Unless the provision or context otherwise
requires, the definitions in this chapter
govern the construction of this division.
custody" means joint physical
custody and 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
"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
"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.
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.
3010. (a) The mother
of an unemancipated minor child and the
father, if presumed to be the father under
7611, are equally entitled to the custody
of the child.
(b) If one parent is dead, is unable or
refuses to take custody, or has abandoned
the child, the other parent is entitled
to custody of the child.
In making a determination of the best interest
of the child in a proceeding described in
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:
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
The other parent.
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
As a prerequisite to the consideration of
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
(d) The habitual or
continual illegal use of controlled substances
or habitual or continual abuse of alcohol
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
11000) of the Health and Safety Code.
(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
The provisions of this subdivision shall
not apply if the parties stipulate
in writing or on the record regarding custody
Law Offices of Mark J. Warfel has helped
more than 1,000 family law clients.