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What is a typical child custody statute?

Each state’s statutes differ in detail, but attempt to achieve the same purpose and goal. Following are two examples of the statutes put in place in two different states: Arizona and California

In awarding custody, the court considers the best interests of the child and the following factors: (1) the preference of the child; (2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open, loving, and frequent relationship between the child and the other parent; (3) the wishes of the parents; (4) the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community; (5) the mental and physical health of the child and the parents; (6) the relationship between the child and the parents and any siblings; (7) any evidence of significant spouse or child abuse; (8) any coercion or duress in obtaining a custody agreement; (9) which parent(s) have provided primary care of the child; and (10) any evidence of or conviction for drug abuse. No preference is to be given on the basis of the parent’s sex.

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated, Title 25, Chapter 401.

Joint or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and the following factors: (1) the preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity; (2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving frequent relationship between the child and the other parent; (3) the child’s health, safety, and welfare; (4) any history of child or spouse abuse by anyone seeking custody or who has had any care taking relationship with the child, including anyone dating the parent; (5) the nature and amount of contact with both parents, and (6) any continued use of alcohol or controlled substances. Marital misconduct may also be considered. Custody is awarded in the following order of preference: (1) to both parents jointly; (2) to either parent; (3) to the person in whose home the child has been living; or (4) to any other person deemed by the court suitable to provide adequate and proper care and guidance for the child. However, it is not presumed that joint custody is necessarily the preferred choice, unless there is an agreement between the parents regarding joint custody. No preference in awarding custody is to be given because of parent’s sex. The court may order a parent to give the other parent 30-days notice of any plans to change the residence of a child.

[Annotated California Code; Sections 3011, 3024, 3040, 3042,].