Spousal Privileges
California Evidence Code, Division 8, Chapter 4, Article 4 & Article 5
Cal. Evid. Code §§ 970–973; 980–987

Article 4: Privilege Not to Testify Against Spouse

§ 970.
Except as otherwise provided by statute, a married person has a privilege not to testify against his spouse in any proceeding.
§ 971.
Except as otherwise provided by statute, a married person whose spouse is a party to a proceeding has a privilege not to be called as a witness by an adverse party to that proceeding without the prior express consent of the spouse having the privilege under this section unless the party calling the spouse does so in good faith without knowledge of the marital relationship.
§ 972.
A married person does not have a privilege under this article in:
  1. A proceeding brought by or on behalf of one spouse against the other spouse.
  2. A proceeding to commit or otherwise place his or her spouse or his or her spouse's property, or both, under the control of another because of the spouse's alleged mental or physical condition.
  3. A proceeding brought by or on behalf of a spouse to establish his or her competence.
  4. A proceeding under the Juvenile Court Law, Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 200) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
  5. A criminal proceeding in which one spouse is charged with:
    1. A crime against the person or property of the other spouse or of a child, parent, relative, or cohabitant of either, whether committed before or during marriage.
    2. A crime against the person or property of a third person committed in the course of committing a crime against the person or property of the other spouse, whether committed before or during marriage.
    3. Bigamy.
    4. A crime defined by Section 270 or 270a of the Penal Code.
  6. A proceeding resulting from a criminal act which occurred prior to legal marriage of the spouses to each other regarding knowledge acquired prior to that marriage if prior to the legal marriage the witness spouse was aware that his or her spouse had been arrested for or had been formally charged with the crime or crimes about which the spouse is called to testify.
  7. A proceeding brought against the spouse by a former spouse so long as the property and debts of the marriage have not been adjudicated, or in order to establish, modify, or enforce a child, family or spousal support obligation arising from the marriage to the former spouse; in a proceeding brought against a spouse by the other parent in order to establish, modify, or enforce a child support obligation for a child of a nonmarital relationship of the spouse; or in a proceeding brought against a spouse by the guardian of a child of that spouse in order to establish, modify, or enforce a child support obligation of the spouse. The married person does not have a privilege under this subdivision to refuse to provide information relating to the issues of income, expenses, assets, debts, and employment of either spouse, but may assert the privilege as otherwise provided in this article if other information is requested by the former spouse, guardian, or other parent of the child.

    Any person demanding the otherwise privileged information made available by this subdivision, who also has an obligation to support the child for whom an order to estabish, modify, or enforce child support is sought, waives his or her marital privilege to the same extent as the spouse as provided in this subdivision.

§ 973.
  1. Unless erroneously compelled to do so, a married person who testifies in a proceeding to which his spouse is a party, or who testifies against his spouse in any proceeding, does not have a privilege under this article in the proceeding in which such testimony is given.
  2. There is no privilege under this article in a civil proceeding brought or defended by a married person for the immediate benefit of his spouse or of himself and his spouse.

Article 5: Privilege for Confidential Marital Communications

§ 980.
Subject to Section 912 and except as otherwise provided in this article, a spouse (or his guardian or conservator when he has a guardian or conservator), whether or not a party, has a privilege during the marital relationship and afterwards to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a communication if he claims the privilege and the comunication was made in confidence between him and the other spouse while they were husband and wife.
§ 981.
There is no privilege under this article if the communication was made, in whole or in part, to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit a crime or a fraud.
§ 982.
There is no privilege under this article in a proceeding to commit either spouse or otherwise place him or his property, or both, under the control of another because of his alleged mental or physical condition.
§ 983.
There is no privilege under this article in a proceeding brought by or on behalf of either spouse to establish his competence.
§ 984.
There is no privilege under this article in:
  1. A proceeding brought by or on behalf of one spouse against the other spouse.
  2. A proceeding between a surviving spouse and a person who claims through the deceased spouse, regardless of whether such claim is by testate or intestate succession or by inter vivos transaction.
§ 985.
There is no privilege under this article in a criminal proceeding in which one spouse is charged with:
  1. A crime committed at any time against the person or property of the other spouse or of a child of either.
  2. A crime committed at any time against the person or property of a third person committed in the course of committing a crime against the person or property of the other spouse.
  3. Bigamy.
  4. A crime defined by Section 270 or 270a of the Penal Code.
§ 986.
There is no privilege under this article in a proceeding under the Juvenile Court Law, Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 200) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
§ 987.
There is no privilege under this article in a criminal proceeding in which the communication is offered in evidence by a defendant who is one of the spouses between whom the communication was made.