Chapter 3. Proceedings For Conciliation of California Family Law Code >> Division 5. >> Part 1. >> Chapter 3.
(a) When a controversy exists between spouses, or when a
controversy relating to child custody or visitation exists between
parents regardless of their marital status, and the controversy may,
unless a reconciliation is achieved, result in dissolution of the
marriage, nullity of the marriage, or legal separation of the
parties, or in the disruption of the household, and there is a minor
child of the spouses or parents or of either of them whose welfare
might be affected thereby, the family conciliation court has
jurisdiction as provided in this part over the controversy and over
the parties to the controversy and over all persons having any
relation to the controversy.
(b) The family conciliation court also has jurisdiction over the
controversy, whether or not there is a minor child of the parties or
either of them, where the controversy involves domestic violence.
Before the filing of a proceeding for determination of
custody or visitation rights, for dissolution of marriage, for
nullity of a voidable marriage, or for legal separation of the
parties, either spouse or parent, or both, may file in the family
conciliation court a petition invoking the jurisdiction of the court
for the purpose of preserving the marriage by effecting a
reconciliation between the parties, or for amicable settlement of the
controversy between the spouses or parents, so as to avoid further
litigation over the issue involved.
The petition shall be captioned substantially as follows:
In the Superior Court of the State of
in and for the County of ____
Upon the petition )
__________________ ) Petition for
(Petitioner) ) Conciliation
And concerning )
__________________ ) Conciliation
__________________ ) Court Law)
_____________ , )
To the Family Conciliation Court:
The petition shall:
(a) Allege that a controversy exists between the spouses or
parents and request the aid of the court to effect a reconciliation
or an amicable settlement of the controversy.
(b) State the name and age of each minor child whose welfare may
be affected by the controversy.
(c) State the name and address of the petitioner or the names and
addresses of the petitioners.
(d) If the petition is presented by one spouse or parent only, the
name of the other spouse or parent as a respondent, and state the
address of that spouse or parent.
(e) Name as a respondent any other person who has any relation to
the controversy, and state the address of the person if known to the
(f) If the petition arises out of an instance of domestic
violence, so state generally and without specific allegations as to
(g) State any other information the court by rule requires.
(a) The clerk of the court shall provide, at the expense of
the court, blank forms for petitions for filing pursuant to this
(b) The probation officers of the county and the attachés and
employees of the family conciliation court shall assist a person in
the preparation and presentation of a petition under this part if the
person requests assistance.
(c) All public officers in each county shall refer to the family
conciliation court all petitions and complaints made to them in
respect to controversies within the jurisdiction of the family
(d) The jurisdiction of the family conciliation court in respect
to controversies arising out of an instance of domestic violence is
not exclusive but is coextensive with any other remedies either civil
or criminal in nature that may be available.
No fee shall be charged by any officer for filing the
(a) The court shall fix a reasonable time and place for
hearing on the petition. The court shall cause notice to be given to
the respondents of the filing of the petition and of the time and
place of the hearing that the court deems necessary.
(b) The court may, when it deems it necessary, issue a citation to
a respondent requiring the respondent to appear at the time and
place stated in the citation. The court may require the attendance of
witnesses as in other civil cases.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), for the purpose of
conducting hearings pursuant to this part, the family conciliation
court may be convened at any time and place within the county, and
the hearing may be had in chambers or otherwise.
(b) The time and place for hearing shall not be different from the
time and place provided by law for the trial of civil actions if any
party, before the hearing, objects to any different time or place.
(a) The hearing shall be conducted informally as a conference
or a series of conferences to effect a reconciliation of the spouses
or an amicable adjustment or settlement of the issues in
(b) To facilitate and promote the purposes of this part, the court
may, with the consent of both parties to the proceeding, recommend
or invoke the aid of medical or other specialists or scientific
experts, or of the pastor or director of any religious denomination
to which the parties may belong. Aid under this subdivision shall not
be at the expense of the court unless the presiding judge
specifically authorizes the aid, nor at the expense of the county
unless the board of supervisors of the county specifically provides
and authorizes the aid.
(a) At or after the hearing, the court may make orders in
respect to the conduct of the spouses or parents and the subject
matter of the controversy that the court deems necessary to preserve
the marriage or to implement the reconciliation of the spouses. No
such order shall be effective for more than 30 days from the hearing
of the petition unless the parties mutually consent to a continuation
of the time the order remains effective.
(b) A reconciliation agreement between the parties may be reduced
to writing and, with the consent of the parties, a court order may be
made requiring the parties to comply fully with the agreement.
(c) During the pendency of a proceeding under this part, the
superior court may order a spouse or parent, as the case may be, to
pay an amount necessary for the support and maintenance of the other
spouse and for the support, maintenance, and education of the minor
children, as the case may be. In determining the amount, the superior
court may take into consideration the recommendations of a financial
referee if one is available to the court. An order made pursuant to
this subdivision shall not prejudice the rights of the parties or
children with respect to any subsequent order that may be made. An
order made pursuant to this subdivision may be modified or terminated
at any time except as to an amount that accrued before the date of
filing of the notice of motion or order to show cause to modify or
(a) During a period beginning upon the filing of the petition
for conciliation and continuing until 30 days after the hearing of
the petition for conciliation, neither spouse shall file a petition
for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of a voidable marriage, or
for legal separation of the parties.
(b) After the expiration of the period under subdivision (a), if
the controversy between the spouses, or the parents, has not been
terminated, either spouse may institute a proceeding for dissolution
of marriage, for nullity of a voidable marriage, or for legal
separation of the parties, or a proceeding to determine custody or
visitation of the minor child or children.
(c) The pendency of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for
nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties, or a
proceeding to determine custody or visitation of the minor child or
children, does not operate as a bar to the instituting of proceedings
for conciliation under this part.
If a petition for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of
marriage, or for legal separation of the parties is filed, the case
may be transferred at any time during the pendency of the proceeding
to the family conciliation court for proceedings for reconciliation
of the spouses or amicable settlement of issues in controversy in
accordance with this part if both of the following appear to the
(a) There is a minor child of the spouses, or of either of them,
whose welfare may be adversely affected by the dissolution of the
marriage or the disruption of the household or a controversy
involving child custody.
(b) There is some reasonable possibility of a reconciliation being
(a) If an application is made to the family conciliation
court for conciliation proceedings in respect to a controversy
between spouses, or a contested proceeding for dissolution of
marriage, for nullity of a voidable marriage, or for legal separation
of the parties, but there is no minor child whose welfare may be
affected by the results of the controversy, and it appears to the
court that reconciliation of the spouses or amicable adjustment of
the controversy can probably be achieved, and that the work of the
court in cases involving children will not be seriously impeded by
acceptance of the case, the court may accept and dispose of the case
in the same manner as similar cases involving the welfare of children
are disposed of.
(b) If the court accepts the case under subdivision (a), the court
has the same jurisdiction over the controversy and the parties to
the controversy and those having a relation to the controversy that
it has under this part in similar cases involving the welfare of