Last night, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced signed into law Puerto Rico House Bill No. 1654, also known as the new Puerto Rico Civil Code (the "New Civil Code"). The New Civil Code replaces the Puerto Rico Civil Code of 1930, which had been in place for the last 90 years, although it had been amended numerous times, adapting to Puerto Rico's evolving circumstances through the twentieth century and well into the twenty-first.
The New Civil Code, like the Civil Code of 1930 which it replaces, is one of the most important sources of law in Puerto Rico, as it governs over a broad swath of subject matter: family relations; personal and real property rights; regulations pertaining contracts; creation and extinction of obligations, including torts; and rules and procedures involving wills and estates. Though some of the changes in the New Civil Code are simple codifications of matters that have already been resolved through jurisprudence or are long established legal doctrines, other changes in the New Civil Code substantially alter Puerto Rico's legal landscape. Our Firm is reviewing the final piece of legislation, as enacted by Governor Vázquez, to better understand how the New Civil Code affects our clients. In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to review, analyze, and communicate some of these changes and on their impact to our clients.
Please note that in most cases no immediate action will become necessary regarding current rights and obligations; the New Civil Code becomes effective in 180 days from its enactment and includes several grandfathered provisions regarding rights and obligations created under the Civil Code of 1930, as amended. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our attorneys if you wish to better understand how the New Civil Code may affect you and your business. We always look forward to providing client-focused assistance on matters of Puerto Rico law.