FAMILY CODE SECTION 210-218
210. Except to the extent that any other statute or rules adopted
by the Judicial Council provide applicable rules, the rules of
practice and procedure applicable to civil actions generally,
including the provisions of Title 3a (commencing with Section 391) of
Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, apply to, and constitute the
rules of practice and procedure in, proceedings under this code.
211. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Judicial
Council may provide by rule for the practice and procedure in
proceedings under this code.
212. A petition, response, application, opposition, or other
pleading filed with the court under this code shall be verified.
213. (a) In a hearing on an order to show cause, or on a
modification thereof, or in a hearing on a motion, other than for
contempt, the responding party may seek affirmative relief
alternative to that requested by the moving party, on the same issues
raised by the moving party, by filing a responsive declaration
within the time set by statute or rules of court.
(b) This section applies in any of the following proceedings:
(1) A proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of
marriage, or for legal separation of the parties.
(2) A proceeding relating to a protective order described in
(3) Any other proceeding in which there is at issue the
visitation, custody, or support of a child.
214. Except as otherwise provided in this code or by court rule,
the court may, when it considers it necessary in the interests of
justice and the persons involved, direct the trial of any issue of
fact joined in a proceeding under this code to be private, and may
exclude all persons except the officers of the court, the parties,
their witnesses, and counsel.
215. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), after entry of a
judgment of dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, legal
separation of the parties, or paternity, or after a permanent order
in any other proceeding in which there was at issue the visitation,
custody, or support of a child, no modification of the judgment or
order, and no subsequent order in the proceedings, is valid unless
any prior notice otherwise required to be given to a party to the
proceeding is served, in the same manner as the notice is otherwise
permitted by law to be served, upon the party. For the purposes of
this section, service upon the attorney of record is not sufficient.
(b) A postjudgment motion to modify a custody, visitation, or
child support order may be served on the other party or parties by
first-class mail or airmail, postage prepaid, to the persons to be
served. For any party served by mail, the proof of service must
include an address verification.
216. (a) In the absence of a stipulation by the parties to the
contrary, there shall be no ex parte communication between the
attorneys for any party to an action and any court-appointed or
court-connected evaluator or mediator, or between a court-appointed
or court-connected evaluator or mediator and the court, in any
proceedings under this code, except with regard to the scheduling of
(b) There shall be no ex parte communications between counsel
appointed by the court pursuant to Section 3150 and any
court-appointed or court-connected evaluator or mediator, except
where it is expressly authorized by the court or undertaken pursuant
to paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 3151.
(c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) shall not apply in the following
(1) To allow a mediator or evaluator to address a case involving
allegations of domestic violence as set forth in Sections 3113, 3181,
(2) To allow a mediator or evaluator to address a case involving
allegations of domestic violence as set forth in Rule 5.215 of the
California Rules of Court.
(3) If the mediator or evaluator determines that ex parte
communication is needed to inform the court of his or her belief that
a restraining order is necessary to prevent an imminent risk to the
physical safety of the child or the party.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the
responsibilities a mediator or evaluator may have as a mandated
reporter pursuant to Section 11165.9 of the Penal Code or the
responsibilities a mediator or evaluator may have to warn under
Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (1976) 17 Cal.3d
425, Hedlund v. Superior Court (1983) 34 Cal.3d 695, and Section
43.92 of the Civil Code.
(e) The Judicial Council shall, by July 1, 2006, adopt a rule of
court to implement this section.
217. (a) At a hearing on any order to show cause or notice of
motion brought pursuant to this code, absent a stipulation of the
parties or a finding of good cause pursuant to subdivision (b), the
court shall receive any live, competent testimony that is relevant
and within the scope of the hearing and the court may ask questions
of the parties.
(b) In appropriate cases, a court may make a finding of good cause
to refuse to receive live testimony and shall state its reasons for
the finding on the record or in writing. The Judicial Council shall,
by January 1, 2012, adopt a statewide rule of court regarding the
factors a court shall consider in making a finding of good cause.
(c) A party seeking to present live testimony from witnesses other
than the parties shall, prior to the hearing, file and serve a
witness list with a brief description of the anticipated testimony.
If the witness list is not served prior to the hearing, the court
may, on request, grant a brief continuance and may make appropriate
temporary orders pending the continued hearing.
218. With respect to the ability to conduct formal discovery in
family law proceedings, when a request for order or other motion is
filed and served after entry of judgment, discovery shall
automatically reopen as to the issues raised in the postjudgment
pleadings currently before the court. The date initially set for
trial of the action specified in subdivision (a) of Section 2024.020
of the Code of Civil Procedure shall mean the date the postjudgment
proceeding is set for hearing on the motion or any continuance
thereof, or evidentiary trial, whichever is later.