The 2022 legislative session produced an important Child custody and parents’ mental health statute that forces courts to focus on the actions of the parents, rather than a diagnosis of a mental illness. Additionally, the definition of “family” was expanded for the purposes of the California Family Rights Act and the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act.
Effective Jan. 1, 2024, new subsection (d)(1) of Family Code 3040 requires that “if a court finds that the effects of a parent’s, legal guardian’s, or relative’s history of or current mental illness are a factor in determining the best interest of the child” under 3040(a), it must: (1) Provide the parent, legal guardian, or relative with a list of local resources for mental health treatment; and (2) State its reasons for the finding in writing or on the record.
AB 1041 amended the California Family Rights Act (Gov. Code, § 12945.2) (CFRA) and the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (Lab. Code, §§ 245–249) (HWHFA) to expand its definition of “family” under the Acts, for which an eligible employee can take family care and medical leave or paid sick leave, to include a designated person (or chosen family) by the employee.