Part 1. Preliminary Provisions of California Family Law Code >> Division 1. >> Part 1.
This code shall be known as the Family Code.
A provision of this code, insofar as it is substantially the
same as a previously existing provision relating to the same subject
matter, shall be considered as a restatement and continuation thereof
and not as a new enactment, and a reference in a statute to the
provision of this code shall be deemed to include a reference to the
previously existing provision unless a contrary intent appears.
A provision of this code, insofar as it is the same in substance
as a provision of a uniform act, shall be construed to effectuate
the general purpose to make uniform the law in those states which
enact that provision.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "New law" means either of the following, as the case may be:
(A) The act that enacted this code.
(B) The act that makes a change in this code, whether effectuated
by amendment, addition, or repeal of a provision of this code.
(2) "Old law" means the applicable law in effect before the
operative date of the new law.
(3) "Operative date" means the operative date of the new law.
(b) This section governs the application of the new law except to
the extent otherwise expressly provided in the new law.
(c) Subject to the limitations provided in this section, the new
law applies on the operative date to all matters governed by the new
law, regardless of whether an event occurred or circumstance existed
before, on, or after the operative date, including, but not limited
to, commencement of a proceeding, making of an order, or taking of an
(d) If a document or paper is filed before the operative date, the
contents, execution, and notice thereof are governed by the old law
and not by the new law; but subsequent proceedings taken after the
operative date concerning the document or paper, including an
objection or response, a hearing, an order, or other matter relating
thereto is governed by the new law and not by the old law.
(e) If an order is made before the operative date, or an action on
an order is taken before the operative date, the validity of the
order or action is governed by the old law and not by the new law.
Nothing in this subdivision precludes proceedings after the operative
date to modify an order made, or alter a course of action commenced,
before the operative date to the extent proceedings for modification
of an order or alteration of a course of action of that type are
otherwise provided in the new law.
(f) No person is liable for an action taken before the operative
date that was proper at the time the action was taken, even though
the action would be improper if taken on or after the operative date,
and the person has no duty, as a result of the enactment of the new
law, to take any step to alter the course of action or its
(g) If the new law does not apply to a matter that occurred before
the operative date, the old law continues to govern the matter
notwithstanding its repeal or amendment by the new law.
(h) If a party shows, and the court determines, that application
of a particular provision of the new law or of the old law in the
manner required by this section or by the new law would substantially
interfere with the effective conduct of the proceedings or the
rights of the parties or other interested persons in connection with
an event that occurred or circumstance that existed before the
operative date, the court may, notwithstanding this section or the
new law, apply either the new law or the old law to the extent
reasonably necessary to mitigate the substantial interference.
Division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in
any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of this code.
Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the general
provisions and rules of construction in this part govern the
construction of this code.
Whenever a reference is made to a portion of this code or to
another law, the reference applies to all amendments and additions
regardless of when made.
Unless otherwise expressly stated:
(a) "Division" means a division of this code.
(b) "Part" means a part of the division in which that term occurs.
(c) "Chapter" means a chapter of the division or part, as the case
may be, in which that term occurs.
(d) "Article" means an article of the chapter in which that term
(e) "Section" means a section of this code.
(f) "Subdivision" means a subdivision of the section in which that
(g) "Paragraph" means a paragraph of the subdivision in which that
(h) "Subparagraph" means a subparagraph of the paragraph in which
that term occurs.
The present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the
future, the present.
The singular number includes the plural, and the plural, the
A reference to "husband" and "wife," "spouses," or "married
persons," or a comparable term, includes persons who are lawfully
married to each other and persons who were previously lawfully
married to each other, as is appropriate under the circumstances of
the particular case.
"Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive. "Shall not" and
"may not" are prohibitory.
If a provision or clause of this code or its application to any
person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity does not
affect other provisions or applications of the code which can be
given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to
this end the provisions of this code are severable.