Chapter 2. Matters to Be Considered in Granting Custody - California Family Code Section 3040

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.

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Last modified: February 16, 2015