Chapter 2. General Provisions of California Family Law Code >> Division 8. >> Part 1. >> Chapter 2.
(a) The mother of an unemancipated minor child and the
father, if presumed to be the father under Section 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 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
(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
(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
(a) If a party's deportation or detention by the United
States Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of
Homeland Security will have a material effect on his or her ability,
or anticipated ability, to appear in person at a child custody
proceeding, the court shall, upon motion of the party, allow the
party to present testimony and evidence and participate in mandatory
child custody mediation by electronic means, including, but not
limited to, telephone, video teleconferencing, or other electronic
means that provide remote access to the hearing, to the extent that
this technology is reasonably available to the court and protects the
due process rights of all parties.
(b) This section does not authorize the use of electronic
recording for the purpose of taking the official record of these