In California, the child’s best interest is the main consideration of the court when determining child custody. In custody cases, both parents start with equal custody rights, and the court only makes its decision on who it should award child custody and the nature of the custody based on principles that protect the child's best interest. Other important considerations that the court must make include the child's preference, the emotional stability of a parent, the parent's co-parenting skills and the need to maintain stability and continuity for the child.

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