California Family Code – Safety of Children is Primary Concern in Custody Cases, Prohibits Courts from Punishing Parents Who Report Abuse

“You must remember that the circle of violence from generation to generation can be broken.  Not just for you, but for your children.” ~ Cavin Law, Fresno, California

Across the U.S., efforts are being made to better protect children who have been affected by violence and are involved in family court proceedings.  

The California Family Code (Section 3020, 3027.5) promotes the safety of children in family court rulings. This is a law that has passed, and is actively being used – I am posting segments of the Family Code because I believe it offers valuable guidance that can assist other advocates, concerned professionals and lawmakers in implementing similar measures in their own states.

In California, state laws require courts to consider the safety and well-being of children as a primary concern when making custody or visitation decisions. Domestic violence or child abuse is deemed harmful to children.

Further, the Family Code states that parents who have a reasonable belief that a child has been abused or endangered, and make a report or seek treatment, can not be placed in supervised visitation, denied visitation or denied custody simply for making a report.

Relevant Sections Include:

California FAMILY.CODE SECTION 3020-3032

The Family Code established that the health, safety and welfare of the children is the primary concern when the Courts decide custody or visitation, and that child abuse or domestic violence is harmful to children: “3020. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state to assure that the health, safety, and welfare of children shall be the court’s primary concern in determining the best interest of children when making any orders regarding the physical or legal custody or visitation of children. The Legislature further finds and declares that the perpetration of child abuse or domestic violence in a household where a child resides is detrimental to the child.

The Family Code also states that it supports parents to share their rights and responsibilities of raising a child, and supports that a child have contact with both parents unless contact is not in the best interest of the child due to abuse or safety concerns.

The California Family Code also states that if a parent has good reason to suspect child abuse and makes a report or seeks treatment, they can not be punished by the Court.

Family Code Section 3027.5.

(a) No parent shall be placed on supervised visitation, or be denied custody of or visitation with his or her child, and no custody or visitation rights shall be limited, solely because the

(1) lawfully reported suspected sexual abuse of the child,

(2) otherwise acted lawfully, based on a reasonable belief, to determine if his or her child was the victim of sexual abuse,

or (3) sought treatment for the child from a licensed mental health professional for suspected sexual abuse.

In addition, a parent who is a registered sex offender or living with one shall not be granted physical or legal custody of a child; nor allowed unsupervised visits. Also, a parent who is convicted of rape (Penal Code 261) shall not be given custody or unsupervised visits with a child conceived as a result of rape.


Additional Information: 

Cavin Law – Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (Discusses California Family Code in Regards to Abuse Allegations)

Thurmond Arnold – California Family Law Statutes and Court Rules



About EJ

Parenting Abused Kids (PAK) reflects the personal thoughts and opinions of "EJ" sharing her experiences of surviving domestic abuse and injustice in family court. PAK also includes news and informational articles about abuse and family court issues. The purpose of PAK is to raise awareness of the challenges domestic abuse survivors to rebuild their lives after experiencing domestic abuse, compounded with the struggles of ongoing family court litigation. PAK will also discuss and raise awareness about issues related to parenting children who have been abused, and often present with emotional and behavioral problems. Parenting Abused Kids is not affiliated with any professional group, political group, organization or religious affiliation. My sincere love and support goes out to abuse survivors and their children. I am so sorry for what you have endured, and pray your lives will be filled with the happiness you so deserve. Thank-you for visiting!
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1 Response to California Family Code – Safety of Children is Primary Concern in Custody Cases, Prohibits Courts from Punishing Parents Who Report Abuse

  1. Jennifer says:

    Happens everyday in America. I never even filed a complaint and they twisted my kids ” strong desire” to remain with me into PAS and took my kids from me and each other. I was then granted one hour every two weeks under supervision. Danirel Chester is a pro at it. he practices in your town now!! GOOD LUCK SANTA ROSA!!!


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