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Joint custody of children has been a recently accepted alternative to the traditional child custody/visitation orders that usually follow dissolution proceedings. In 1980, California became one of the first states to provide, by statute, a presumption in favor of an award of joint custody to the parents. The authors present the legislative history of this joint custody statute and synthesize the various views that have been expressed on the subject of joint custody. Also presented is a discussion of the legislative intent behind the statute and whether the current law is the most effective means of protecting the best interests of the child and of assuring minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a marital dissolution.