Family Code section 3011 - "Best Interests of Child (BIC)"


What Does "Best Interests of the Children Mean"

Family Code section 3011 is the root "best interests" statute of all California family court and mental health provider custody policies. It is a must-read, and it is the statute that effectively creates a presumption against parents who have substance abuse problems - implying that the California State Legislature views drug or alcohol abuse as a crisis immediately affecting the wellbeing and safety of children, which should be no surprise. If you or the other parent have drug issues, then you need to read it closely and search our website for our other articles on the topic. Read my articles about drug testing and recently updated Family Code section 3041.5 . However, this statute is way much larger in terms of its application on the question of children's best interest than the question of substance abuse.

We Have Written Dozens of "How Do I" Articles on Our Enlightened Divorce™

Read More About Child Custody - Click Here!




Family Code Section 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 other 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 paragraph (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.

Testimonials & Endorsements

  • “If you are going through a divorce, The Law Offices of Arnold, Peterson & Criste is in my opinion the best option available. Mr. Peterson and his assistant Jordyn are top notch. Not only is Mr. ...”

    - Josh Arguijo
  • “I am a Veteran and Retired Deputy Sheriff. My divorce involved complicated property distribution and spousal support issues. I spent considerable time looking for the best Counsel I could find before ...”

    - Jeff Jones
  • “I recently had the pleasure of speaking directly with Mr. Thurman regarding my pending Dissolution of Marriage. While researching legal issue I came across his Family Law Blog multiple times and ...”

    - Marc Rittner
  • “Needed to modify a settlement and hired Mike Peterson. Mike is very, very knowledgeable and experienced. When you are going through a divorce or child custody issues, it is the most terrifying and ...”

    - Donika McKelvie
  • “Micheal Peterson is very knowledgeable of law and can help you make the best decisions for your family. He does is job with integrity. He helps with giving discounts when he can . I would highly ...”

    - Vincent Hall

Contact Us

Call (760) 320-7915 or Fill Out This Form

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • LGBTQ+
  • Martindale Gold 2021
  • Martindale 2021
  • California Certified (CBLS)
  • Client Distinction - Thurman
  • Coachella Valley's Top lawyers
  • AAML
  • Super Lawyers - Michael
  • AV Preeminent - 2015
  • Avvo Rating - Superb Top Divorce Attorney
  • Super Lawyers - Thurman
  • Yelp