions of the order affecting the employee benefit plan are modified or set aside, the court, on motion by either party, may set aside or modify other provisions of the order and associated orders or judgments related to or affected by the provisions affecting the plan.


Chapter 7. Restoration Of Wife's Former Name

Ca Codes (fam:2080-2082) Family.code Section 2080-2082



2080. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for nullity of marriage, but not in a proceeding for legal separation of the parties, the court, upon the request of a party, shall restore the birth name or former name of that party, regardless of whether or not a request for restoration of the name was included in the petition.


2081. The restoration of a former name or birth name requested under Section 2080 shall not be denied (a) on the basis that the party has custody of a minor child who bears a different name or (b) for any other reason other than fraud.

2082. Nothing in this code shall be construed to abrogate the common law right of any person to change one's name.


Chapter 8. Uniform Divorce Recognition Act

Ca Codes (fam:2090-2093) Family.code Section 2090-2093



2090. This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Divorce Recognition Act.

2091. A divorce obtained in another jurisdiction shall be of no force or effect in this state if both parties to the marriage were domiciled in this state at the time the proceeding for the divorce was commenced.

2092. Proof that a person hereafter obtaining a divorce from the bonds of matrimony in another jurisdiction was (a) domiciled in this state within 12 months before the commencement of the proceeding therefor, and resumed residence in this state within 18 months after the date of the person's departure therefrom, or (b) at all times after the person's departure from this state and until the person's return maintained a place of residence within this state, shall be prima facie evidence that the person was domiciled in this state when the divorce proceeding was commenced.


2093. The application of this chapter is limited by the requirement of the Constitution of the United States that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.


Chapter 9. Disclosure Of Assets And Liabilities

Ca Codes (fam:2100-2113) Family.code Section 2100-2113



2100. The Legislature finds and declares the following: (a) It is the policy of the State of California (1) to marshal, preserve, and protect community and quasi-community assets and liabilities that exist at the date of separation so as to avoid dissipation of the community estate before distribution, (2) to ensure fair and sufficient child and spousal support awards, and (3) to achieve a division of community and quasi-community assets and liabilities on the dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties as provided under California law. (b) Sound public policy further favors the reduction of the adversarial nature of marital dissolution and the attendant costs by fostering full disclosure and cooperative discovery. (c) In order to promote this public policy, a full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties have or may have an interest must be made in the early stages of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, regardless of the characterization as community or separate, together with a disclosure of all income and expenses of the parties. Moreover, each party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.


2101. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the following definitions apply to this chapter: (a) "Asset" includes, but is not limited to, any real or personal property of any nature, whether tangible or intangible, and whether currently existing or contingent. (b) "Default judgment" does not include a stipulated judgment or any judgment pursuant to a marital settlement agreement. (c) "Earnings and accumulations" includes income from whatever source derived, as provided in Section 4058. (d) "Expenses" includes, but is not limited to, all personal living expenses, but does not include business related expenses. (e) "Income and expense declaration" includes the Income and Expense Declaration forms approved for use by the Judicial Council, and any other financial statement that is approved for use by the Judicial Council in lieu of the Income and Expense Declaration, if the financial statement form satisfies all other applicable criteria. (f) "Liability" includes, but is not limited to, any debt or obligation, whether currently existing or contingent.


2102. (a) From the date of separation to the date of the distribution of the community or quasi-community asset or liability in question, each party is subject to the standards provided in Section 721, as to all activities that affect the assets and liabilities of the other party, including, but not limited to, the following activities: (1) The accurate and complete disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which the party has or may have an interest or obligation and all current earnings, accumulations, and expenses, including an immediate, full, and accurate update or augmentation to the extent there have been any material changes. (2) The accurate and complete written disclosure of any investment opportunity, business opportunity, or other income-producing opportunity that presents itself after the date of separation, but that results from any investment, significant business activity outside the ordinary course of business, or other income-producing opportunity of either spouse from the date of marriage to the date of separation, inclusive. The written disclosure shall be made in sufficient time for the other spouse to make an informed decision as to whether he or she desires to participate in the investment opportunity, business, or other potential income-producing opportunity, and for the court to resolve any dispute regarding the right of the other spouse to participate in the opportunity. In the event of nondisclosure of an investment opportunity, the division of any gain resulting from that opportunity is governed by the standard provided in Section 2556. (3) The operation or management of a business or an interest in a business in which the community may have an interest. (b) From the date that a valid, enforceable, and binding resolution of the disposition of the asset or liability in question is reached, until the asset or liability has actually been distributed, each party is subject to the standards provided in Section 721 as to all activities that affect the assets or liabilities of the other party. Once a particular asset or liability has been distributed, the duties and standards set forth in Section 721 shall end as to that asset or liability. (c) From the date of separation to the date of a valid, enforceable, and binding resolution of all issues relating to child or spousal support and professional fees, each party is subject to the standards provided in Section 721 as to all issues relating to the support and fees, including immediate, full, and accurate disclosure of all material facts and information regarding the income or expenses of the party.

2103. In order to provide full and accurate disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which one or both parties may have an interest, each party to a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of the parties shall serve on the other party a preliminary declaration of disclosure under Section 2104 and a final declaration of disclosure under Section 2105, unless service of the final declaration of disclosure is waived pursuant to Section 2105 or 2110, and shall file proof of service of each with the court.


2104. (a) Except by court order for good cause, as provided in Section 2107, after or concurrently with service of the petition for dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties, each party shall serve on the other party a preliminary declaration of disclosure, executed under penalty of perjury on a form prescribed by the Judicial Council. The commission of perjury on the preliminary declaration of disclosure may be grounds for setting aside the judgment, or any part or parts thereof, pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2120), in addition to any and all other remedies, civil or criminal, that otherwise are available under law for the commission of perjury. (b) The preliminary declaration of disclosure shall not be filed with the court, except on court order. However, the parties shall file proof of service of the preliminary declaration of disclosure with the court. (c) The preliminary declaration of disclosure shall set forth with sufficient particularity, that a person of reasonable and ordinary intelligence can ascertain, all of the following: (1) The identity of all assets in which the declarant has or may have an interest and all liabilities for which the declarant is or may be liable, regardless of the characterization of the asset or liability as community, quasi-community, or separate. (2) The declarant's percentage of ownership in each asset and percentage of obligation for each liability where property is not solely owned by one or both of the parties. The preliminary declaration may also set forth the declarant's characterization of each asset or liability. (d) A declarant may amend his or her preliminary declaration of disclosure without leave of the court. Proof of service of any amendment shall be filed with the court. (e) Along with the preliminary declaration of disclosure, each party shall provide the other party with a completed income and expense declaration unless an income and expense declaration has already been provided and is current and valid.


2105. (a) Except by court order for good cause, before or at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of property or support issues other than pendente lite support, or, if the case goes to trial, no later than 45 days before the first assigned trial date, each party, or the attorney for the party in this matter, shall serve on the other party a final declaration of disclosure and a current income and expense declaration, executed under penalty of perjury on a form prescribed by the Judicial Council, unless the parties mutually waive the final declaration of disclosure. The commission of perjury on the final declaration of disclosure by a party may be grounds for setting aside the judgment, or any part or parts thereof, pursuant to Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2120), in addition to any and all other remedies, civil or criminal, that otherwise are available under law for the commission of perjury. (b) The final declaration of disclosure shall include all of the following information: (1) All material facts and information regarding the characterization of all assets and liabilities. (2) All material facts and information regarding the valuation of all assets that are contended to be community property or in which it is contended the community has an interest. (3) All material facts and information regarding the amounts of all obligations that are contended to be community obligations or for which it is contended the community has liability. (4) All material facts and information regarding the earnings, accumulations, and expenses of each party that have been set forth in the income and expense declaration. (c) In making an order setting aside a judgment for failure to comply with this section, the court may limit the set aside to those portions of the judgment materially affected by the nondisclosure. (d) The parties may stipulate to a mutual waiver of the requirements of subdivision (a) concerning the final declaration of disclosure, by execution of a waiver under penalty of perjury entered into in open court or by separate stipulation. The waiver shall include all of the following representations: (1) Both parties have complied with Section 2104 and the preliminary declarations of disclosure have been completed and exchanged. (2) Both parties have completed and exchanged a current income and expense declaration, that includes all material facts and information regarding that party's earnings, accumulations, and expenses. (3) Both parties have fully complied with Section 2102 and have fully augmented the preliminary declarations of disclosure, including disclosure of all material facts and information regarding the characterization of all assets and liabilities, the valuation of all assets that are contended to be community property or in which it is contended the community has an interest, and the amounts of all obligations that are contended to be community obligations or for which it is contended the community has liability. (4) The waiver is knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered into by each of the parties. (5) Each party understands that this waiver does not limit the legal disclosure obligations of the parties, but rather is a statement under penalty of perjury that those obligations have been fulfilled. Each party further understands that noncompliance with those obligations will result in the court setting aside the judgment.


2106. Except as provided in subdivision (d) of Section 2105, Section 2110, or absent good cause as provided in Section 2107, no judgment shall be entered with respect to the parties' property rights without each party, or the attorney for that party in this matter, having executed and served a copy of the final declaration of disclosure and current income and expense declaration. Each party, or his or her attorney, shall execute and file with the court a declaration signed under penalty of perjury stating that service of the final declaration of disclosure and current income and expense declaration was made on the other party or that service of the final declaration of disclosure has been waived pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 2105 or in Section 2110.


2107. (a) If one party fails to serve on the other party a preliminary declaration of disclosure under Section 2104 or a final declaration of disclosure under Section 2105, or fails to provide the information required in the respective declarations with sufficient particularity, and if the other party has served the respective declaration of disclosure on the noncomplying party, the complying party may, within a reasonable time, request preparation of the appropriate declaration of disclosure or further particularity. (b) If the noncomplying party fails to comply with a request under subdivision (a), the complying party may do one or more of the following: (1) File a motion to compel a further response. (2) File a motion for an order preventing the noncomplying party from presenting evidence on issues that should have been covered in the declaration of disclosure. (3) File a motion showing good cause for the court to grant the complying party's voluntary waiver of receipt of the noncomplying party's preliminary declaration of disclosure pursuant to Section 2104 or final declaration of disclosure pursuant to Section 2105. The voluntary waiver does not affect the rights enumerated in subdivision (d). (c) If a party fails to comply with any provision of this chapter, the court shall, in addition to any other remedy provided by law, impose money sanctions against the noncomplying party. Sanctions shall be in an amount sufficient to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct, and shall include reasonable attorney's fees, costs incurred, or both, unless the court finds that the noncomplying party acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (d) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, if a court enters a judgment when the parties have failed to comply with all disclosure requirements of this chapter, the court shall set aside the judgment. The failure to comply with the disclosure requirements does not constitute harmless error. If the court granted the complying party's voluntary waiver of receipt of the noncomplying party's preliminary declaration of disclosure pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), the court shall set aside the judgment only at the request of the complying party, unless the motion to set aside the judgment is based on one of the following: (1) Actual fraud if the defrauded party was kept in ignorance or in some other manner was fraudulently prevented from fully participating in the proceeding. (2) Perjury, as defined in Section 118 of the Penal Code, in the preliminary or final declaration of disclosure, in the waiver of the final declaration of disclosure, or in the current income and expense statement. (e) Upon the motion to set aside judgment, the court may order the parties to provide the preliminary and final declarations of disclosure that were exchanged between them. Absent a court order to the contrary, the disclosure declarations shall not be filed with the court and shall be returned to the parties.


2108. At any time during the proceeding, the court has the authority, on application of a party and for good cause, to order the liquidation of community or quasi-community assets so as to avoid unreasonable market or investment risks, given the relative nature, scope, and extent of the community estate. However, in no event shall the court grant the application unless, as provided in this chapter, the appropriate declaration of disclosure has been served by the moving party.


2109. The provisions of this chapter requiring a final declaration of disclosure do not apply to a summary dissolution of marriage, but a preliminary declaration of disclosure is required.


2110. In the case of a default judgment, the petitioner may waive the final declaration of disclosure requirements provided in this chapter, and shall not be required to serve a final declaration of disclosure on the respondent nor receive a final declaration of disclosure from the respondent. However, a preliminary declaration of disclosure by the petitioner is required.


2111. A disclosure required by this chapter does not abrogate the attorney work product privilege or impede the power of the court to issue protective orders.


2112. The Judicial Council shall adopt appropriate forms and modify existing forms to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.


2113. This chapter applies to any proceeding commenced on or after January 1, 1993.


Chapter 10. Relief From Judgment

Ca Codes (fam:2120-2129) Family.code Section 2120-2129



2120. The Legislature finds and declares the following: (a) The State of California has a strong policy of ensuring the division of community and quasi-community property in the dissolution of a marriage as set forth in Division 7 (commencing with Section 2500), and of providing for fair and sufficient child and spousal support awards. These policy goals can only be implemented with full disclosure of community, quasi-community, and separate assets, liabilities, income, and expenses, as provided in Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 2100), and decisions freely and knowingly made. (b) It occasionally happens that the division of property or the award of support, whether made as a result of agreement or trial, is inequitable when made due to the nondisclosure or other misconduct of one of the parties. (c) The public policy of assuring finality of judgments must be balanced against the public interest in ensuring proper division of marital property, in ensuring sufficient support awards, and in deterring misconduct. (d) The law governing the circumstances under which a judgment can be set aside, after the time for relief under Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure has passed, has been the subject of considerable confusion which has led to increased litigation and unpredictable and inconsistent decisions at the trial and appellate levels.


2121. (a) In proceedings for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties, the court may, on any terms that may be just, relieve a spouse from a judgment, or any part or parts thereof, adjudicating support or division of property, after the six-month time limit of Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure has run, based on the grounds, and within the time limits, provided in this chapter. (b) In all proceedings under this chapter, before granting relief, the court shall find that the facts alleged as the grounds for relief materially affected the original outcome and that the moving party would materially benefit from the granting of the relief.


2122. The grounds and time limits for a motion to set aside a judgment, or any part or parts thereof, are governed by this section and shall be one of the following: (a) Actual fraud where the defrauded party was kept in ignorance or in some other manner was fraudulently prevented from fully participating in the proceeding. An action or motion based on fraud shall be brought within one year after the date on which the complaining party either did discover, or should have discovered, the fraud. (b) Perjury. An action or motion based on perjury in the preliminary or final declaration of disclosure, the waiver of the final declaration of disclosure, or in the current income and expense statement shall be brought within one year after the date on which the complaining party either did discover, or should have discovered, the perjury. (c) Duress. An action or motion based upon duress shall be brought within two years after the date of entry of judgment. (d) Mental incapacity. An action or motion based on mental incapacity shall be brought within two years after the date of entry of judgment. (e) As to stipulated or uncontested judgments or that part of a judgment stipulated to by the parties, mistake, either mutual or unilateral, whether mistake of law or mistake of fact. An action or motion based on mistake shall be brought within one year after the date of entry of judgment. (f) Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements of Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 2100). An action or motion based on failure to comply with the disclosure requirements shall be brought within one year after the date on which the complaining party either discovered, or should have discovered, the failure to comply.


2123. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, or any other law, a judgment may not be set aside simply because the court finds that it was inequitable when made, nor simply because subsequent circumstances caused the division of assets or liabilities to become inequitable, or the support to become inadequate.


2124. The negligence of an attorney shall not be imputed to a client to bar an order setting aside a judgment, unless the court finds that the client knew, or should have known, of the attorney's negligence and unreasonably failed to protect himself or herself.


2125. When ruling on an action or motion to set aside a judgment, the court shall set aside only those provisions materially affected by the circumstances leading to the court's decision to grant relief. However, the court has discretion to set aside the entire judgment, if necessary, for equitable considerations.

2126. As to assets or liabilities for which a judgment or part of a judgment is set aside, the date of valuation shall be subject to equitable considerations. The court shall equally divide the asset or liability, unless the court finds upon good cause shown that the interests of justice require an unequal division.


2127. As to actions or motions filed under this chapter, if a timely request is made, the court shall render a statement of decision where the court has resolved controverted factual evidence.


2128. (a) Nothing in this chapter prohibits a party from seeking relief under Section 2556. (b) Nothing in this chapter changes existing law with respect to contract remedies where the contract has not been merged or incorporated into a judgment. (c) Nothing in this chapter is intended to restrict a family law court from acting as a court of equity. (d) Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit existing law with respect to the modification or enforcement of support orders. (e) Nothing in this chapter affects the rights of a bona fide lessee, purchaser, or encumbrancer for value of real property.


2129. This chapter applies to judgments entered on or after January 1, 1993.


Part 2. Judicial Determination Of Void Or Voidable Marriage

Chapter 1. Void Marriage

Ca Codes (fam:2200-2201) Family.code Section 2200-2201



2200. Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces or aunts and nephews, are incestuous, and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate.


2201. (a) A subsequent marriage contracted by a person during the life of a former husband or wife of the person, with a person other than the former husband or wife, is illegal and void from the beginning, unless: (1) The former marriage has been dissolved or adjudged a nullity before the date of the subsequent marriage. (2) The former husband or wife (i) is absent, and not known to the person to be living for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or (ii) is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted. (b) In either of the cases described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), the subsequent marriage is valid until its nullity is adjudged pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2210.


Chapter 2. Voidable Marriage

Ca Codes (fam:2210-2212) Family.code Section 2210-2212



2210. A marriage is voidable and may be adjudged a nullity if any of the following conditions existed at the time of the marriage: (a) The party who commences the proceeding or on whose behalf the proceeding is commenced was without the capability of consenting to the marriage as provided in Section 301 or 302, unless, after attaining the age of consent, the party for any time freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife. (b) The husband or wife of either party was living and the marriage with that husband or wife was then in force and that husband or wife (1) was absent and not known to the party commencing the proceeding to be living for a period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage for which the judgment of nullity is sought or (2) was generally reputed or believed by the party commencing the proceeding to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted. (c) Either party was of unsound mind, unless the party of unsound mind, after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife. (d) The consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless the party whose consent was obtained by fraud afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife. (e) The consent of either party was obtained by force, unless the party whose consent was obtained by force afterwards freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife. (f) Either party was, at the time of marriage, physically incapable of entering into the marriage state, and that incapacity continues, and appears to be incurable.


2211. A proceeding to obtain a judgment of nullity of marriage, for causes set forth in Section 2210, must be commenced within the periods and by the parties, as follows: (a) For causes mentioned in subdivision (a) of Section 2210, by any of the following: (1) The party to the marriage who was married under the age of legal consent, within four years after arriving at the age of consent. (2) A parent, guardian, conservator, or other person having charge of the underaged male or female, at any time before the married minor has arrived at the age of legal consent. (b) For causes mentioned in subdivision (b) of Section 2210, by either of the following: (1) Either party during the life of the other. (2) The former husband or wife. (c) For causes mentioned in subdivision (c) of Section 2210, by the party injured, or by a relative or conservator of the party of unsound mind, at any time before the death of either party. (d) For causes mentioned in subdivision (d) of Section 2210, by the party whose consent was obtained by fraud, within four years after the discovery of the facts constituting the fraud. (e) For causes mentioned in subdivision (e) of Section 2210, by the party whose consent was obtained by force, within four years after the marriage. (f) For causes mentioned in subdivision (f) of Section 2210, by the injured party, within four years after the marriage.


2212. (a) The effect of a judgment of nullity of marriage is to restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons. (b) A judgment of nullity of marriage is conclusive only as to the parties to the proceeding and those claiming under them.



Chapter 3. Procedural Provisions

Ca Codes (fam:2250-2255) Family.code Section 2250-2255



2250. (a) A proceeding based on void or voidable marriage is commenced by filing a petition entitled "In re the marriage of ____ and ____" which shall state that it is a petition for a judgment of nullity of the marriage. (b) A copy of the petition together with a copy of a summons in form and content approved by the Judicial Council shall be served upon the other party to the marriage in the same manner as service of papers in civil actions generally.


2251. (a) If a determination is made that a marriage is void or voidable and the court finds that either party or both parties believed in good faith that the marriage was valid, the court shall: (1) Declare the party or parties to have the status of a putative spouse. (2) If the division of property is in issue, divide, in accordance with Division 7 (commencing with Section 2500), that property acquired during the union which would have been community property or quasi-community property if the union had not been void or voidable. This property is known as "quasi-marital property". (b) If the court expressly reserves jurisdiction, it may make the property division at a time after the judgment.


2252. The property divided pursuant to Section 2251 is liable for debts of the parties to the same extent as if the property had been community property or quasi-community property.


2253. In a proceeding under this part, custody of the children shall be determined according to Division 8 (commencing with Section 3000).

2254. The court may, during the pendency of a proceeding for nullity of marriage or upon judgment of nullity of marriage, order a party to pay for the support of the other party in the same manner as if the marriage had not been void or voidable if the party for whose benefit the order is made is found to be a putative spouse.


2255. The court may grant attorney's fees and costs in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 2030) of Part 1 in proceedings to have the marriage adjudged void and in those proceedings based upon voidable marriage in which the party applying for attorney's fees and costs is found to be innocent of fraud or wrongdoing in inducing or entering into the marriage, and free from knowledge of the then existence of any prior marriage or other impediment to the contracting of the marriage for which a judgment of nullity is sought.


Part 3. Dissolution Of Marriage And Legal Separation

Chapter 1. Effect Of Dissolution

Ca Codes (fam:2300) Family.code Section 2300



2300. The effect of a judgment of dissolution of marriage when it becomes final is to restore the parties to the state of unmarried persons.


Chapter 2. Grounds For Dissolution Or Legal Separation

Ca Codes (fam:2310-2313) Family.code Section 2310-2313



2310. Dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of the parties may be based on either of the following grounds, which shall be pleaded generally: (a) Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. (b) Incurable insanity.


2311. Irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.

2312. A marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of incurable insanity only upon proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony, that the insane spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and remains, incurably insane.

2313. No dissolution of marriage granted on the ground of incurable insanity relieves a spouse from any obligation imposed by law as a result of the marriage for the support of the spouse who is incurably insane, and the court may make such order for support, or require a bond therefor, as the circumstances require.


Chapter 3. Residence Requirements

Ca Codes (fam:2320-2322) Family.code Section 2320-2322



2320. A judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition.


2321. (a) In a proceeding for legal separation of the parties in which neither party, at the time the proceeding was commenced, has complied with the residence requirements of Section 2320, either party may, upon complying with the residence requirements, amend the party's petition or responsive pleading in the proceeding to request that a judgment of dissolution of the marriage be entered. The date of the filing of the amended petition or pleading shall be deemed to be the date of commencement of the proceeding for the dissolution of the marriage for the purposes only of the residence requirements of Section 2320. (b) If the other party has appeared in the proceeding, notice of the amendment shall be given to the other party in the manner provided by rules adopted by the Judicial Council. If no appearance has been made by the other party in the proceeding, notice of the amendment may be given to the other party by mail to the last known address of the other party, or by personal service, if the intent of the party to so amend upon satisfaction of the residence requirements of Section 2320 is set forth in the initial petition or pleading in the manner provided by rules adopted by the Judicial Council.


2322. For the purpose of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the husband and wife each may have a separate domicile or residence depending upon proof of the fact and not upon legal presumptions.


Chapter 4. General Procedural Provisions

Ca Codes (fam:2330-2348) Family.code Section 2330-2348



2330. (a) A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties is commenced by filing a petition entitled "In re the marriage of ____ and ____" which shall state whether it is a petition for dissolution of the marriage or for legal separation of the parties. (b) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the parties, the petition shall set forth among other matters, as nearly as can be ascertained, the following facts: (1) The date of marriage. (2) The date of separation. (3) The number of years from marriage to separation. (4) The number of children of the marriage, if any, and if none a statement of that fact. (5) The age and birth date of each minor child of the marriage.


2330.1. In any proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for legal separation of the parties, or for the support of children, the petition or complaint may list children born before the marriage to the same parties and, pursuant to the terms of the Uniform Parentage Act, a determination of paternity may be made in the action. In addition, a supplemental complaint may be filed, in any of those proceedings, pursuant to Section 464 of the Code of Civil Procedure, seeking a judgment or order of paternity or support for a child of the mother and father of the child whose paternity and support are already in issue before the court. A supplemental complaint for paternity or support of children may be filed without leave of court either before or after final judgment in the underlying action. Service of the supplemental summons and complaint shall be made in the manner provided for the initial service of a summons by this code.

2330.3. (a) All dissolution actions, to the greatest extent possible, shall be assigned to the same superior court department for all purposes, in order that all decisions in a case through final judgment shall be made by the same judicial officer. However, if the assignment will result in a significant delay of any family law matter, the dissolution action need not be assigned to the same superior court department for all purposes, unless the parties stipulate otherwise. (b) The Judicial Council shall adopt a standard of judicial administration prescribing a minimum length of assignment of a judicial officer to a family law assignment. (c) This section shall be operative on July 1, 1997.


2330.5. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if no demand for money, property, costs, or attorney's fees is contained in the petition and the judgment of dissolution of marriage is entered by default, the filing of income and expense declarations and property declarations in connection therewith shall not be required.


2331. A copy of the petition, together with a copy of a summons, in form and content approved by the Judicial Council shall be served upon the other party to the marriage in the same manner as service of papers in civil actions generally.


2332. (a) If the petition for dissolution of the marriage is based on the ground of incurable insanity and the insane spouse has a guardian or conservator, other than the spouse filing the petition, the petition and summons shall be served upon the insane spouse and the guardian or conservator. The guardian or conservator shall defend and protect the interests of the insane spouse. (b) If the insane spouse has no guardian or conservator, or if the spouse filing the petition is the guardian or conservator of the insane spouse, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, who may be the district attorney or the county counsel, if any, to defend and protect the interests of the insane spouse. If a district attorney or county counsel is appointed guardian ad litem pursuant to this subdivision, the successor in the office of district attorney or county counsel, as the case may be, succeeds as guardian ad litem, without further action by the court or parties. (c) "Guardian or conservator" as used in this section means: (1) With respect to the issue of the dissolution of the marriage relationship, the guardian or conservator of the person. (2) With respect to support and property division issues, the guardian or conservator of the estate.


2333. Subject to Section 2334, if from the evidence at the hearing the court finds that there are irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage, the court shall order the dissolution of the marriage or a legal separation of the parties.

2334. (a) If it appears that there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, the court shall continue the proceeding for the dissolution of the marriage or for a legal separation of the parties for a period not to exceed 30 days. (b) During the period of the continuance, the court may make orders for the support and maintenance of the parties, the custody of the minor children of the marriage, the support of children for whom support may be ordered, attorney's fees, and for the preservation of the property of the parties. (c) At any time after the termination of the period of the continuance, either party may move for the dissolution of the marriage or a legal separation of the parties, and the court may enter a judgment of dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of the parties.


2335. Except as otherwise provided by statute, in a pleading or proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, including depositions and discovery proceedings, evidence of specific acts of misconduct is improper and inadmissible.


2335.5. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, where the judgment is to be entered by default, the petitioner shall provide the court clerk with a stamped envelope bearing sufficient postage addressed to the spouse who has defaulted, with the address of the court clerk as the return address, and the court clerk shall mail a copy of the request to enter default to that spouse in the envelope provided. A judgment of dissolution or legal separation, including relief requested in the petition, shall not be denied solely on the basis that the request to enter default was returned unopened to the court. The court clerk shall maintain any such document returned by the post office as part of the court file in the case.


2336. (a) No judgment of dissolution or of legal separation of the parties may be granted upon the default of one of the parties or upon a statement or finding of fact made by a referee; but the court shall, in addition to the statement or finding of the referee, require proof of the grounds alleged, and the proof, if not taken before the court, shall be by affidavit. In all cases where there are minor children of the parties, each affidavit or offer of proof shall include an estimate by the declarant or affiant of the monthly gross income of each party. If the declarant or affiant has no knowledge of the estimated monthly income of a party, the declarant or affiant shall state why he or she has no knowledge. In all cases where there is a community estate, each affidavit or offer of proof shall include an estimate of the value of the assets and the debts the declarant or affiant proposes to be distributed to each party, unless the declarant or affiant has filed, or concurrently files, a complete and accurate property declaration with the court. (b) If the proof is by affidavit, the personal appearance of the affiant is required only when it appears to the court that any of the following circumstances exist: (1) Reconciliation of the parties is reasonably possible. (2) A proposed child custody order is not in the best interest of the child. (3) A proposed child support order is less than a noncustodial parent is capable of paying. (4) A personal appearance of a party or interested person would be in the best interests of justice. (c) An affidavit submitted pursuant to this section shall contain a stipulation by the affiant that the affiant understands that proof will be by affidavit and that the affiant will not appear before the court unless so ordered by the court.


2337. (a) In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court, upon noticed motion, may sever and grant an early and separate trial on the issue of the dissolution of the status of the marriage apart from other issues. (b) A preliminary declaration of disclosure with a completed schedule of assets and debts shall be served on the nonmoving party with the noticed motion unless it has been served previously, or unless the parties stipulate in writing to defer service of the preliminary declaration of disclosure until a later time. (c) The court may impose upon a party any of the following conditions on granting a severance of the issue of the dissolution of the status of the marriage, and in case of that party's death, an order of any of the following conditions continues to be binding upon that party's estate: (1) The party shall indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any taxes, reassessments, interest, and penalties payable by the other party in connection with the division of the community estate that would not have been payable if the parties were still married at the time the division was made. (2) Until judgment has been entered on all remaining issues and has become final, the party shall maintain all existing health and medical insurance coverage for the other party and any minor children as named dependents, so long as the party is eligible to do so. If at any time during this period the party is not eligible to maintain that coverage, the party shall, at the party's sole expense, provide and maintain health and medical insurance coverage that is comparable to the existing health and medical insurance coverage to the extent it is available. To the extent that coverage is not available, the party shall be responsible to pay, and shall demonstrate to the court' s satisfaction the ability to pay, for the health and medical care for the other party and the minor children, to the extent that care would have been covered by the existing insurance coverage but for the dissolution of marital status, and shall otherwise indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any adverse consequences resulting from the loss or reduction of the existing coverage. For purposes of this subdivision, "health and medical insurance coverage" includes any coverage for which the parties are eligible under any group or individual health or other medical plan, fund, policy, or program. (3) Until judgment has been entered on all remaining issues and has become final, the party shall indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any adverse consequences to the other party if the bifurcation results in a termination of the other party's right to a probate homestead in the residence in which the other party resides at the time the severance is granted. (4) Until judgment has been entered on all remaining issues and has become final, the party shall indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any adverse consequences to the other party if the bifurcation results in the loss of the rights of the other party to a probate family allowance as the surviving spouse of the party. (5) Until judgment has been entered on all remaining issues and has become final, the party shall indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any adverse consequences to the other party if the bifurcation results in the loss of the other party's rights with respect to any retirement, survivor, or deferred compensation benefits under any plan, fund, or arrangement, or to any elections or options associated therewith, to the extent that the other party would have been entitled to those benefits or elections as the spouse or surviving spouse of the party. (6) The party shall indemnify and hold the other party harmless from any adverse consequences if the bifurcation results in the loss of rights to social security benefits or elections to the extent the other party would have been entitled to those benefits or elections as the surviving spouse of the party. (7) (A) The court may make an order pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 5600 of the Probate Code, if appropriate, that a party maintain a beneficiary designation for a nonprobate transfer, as described in Section 5000 of the Probate Code, for a spouse or domestic partner for up to one-half of or, upon a showing of good cause, for all of a nonprobate transfer asset until judgment has been entered with respect to the community ownership of that asset, and until the other party's interest therein has been distributed to him or her. (B) Except upon a showing of good cause, this paragraph does not apply to any of the following: (i) A nonprobate transfer described in Section 5000 of the Probate Code that was not created by either party or that was acquired by either party by gift, descent, or devise. (ii) An irrevocable trust. (iii) A trust of which neither party is the grantor. (iv) Powers of appointment under a trust instrument that was not created by either party or of which neither party is a grantor. (v) The execution and filing of a disclaimer pursuant to Part 8 (commencing with Section 260) of Division 2 of the Probate Code. (vi) The appointment of a party as a trustee. (8) In order to preserve the ability of the party to defer the distribution of the Individual Retirement Account or annuity (IRA) established under Section 408 or 408A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (IRC) upon the death of the other party, the court may require that one-half, or all upon a showing of good cause, of the community interest in any IRA, by or for the benefit of the party, be assigned and transferred to the other party pursuant to Section 408(d)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. This paragraph does not limit the power granted pursuant to subdivision (g). (9) Upon a showing that circumstances exist that would place a substantial burden of enforcement upon either party's community property rights or would eliminate the ability of the surviving party to enforce his or her community property rights if the other party died before the division and distribution or compliance with any court-ordered payment of any community property interest therein, including, but not limited to, a situation in which preemption under federal law applies to an asset of a party, or purchase by a bona fide purchaser has occurred, the court may order a specific security interest designed to reduce or eliminate the likelihood that a postmortem enforcement proceeding would be ineffective or unduly burdensome to the surviving party. For this purpose, those orders may include, but are not limited to, any of the following: (A) An order that the party provide an undertaking. (B) An order to provide a security interest by Qualified Domestic Relations Order from that party's share of a retirement plan or plans. (C) An order for the creation of a trust as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 82 of the Probate Code. (D) An order for other arrangements as may be reasonably necessary and feasible to provide appropriate security in the event of the party's death before judgment has been entered with respect to the community ownership of that asset, and until the other party's interest therein has been distributed to him or her. (E) If a retirement plan is not subject to an enforceable court order for the payment of spousal survivor benefits to the other party, an interim order requiring the party to pay or cause to be paid, and to post adequate security for the payment of, any survivor benefit that would have been payable to the other party on the death of the party but for the judgment granting a dissolution of the status of the marriage, pending entry of judgment on all remaining issues. (10) Any other condition the court determines is just and equitable. (d) Prior to, or simultaneously with, entry of judgment granting dissolution of the status of the marriage, all of the following shall occur: (1) The party's retirement or pension plan shall be joined as a party to the proceeding for dissolution, unless joinder is precluded or made unnecessary by Title 1 of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq.), as amended (ERISA), or any other applicable law. (2) To preserve the claims of each spouse in all retirement plan benefits upon entry of judgment granting a dissolution of the status of the marriage, the court shall enter one of the following in connection with the judgment for each retirement plan in which either party is a participant: (A) An order pursuant to Section 2610 disposing of each party's interest in retirement plan benefits, including survivor and death benefits. (B) An interim order preserving the nonemployee party's right to retirement plan benefits, including survivor and death benefits, pending entry of judgment on all remaining issues. (C) An attachment to the judgment granting a dissolution of the status of the marriage, as follows:

EACH PARTY (insert names and addresses) IS PROVISIONALLY AWARDED WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND SUBJECT TO ADJUSTMENT BY A SUBSEQUENT DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER, A SEPARATE INTEREST EQUAL TO ONE-HALF OF ALL BENEFITS ACCRUED OR TO BE ACCRUED UNDER THE PLAN (name each plan individually) AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYMENT OF THE OTHER PARTY DURING THE MARRIAGE OR DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP AND PRIOR TO THE DATE OF SEPARATION. IN ADDITION, PENDING FURTHER NOTICE, THE PLAN SHALL, AS ALLOWED BY LAW, OR IN THE CASE OF A GOVERNMENTAL PLAN, AS ALLOWED BY THE TERMS OF THE PLAN, CONTINUE TO TREAT THE PARTIES AS MARRIED OR DOMESTIC PARTNERS FOR PURPOSES OF ANY SURVIVOR RIGHTS OR BENEFITS AVAILABLE UNDER THE PLAN TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE FOR PAYMENT OF AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THAT SEPARATE INTEREST OR FOR ALL OF THE SURVIVOR BENEFIT IF AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE PARTICIPANT, THERE IS NO OTHER ELIGIBLE RECIPIENT OF THE SURVIVOR BENEFIT.

(e) The moving party shall promptly serve a copy of any order, interim order, or attachment entered pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d), and a copy of the judgment granting a dissolution of the status of the marriage, on the retirement or pension plan administrator. (f) A judgment granting a dissolution of the status of the marriage shall expressly reserve jurisdiction for later determination of all other pending issues. (g) If the party dies after the entry of judgment granting a dissolution of marriage, any obligation imposed by this section shall be enforceable against any asset, including the proceeds thereof, against which these obligations would have been enforceable prior to the person's death.


2338. (a) In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of the parties, the court shall file its decision and any statement of decision as in other cases. (b) If the court determines that no dissolution should be granted, a judgment to that effect only shall be entered. (c) If the court determines that a dissolution should be granted, a judgment of dissolution of marriage shall be entered. After the entry of the judgment and before it becomes final, neither party has the right to dismiss the proceeding without the consent of the other.


2338.5. Where a judgment of dissolution or nullity of marriage or legal separation of the parties is to be granted upon the default of one of the parties: (a) The signature of the spouse who has defaulted on any marital settlement agreement or on any stipulated judgment shall be notarized. (b) The court clerk shall give notice of entry of judgment of dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, or legal separation to the attorney for each party or to the party, if unrepresented. (c) For the purpose of mailing the notice of entry of judgment, the party submitting the judgment shall provide the court clerk with a stamped envelope bearing sufficient postage addressed to the attorney for the other party or to the party, if unrepresented, with the address of the court clerk as the return address. The court clerk shall maintain any such document returned by the post office as part of the court file in the case.


2339. (a) Subject to subdivision (b) and to Sections 2340 to 2344, inclusive, no judgment of dissolution is final for the purpose of terminating the marriage relationship of the parties until six months have expired from the date of service of a copy of summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first. (b) The court may extend the six-month period described in subdivision (a) for good cause shown.


2340. A judgment of dissolution of marriage shall specify the date on which the judgment becomes finally effective for the purpose of terminating the marriage relationship of the parties.


2341. (a) Notwithstanding Section 2340, if an appeal is taken from the judgment or a motion for a new trial is made, the dissolution of marriage does not become final until the motion or appeal has been finally disposed of, nor then, if the motion has been granted or judgment reversed. (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the filing of an appeal or of a motion for a new trial does not stay the effect of a judgment insofar as it relates to the dissolution of the marriage status and restoring the parties to the status of unmarried persons, unless the appealing or moving party specifies in the notice of appeal or motion for new trial an objection to the termination of the marriage status. No party may make such an objection to the termination of the marriage status unless such an objection was also made at the time of trial.


2342. Where a joint petition under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2400) is thereafter revoked and either party commences a proceeding pursuant to Section 2330 within 90 days from the date of the filing of the revocation, the date the judgment becomes a final judgment under Section 2339 shall be calculated by deducting the period of time which has elapsed from the date of filing the joint petition to the date of filing the revocation.


2343. The court may, upon notice and for good cause shown, or on stipulation of the parties, retain jurisdiction over the date of termination of the marital status, or may order that the marital status be terminated at a future specified date. On the date of termination of the marital status, the parties are restored to the status of unmarried persons.


2344. (a) The death of either party after entry of the judgment does not prevent the judgment from becoming a final judgment under Sections 2339 to 2343, inclusive. (b) Subdivision (a) does not validate a marriage by either party before the judgment becomes final, nor does it constitute a defense in a criminal prosecution against either party.


2345. The court may not render a judgment of the legal separation of the parties without the consent of both parties unless one party has not made a general appearance and the petition is one for legal separation.

2346. (a) If the court determines that a judgment of dissolution of the marriage should be granted, but by mistake, negligence, or inadvertence, the judgment has not been signed, filed, and entered, the court may cause the judgment to be signed, dated, filed, and entered in the proceeding as of the date when the judgment could have been signed, dated, filed, and entered originally, if it appears to the satisfaction of the court that no appeal is to be taken in the proceeding or motion made for a new trial, to annul or set aside the judgment, or for relief under Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 469) of Title 6 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (b) The court may act under subdivision (a) on its own motion or upon the motion of either party to the proceeding. In contested cases, the motion of a party shall be with notice to the other party. (c) The court may cause the judgment to be entered nunc pro tunc as provided in this section, even though the judgment may have been previously entered, where through mistake, negligence, or inadvertence the judgment was not entered as soon as it could have been entered under the law if applied for. (d) The court shall not cause a judgment to be entered nunc pro tunc as provided in this section as of a date before trial in the matter, before the date of an uncontested judgment hearing in the matter, or before the date of submission to the court of an application for judgment on affidavit pursuant to Section 2336. Upon the entry of the judgment, the parties have the same rights with regard to the dissolution of marriage becoming final on the date that it would have become final had the judgment been entered upon the date when it could have been originally entered.


2347. A judgment of legal separation of the parties does not bar a subsequent judgment of dissolution of the marriage granted pursuant to a petition for dissolution filed by either party.


2348. (a) In addition to the requirements of Section 103200 of the Health and Safety Code, the clerk of the superior court of each county shall report annually to the Judicial Council the number of judgments entered in the county during the preceding calendar year or other 12-month period as required by the Judicial Council for each of the following: (1) Dissolution of marriage. (2) Legal separation of the parties. (3) Nullity of marriage. (b) After the Judicial Branch Statistical Information System (JBSIS) is operational statewide, the clerk of the superior court of each county shall also report annually to the Judicial Council the number of each of those judgments specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subdivision (a), entered in the county during the preceding calendar year or other 12-month period as required by the Judicial Council, that include orders relating to child custody, visitation, or support. (c) The Judicial Council shall include in its annual report to the Legislature on court statistics the number of each of the types of judgments entered in the state reported pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b). (d) The Judicial Council shall establish the applicable 12-month reporting period, the due date, and forms to be used, for submission of data pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b). Until the Judicial Branch Statistical Information System (JBSIS) is operational statewide, the clerk of the superior court may report the data described in subdivision (a) using existing data collection systems, according to current Judicial Council statistical reporting regulations.


Chapter 5. Summary Dissolution

Ca Codes (fam:2400-2406) Family.code Section 2400-2406



2400. (a) A marriage may be dissolved by the summary dissolution procedure provided in this chapter if all of the following conditions exist at the time the proceeding is commenced: (1) Either party has met the jurisdictional requirements of Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 2320) with regard to dissolution of marriage. (2) Irreconcilable differences have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage and the marriage should be dissolved. (3) There are no children of the relationship of the parties born before or during the marriage or adopted by the parties during the marriage, and the wife, to her knowledge, is not pregnant. (4) The marriage is not more than five years in duration as of the date of separation of the parties. (5) Neither party has any interest in real property wherever situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party which satisfies the following requirements: (A) The lease does not include an option to purchase. (B) The lease terminates within one year from the date of the filing of the petition. (6) There are no unpaid obligations in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) incurred by either or both of the parties after the date of their marriage, excluding the amount of any unpaid obligation with respect to an automobile. (7) The total fair market value of community property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, including any deferred compensation or retirement plan, is less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), and neither party has separate property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). (8) The parties have executed an agreement setting forth the division of assets and the assumption of liabilities of the community, and have executed any documents, title certificates, bills of sale, or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the agreement. (9) The parties waive any rights to spousal support. (10) The parties, upon entry of the judgment of dissolution of marriage pursuant to Section 2403, irrevocably waive their respective rights to appeal and their rights to move for a new trial. (11) The parties have read and understand the summary dissolution brochure provided for in Section 2406. (12) The parties desire that the court dissolve the marriage. (b) On January 1, 1985, and on January 1 of each odd-numbered year thereafter, the amounts in paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) shall be adjusted to reflect any change in the value of the dollar. On January 1, 1993, and on January 1 of each odd-numbered year thereafter, the amounts in paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) shall be adjusted to reflect any change in the value of the dollar. The adjustments shall be made by multiplying the base amounts by the percentage change in the California Consumer Price Index as compiled by the Department of Industrial Relations, with the result rounded to the nearest thousand dollars. The Judicial Council shall compute and publish the amounts.


2401. (a) A proceeding for summary dissolution of the marriage shall be commenced by filing a joint petition in the form prescribed by the Judicial Council. (b) The petition shall be signed under oath by both the husband and the wife, and shall include all of the following: (1) A statement that as of the date of the filing of the joint petition all of the conditions set forth in Section 2400 have been met. (2) The mailing address of both the husband and the wife. (3) A statement whether or not the wife elects to have her maiden or former name restored, and, if so, the name to be restored.


2402. (a) At any time before the filing of application for judgment pursuant to Section 2403, either party to the marriage may revoke the joint petition and thereby terminate the summary dissolution proceeding filed pursuant to this chapter. (b) The revocation shall be effected by filing with the clerk of the court where the proceeding was commenced a notice of revocation in such form and content as shall be prescribed by the Judicial Council. (c) The revoking party shall send a copy of the notice of revocation to the other party by first-class mail, postage prepaid, at the other party's last known address.


2403. When six months have expired from the date of the filing of the joint petition for summary dissolution, the court shall, unless a revocation has been filed pursuant to Section 2402, enter the judgment dissolving the marriage. The judgment restores to the parties the status of single persons, and either party may marry after the entry of the judgment. The clerk shall send a notice of entry of judgment to each of the parties at the party's last known address.

2404. Entry of the judgment pursuant to Section 2403 constitutes: (a) A final adjudication of the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to the status of the marriage and property rights. (b) A waiver of their respective rights to spousal support, rights to appeal, and rights to move for a new trial.


2405. (a) Entry of the judgment pursuant to Section 2403 does not prejudice nor bar the rights of either of the parties to institute an action to set aside the judgment for fraud, duress, accident, mistake, or other grounds recognized at law or in equity or to make a motion pursuant to Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (b) The court shall set aside a judgment entered pursuant to Section 2403 regarding all matters except the status of the marriage, upon proof that the parties did not meet the requirements of Section 2400 at the time the petition was filed.


2406. (a) Each superior court shall make available a brochure, the contents and form of which shall be prescribed by the Judicial Council, describing the requirements, nature, and effect of proceedings under this chapter. The brochure shall be printed and distributed by the Judicial Council in both English and Spanish. (b) The brochure shall state, in nontechnical language, all the following: (1) It is in the best interests of the parties to consult an attorney regarding the dissolution of their marriage. The services of an attorney may be obtained through lawyer referral services, group or prepaid legal services, or legal aid organizations. (2) The parties should not rely exclusively on this brochure which is not intended as a guide for self-representation in proceedings under this chapter. (3) A concise summary of the provisions and procedures of this chapter and Sections 2320 and 2322 and Sections 2339 to 2344, inclusive. (4) The nature of services of the conciliation court, where available. (5) Neither party to the marriage can in the future obtain spousal support from the other. (6) A statement in boldface type to the effect that upon entry of the judgment, the rights and obligations of the parties to the marriage with respect to the marriage, including property and spousal support rights, will be permanently adjudicated without right of appeal, except that neither party will be barred from instituting an action to set aside the judgment for fraud, duress, accident, mistake, or other grounds at law or in equity, or to make a motion pursuant to Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure. (7) The parties to the marriage retain the status of married persons and cannot remarry until the judgment dissolving the marriage is entered. (8) Other matters as the Judicial Council considers appropriate.



Chapter 6. Case Management

Ca Codes (fam:2450-2452) Family.code Section 2450-2452



2450. (a) The purpose of family centered case resolution is to benefit the parties by providing judicial assistance and management to the parties in actions for dissolution of marriage for the purpose of expediting the processing of the case, reducing the expense of litigation, and focusing on early resolution by settlement. Family centered case resolution is a tool to allow the courts to better assist families. It does not increase the authority of the court to appoint any third parties to the case. (b) The court may order a family centered case resolution plan as provided in Section 2451. If the court orders family centered case resolution, it shall state the family centered case resolution plan in writing or on the record.


2451. A court-ordered case management plan, as stipulated by the parties, may include all of the following: (a) Early neutral case evaluation. (b) Alternative dispute resolution. (c) Limitations on discovery, including temporary suspension pending exploration of settlement. There is a rebuttable presumption that an attorney who carries out discovery as provided in a case management plan has fulfilled his or her duty of care to the client as to the existence of community property. (d) Use of telephone conference calls to ascertain the status of the case, encourage cooperation, and assist counsel in reaching agreement. However, if the court is required to issue an order other than by stipulation, a hearing shall be held. (e) Use of telephone conference calls for hearing contested motions. These conference call hearings shall be recorded by a court reporter. (f) Modification or waiver of the requirements of procedural statutes. (g) The powers of the judicial officer who is managing the case under the case management plan. (h) A requirement that any expert witness be selected by the parties jointly or be appointed by the court. However, if at any time the court determines that the issues for which experts are required cannot be settled under these conditions, the court shall permit each party to employ his or her own expert. (i) Bifurcation of issues for trial. (j) A case management plan pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 2032 or subdivision (b) of Section 2034. (k) Any other matters.


2451. (a) A court-ordered family centered case resolution plan must be in conformance with due process requirements and may include, but is not limited to, all of the following: (1) Early neutral case evaluation. (2) Alternative dispute resolution consistent with the requirements of subdivision (a) of Section 3181. (3) Limitations on discovery, including temporary suspension pending exploration of settlement. There is a rebuttable presumption that an attorney who carries out discovery as provided in a family centered case resolution plan has fulfilled his or her duty of care to the client as to the existence of community property. (4) Use of telephone conference calls to ascertain the status of the case, encourage cooperation, and assist counsel in reaching agreement. However, if the court is required to issue an order other than by stipulation, a hearing shall be held. (5) If stipulated by the parties, modification or waiver of the requirements of procedural statutes. (6) A requirement that any expert witness be selected by the parties jointly or be appointed by the court. However, if at any time the court determines that the issues for which experts are required cannot be settled under these conditions, the court shall permit each party to employ his or her own expert. (7) Bifurcation of issues for trial. (b) This section does not provide any additional authority to the court to appoint experts beyond that permitted under other provisions of law. (c) The Judicial Council shall, by January 1, 2012, adopt a statewide rule of court to implement this section. (d) The changes made to this section by the act adding this subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2012.


2452. The Judicial Council may, by rule, modify the procedures set forth in this chapter.


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