Today's Law As Amended


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SB-654 Child custody.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 3011 of the Family Code is amended to read:

3011.
 (a) In making a determination of the best interests of the child in a proceeding described in Section 3021, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant and consistent with Section 3020, consider all of the following:
(1) The health, safety, and welfare of the child.
(2) (A) A history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following:
(i) A child to whom the parent or person seeking custody is related by blood or affinity or with whom the parent or person seeking custody has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary.
(ii) The other parent.
(iii) 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.
(B) As a prerequisite to considering allegations of abuse, the court may require 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 paragraph, “abuse against a child” means “child abuse and neglect” as defined in Section 11165.6 of the Penal Code and abuse against any of the  other persons person  described in clause (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (A) means “abuse” as defined in Section 6203.
(3) The nature and amount of contact with both parents, except as provided in Section 3046.
(4) 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 paragraph, “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).
(5) (A) When allegations about a parent pursuant to paragraphs (2) or (4) have been brought to the attention of the court in the current proceeding, and the court makes an order for sole or joint custody or unsupervised visitation  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 (c) of Section 6323.
(B) This paragraph does not apply if the parties stipulate in writing or on the record regarding custody or visitation.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the court shall not consider the sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation of a parent, legal guardian, or relative in determining the best interests of the child.

SEC. 2.

 Section 3042 of the Family Code is amended to read:

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 interest 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 interest, in which case, the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record.
(d) This section does not 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 interest.
(e) If the court precludes the calling of a 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) (1) The court shall not permit a child addressing the court regarding custody or visitation to do so in the presence of the parties. The court shall provide an alternative to having the child address the court in the presence of the parties in order to obtain input directly from the child.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the court may permit the child addressing the court regarding custody or visitation to do so in the presence of the parties if the court determines that doing so is in the child’s best interest and states its reasons for that finding on the record. In determining the child’s best interest under this paragraph, the court shall consider whether addressing the court regarding custody or visitation in the presence of the parties is likely to cause the child emotional distress.
(f) (g)  To assist the court in determining whether the child wishes to express a 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.
(h) If a child informs an attorney, child custody recommending counselor, investigator, evaluator, or other court-connected professional at any point that the child has changed their choice with respect to addressing the court, the professional shall, as soon as feasible, indicate to the judge that the child has changed their preference.
(g) (i)  This section does not require the child to express to the court a preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation.
(h) (j)  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. 2023, develop or amend rules as necessary to implement this section. 
(i) The changes made to subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, by the act adding this subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2012.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.