All References are to the California Family Code. This is not meant to be an exhaustive collection of the Family Code.
3002. “Joint custody” means joint physical custody and joint legal custody.
3003. “Joint legal custody” means that both parents shall share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.
3004. “Joint physical custody” means that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way so as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, subject to Sections 3011 and 3020.
3006. “Sole legal custody” means that one parent shall have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.
3007. “Sole physical custody” means that a child shall reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to order visitation.
3011. In making a determination of the best interest of the child in a proceeding described in Section 3021, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant, consider all of the following:
(a) The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
(b) Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following:
(1) Any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary.
(2) The other parent.
(3) A parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship.
As a prerequisite to considering allegations of abuse, the court may require substantial independent corroboration, including, but not
limited to, written reports by law enforcement agencies, child protective services or other social welfare agencies, courts, medical facilities, or other public agencies or private nonprofit organizations providing services to victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. As used in this subdivision, “abuse against a child” means “child abuse” as defined in Section 11165.6 of the Penal Code and abuse against any of the other persons described in paragraph (2) or (3) means “abuse” as defined in Section 6203 of this code.
(c) The nature and amount of contact with both parents, except as provided in Section 3046.
(d) The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances, the habitual or continual abuse of alcohol, or the habitual or continual abuse of prescribed controlled substances by either parent. Before considering these allegations, the court may first require independent corroboration, including, but not limited to, written reports from law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, medical facilities, rehabilitation facilities, or other public agencies or nonprofit organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse services. As used in this subdivision, “controlled substances” has the same meaning as defined in the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code.
(e) (1) Where allegations about a parent pursuant to subdivision (b) or (d) have been brought to the attention of the court in the current proceeding, and the court makes an order for sole or joint custody to that parent, the court shall state its reasons in writing or on the record. In these circumstances, the court shall ensure that any order regarding custody or visitation is specific as to time,
day, place, and manner of transfer of the child as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 6323.
(2) The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply if the parties stipulate in writing or on the record regarding custody or visitation.
3040. (a) Custody should be granted in the following order of preference according to the best interest of the child as provided in Sections 3011 and 3020:
(1) To both parents jointly pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3080) or to either parent. In making an order granting custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and
continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, consistent with Sections 3011 and 3020, and shall not prefer a parent as custodian
because of that parent’s sex. The court, in its discretion, may require the parents to submit to the court a plan for the implementation of the custody order.
(2) If to neither parent, to the person or persons in whose home the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment.
(3) To any other person or persons deemed by the court to be suitable and able to provide adequate and proper care and guidance
for the child.
(b) The immigration status of a parent, legal guardian, or relative shall not disqualify the parent, legal guardian, or relative from receiving custody under subdivision (a).
(c) This section establishes neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody, but allows the court and the family the widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child.
(d) In cases where a child has more than two parents, the court shall allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to, addressing the child’s need for continuity and stability by preserving established patterns of care and emotional bonds. The court may order that not all parents share legal or physical custody of the child if the court finds that it would not be in the best interest of the child as provided in Sections 3011 and 3020.
3042. (a) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent preference as to custody or visitation, the court shall consider, and give due weight to, the wishes of the child in making an order granting or modifying custody or visitation.
(b) In addition to the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 765 of the Evidence Code, the court shall control the examination of
a child witness so as to protect the best interests of the child.
(c) If the child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be
permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so is not in the child’s best interests. In that case, the court shall state
its reasons for that finding on the record.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent a child who is less than 14 years of age from addressing the court
regarding custody or visitation, if the court determines that is appropriate pursuant to the child’s best interests.
(e) If the court precludes the calling of any child as a witness, the court shall provide alternative means of obtaining input from the
child and other information regarding the child’s preferences.
(f) To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to express his or her preference or to provide other input regarding
custody or visitation to the court, a minor’s counsel, an evaluator, an investigator, or a mediator who provides recommendations to the judge pursuant to Section 3183 shall indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court, or the judge may make that inquiry
in the absence of that request. A party or a party’s attorney may also indicate to the judge that the child wishes to address the court or judge.
(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the child to express to the court his or her preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation.
(h) The Judicial Council shall, no later than January 1, 2012, promulgate a rule of court establishing procedures for the examination of a child witness, and include guidelines on methods other than direct testimony for obtaining information or other input from the child regarding custody or visitation.
(i) The changes made to subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, by the act adding this subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2012.
3044. (a) Upon a finding by the court that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody of the child or against the child or the child’s siblings within the previous five years, there is a rebuttable
presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence is
detrimental to the best interest of the child, pursuant to Section 3011. This presumption may only be rebutted by a preponderance of the
(b) In determining whether the presumption set forth in subdivision (a) has been overcome, the court shall consider all of
the following factors:
(1) Whether the perpetrator of domestic violence has demonstrated that giving sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to the perpetrator is in the best interest of the child. In determining the best interest of the child, the preference for frequent and continuing contact with both parents, as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 3020, or with the noncustodial parent, as set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 3040, may not be used to rebut the presumption, in whole or in part.
(2) Whether the perpetrator has successfully completed a batterer’s treatment program that meets the criteria outlined in subdivision (c) of Section 1203.097 of the Penal Code.
(3) Whether the perpetrator has successfully completed a program of alcohol or drug abuse counseling if the court determines that counseling is appropriate.
(4) Whether the perpetrator has successfully completed a parenting class if the court determines the class to be appropriate.
(5) Whether the perpetrator is on probation or parole, and whether he or she has complied with the terms and conditions of probation or parole.
(6) Whether the perpetrator is restrained by a protective order or restraining order, and whether he or she has complied with its terms and conditions.
(7) Whether the perpetrator of domestic violence has committed any further acts of domestic violence.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person has “perpetrated domestic violence” when he or she is found by the court to have intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, or sexual assault, or to have placed a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another, or to have engaged in any behavior involving, but not limited to, threatening, striking, harassing, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of another, for which a court may issue an ex parte order pursuant to Section 6320 to protect the other party seeking custody of the child or to protect the child and the child’s siblings.
(d) (1) For purposes of this section, the requirement of a finding by the court shall be satisfied by, among other things, and not limited to, evidence that a party seeking custody has been convicted within the previous five years, after a trial or a plea of guilty or no contest, of any crime against the other party that comes within the definition of domestic violence contained in Section 6211 and of abuse contained in Section 6203, including, but not limited to, a crime described in subdivision (e) of Section 243 of, or Section 261, 262, 273.5, 422, or 646.9 of, the Penal Code.
(2) The requirement of a finding by the court shall also be satisfied if any court, whether that court hears or has heard the child custody proceedings or not, has made a finding pursuant to subdivision (a) based on conduct occurring within the previous five
(e) When a court makes a finding that a party has perpetrated domestic violence, the court may not base its findings solely on conclusions reached by a child custody evaluator or on the recommendation of the Family Court Services staff, but shall consider any relevant, admissible evidence submitted by the parties.
(f) In any custody or restraining order proceeding in which a party has alleged that the other party has perpetrated domestic
violence in accordance with the terms of this section, the court shall inform the parties of the existence of this section and shall give them a copy of this section prior to any custody mediation in the case.