Chapter 4. Joint Custody of California Family Law Code >> Division 8. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 4.
There is a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that
joint custody is in the best interest of a minor child, subject to
Section 3011, where the parents have agreed to joint custody or so
agree in open court at a hearing for the purpose of determining the
custody of the minor child.
On application of either parent, joint custody may be ordered
in the discretion of the court in cases other than those described
in Section 3080, subject to Section 3011. For the purpose of
assisting the court in making a determination whether joint custody
is appropriate under this section, the court may direct that an
investigation be conducted pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with
When a request for joint custody is granted or denied, the
court, upon the request of any party, shall state in its decision the
reasons for granting or denying the request. A statement that joint
physical custody is, or is not, in the best interest of the child is
not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this section.
In making an order of joint legal custody, the court shall
specify the circumstances under which the consent of both parents is
required to be obtained in order to exercise legal control of the
child and the consequences of the failure to obtain mutual consent.
In all other circumstances, either parent acting alone may exercise
legal control of the child. An order of joint legal custody shall not
be construed to permit an action that is inconsistent with the
physical custody order unless the action is expressly authorized by
In making an order of joint physical custody, the court shall
specify the rights of each parent to physical control of the child
in sufficient detail to enable a parent deprived of that control to
implement laws for relief of child snatching and kidnapping.
In making an order for custody with respect to both parents,
the court may grant joint legal custody without granting joint
In making an order of joint physical custody or joint legal
custody, the court may specify one parent as the primary caretaker of
the child and one home as the primary home of the child, for the
purposes of determining eligibility for public assistance.
An order for joint custody may be modified or terminated upon
the petition of one or both parents or on the court's own motion if
it is shown that the best interest of the child requires modification
or termination of the order. If either parent opposes the
modification or termination order, the court shall state in its
decision the reasons for modification or termination of the joint
An order for the custody of a minor child entered by a court
in this state or any other state may, subject to the jurisdictional
requirements in Sections 3403 and 3414, be modified at any time to an
order for joint custody in accordance with this chapter.
In counties having a conciliation court, the court or the
parties may, at any time, pursuant to local rules of court, consult
with the conciliation court for the purpose of assisting the parties
to formulate a plan for implementation of the custody order or to
resolve a controversy which has arisen in the implementation of a
plan for custody.