As stated in the first installment on this topic, new laws went into effect in California on January 1, 2019, which constitute a significant reform of our domestic violence statutes. That reform continues the tendency of California’s legislature to increasingly penalize domestic abusers.
The paradigm shift from “violence” as being the actionable harm, to any type of abuse being subject to judicial action, has been happening for a few years.
We discussed the effect of the new laws on spousal support rights in Part 1. This is Part 2, and here we are discussing the new laws’ impact on custody and visitation.
The law which made the changes to the custody portion of the Family Code was A.B. 2044. Prior to the passage of A.B. 2044, the law required a Family Court judge to determine the best interests of the child for purposes of deciding child custody in proceedings brought under the Family Code. In making that determination, existing law did require the court to consider certain factors, including whether either of the child’s parents habitually or continually uses alcohol or illegal drugs.