Code of Laws on Marriage and the Family

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Code of Laws on Marriage and the Family


(Family Code), in the USSR, a law code regulating personal and property relations between spouses, parents and children, and other members of the family. The adoption of codes of laws on marriage and the family falls within the jurisdiction of the Union republics. The first Soviet family code—the Code of Laws on Documents of Civil Status and on Marriage, Family, and Guardianship Law of the RSFSR—was adopted on Sept. 16, 1918 (Collection of Laws of the RSFSR, 1918, nos. 76–77, art. 818). The code consolidated the basic provisions of Soviet family law: monogamy and the voluntary nature of matrimony, the equality of spouses, and the protection of mothers and children. The Code of Laws on Marriage and the Family was adopted in the RSFSR on Nov. 19, 1926, and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1927.

The 1926 code was based on the same principles as the 1918 code; its special feature was the recognition of the legal nature of unregistered (de facto) marriages.

In 1969–70 the Union republics adopted family codes that generally reproduced and developed the principal provisions of the all-Union act entitled Basic Principles of Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics on Marriage and the Family of 1968 (in the RSFSR such a code was adopted on July 30, 1969). The task of these codes, as of all Soviet family law, includes the further strengthening of the Soviet family on the basis of principles of communist ethics, the strengthening in every way possible of the interests of mothers and children, and the final elimination of harmful vestiges and customs in family relations. The codes emphasize the principles of equality of men and women in family relations, as well as the equal status of citizens in these relations irrespective of nationality, race, and religious outlook. The codes include norms on the procedure and conditions for contracting and terminating a marriage and for annulling a marriage and regulate the rights and obligations of spouses, including their property relations. Special norms are devoted to family problems, including the procedure for establishing the parentage of children and determining their surname, given name, and patronymic; to the rights and obligations of parents concerning the education of children; and to problems of alimony obligations. The codes also regulate questions of adoption and guardianship, the procedure for completing documents of civil status, and the procedure for applying norms of the code to foreigners and stateless persons. The differences that exist between the codes of the various republics reflect the indigenous national and other characteristics of each republic.


R’asentsev, V. A. Semeinoe pravo. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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