Preparing for Child Custody Battle

The importance of preparation in a child custody battle cannot be emphasized enough.  While it may seem that judges prefer to keep the mother and child together, this has not prevented the courts from granting the father joint custody, visitation or some form of access to the children.

As a parent, you have rights.  But if you sit on them, those rights can be taken away from you.  If you intend to obtain custody (sole or joint) or ample visitation rights, there are a couple of things you have to put together for your case:

  • Your goal.  Decide if sole custody or joint custody is best for you.  Whether you go for custody or visitation, you should stand firm on your decision and build your case from there.
  • Your story.  A case always has two sides.  Think: He said; she said.  A judge can only make a determination based on what is presented before him.  How you tell your story can affect a judge’s inclination of who to believe.
  • Physical evidence.  Judges decide the future of broken families on the basis of what is presented to them. They have the legal duty to justify their orders with provisions of law and sufficient evidence. Look around your home for photos, receipts, documents or anything that a judge can view and use as basis for a decision in your favor.  Take photos of bonding time with your children.  You want to demonstrate parental connection and a good one, too.
  • A journal of events.  Write down details of significant situations by answering basic questions of who, what, when and where.  Your story will appear more credible if it is narrated in a chronological order and with accurate details.
  • The best lawyer your money can buy.  While it is true that expensive fees do not always guarantee the best legal services, an expert will definitely cost you some money.  You may have to make some major sacrifices in order to finance your case.  Recovering money that you spend on your case is possible with time and effort, but lost time with your children can never be recovered.

149 thoughts on “Preparing for Child Custody Battle

  1. Diana

    I am a mother of two(15 and 16 years old)and currently working abroad. My ex who is living in Phils. has filed for an annullment and we are still waiting for the court’s decision. My 2 kids are in the custody of my mother but I send them monthly financial support. My questions are: can my ex husband file for a case to get a legal custody of my kids because I am abroad? If yes what are the things I need to do? Thank you.

    1. Atty CFlorido Post author

      Yes, Diana, the father of your children can ask for the custody of your children in the same pending case for nullity.
      If that happens and you want to oppose his move, you can return to the Philippines and file your opposition stating your reasons which may include any or some of the following:

    2. any existing agreement on the custody of the children signed by the father outside court
    3. your continuous desire to allow your children to maintain an open and loving relationship with their father
    4. the health, safety and welfare of your children
    5. any history of child or spousal abuse by their father
    6. habitual use of alcohol, dangerous drugs or regulated substances of the other parent
    7. marital misconduct
    8. where the children are now is the most suitable physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological and educational environment for their development and growth
    9. the preference of your children
    10. I hope that this helps.

      1. Mish Lee

        Hi Atty. CFlorido,

        been browsing the website about child custody in the Philippines and I saw yours.hope u can help me what to do.I was an unwed mother of an 8 year old child,who does not recieve a child support from his father since we part ways.He went to middle east and was sending money for the first few 5 months until he stopped,then we broke up, thats nearly 2 years ago. now I’m married and living overseas,planning to get my child in the Phil. soon,but before I can start processing his papers,an Immigration agent asked if I have the Legal Custody of the child? i’m confused,where should I go to make sure I have the legal custody of my child,and what to do to get the papers done needed for the Immigration office?
        Thanks Atty.

      2. Christine Florido Post author

        Hello, Mish. In the Philippines, children who were born of unmarried parents are illegitimate and under the custody of the mother. Your child’s birth certificate coupled with an affidavit of illegitimacy should be sufficient to establish your relationship with your child. I hope that this helps.

  2. ms. j

    dear attorney,

    i am 29 years old and i have an 8 year old boy but his dad and i are not married and we’re no longer together for years already. i have my child’s custody but his dad sometimes supports the kid. we have our own separate lives already and we’re not in good terms. now am leaving for abroad for work and my child’s dad is threatening me and my family that he will take my child once i left. i just want to know if we file this on legal case will he get my child’s custody even if my child doesnt want to stay with his dad? or can my child just stay with my parents which my child also wants. please give me advise asap. thanks!

    1. Christine Florido Post author

      Dear Ms. J:
      Considering that the status of your son is illegitimate, you have sole custody of your son, or in your absence, the person you entrust custody with. If the case proceeds in court, the father of your child may most likely be awarded only visitation rights (which is the right to have access and spend time with your son). This is different from custody. I hope this helps.

  3. ms. j

    thanks you so much attorney.. it gave me and my mom relief. thanks you for helping me. God bless you all the time.

  4. HELP

    please give advise.
    My husband and I are separated for nearly 2 years now. He is in a drug rehabilitation facility, financed by his rich parents (i think he is nearing the end of his program because he is already seen by common acquaintances, publicly). He resides with his parents.
    I have been supporting our 2 kids for 1 year and 9 months now, solely. The girl is 9 years old and the boy is nearing 7 years old this month. Now, his parents have filed custody of the children because we are UNFIT MOM and DAD. The DAD by virtue that he is in rehab. Me, the MOM, because I am a smoker and that I am a drug addict (where my lawyer and I have already submitted a drug test showing NEGATIVE), yet they still insist so. That I like to while my time on sing-a-longs and that I am an alcohol drinker (their evidence was a picture from my facebook that was taken during new year’s eve).
    The grandparents of my kids are really rich. The kids when saked who they choose, would pick me. But, when asked by the other party (when they visit the kids in school) would not reply. I don’t know how the kids would react when asked and faced by both parties on who to choose.
    Can you advise regarding my situation? Your insight would be a great help.

    1. Christine Florido Post author

      Help: Generally, the natural parents who are of good character and can reasonably provide for the needs of the children are entitled to the custody of the children against all persons, including the grandparents. The law presumes that the natural parent/s are the best persons to raise their children. Unfitness is something they will have to prove against you. And assuming you have had your carefree moments in the past, I suggest that you consider changing your lifestyle right now to show that they are wrong about you.

      Courts also tend to maintain the status quo, meaning, if the children appear to be doing well right now, then they will be allowed to remain where they are (which is with you) rather than risk emotional stress that can arise from changes in their living arrangements.

      The key is to be at your best behavior, focus on your children and fight against any attempt to take your children away from you. If the other side provokes you into showing bad behavior, resist the urge to get into something you may regret doing. Remember, the presumption of the law is in your favor. Best of luck. Be strong for your children.

      1. HELP

        Thank You Very Much. You have given me hope. Two last question though. Was there ever a court case that the grandparents were given custody of the children? Do I need to establish also that the grandparents are unfit parents,too?

      2. Christine Florido Post author

        HELP: From my survey of the latest Supreme Court decisions, it seems that in custody battles between grandparents and the natural parents, the parents have been favored. In a case for custody, the one filing against you has the burden of showing your unfitness. It is generally not necessary to show the grandparents’ unfitness but of course, why leave any stone unturned? Your lawyer may raise valid arguments against them to ensure an open-and-shut case. I hope this helps.

  5. mae

    Hi Atty.,

    I am currently working here abroad and i have a 2 year old son who stays with my mom and a nanny.
    Unwed, but my son used the last name of his father, as per birth certificate.
    We are not actually in good terms but we are neighbors in the Philippines, so he can freely
    visit my child and furthermore my mom allows him to. whenever we fight, he threatens me
    that he’s gonna take my child and when he knew that i wanted to shift to a different place,
    he told me theres no problem with that as long as the child stays with him. My mom on the
    other hand, can not say anything as she told me that they might really take the child.
    What should i do? Im planning to apply for Permanent Residency here abroad and i want to
    take my child here with me. I want my mom to be the legal guardian of my kid whilst
    im here abroad. Please do let me know the best thing that i should do.

    1. Christine Florido Post author

      The mother of an illegitimate chid is entitled to exercise SOLE parental authority over her child. While the father does not share parental authority, he does have visitation rights and the obligation to provide support as well. There is no guarantee that the father of your child will not try to obtain custody while you are away and take his chances by filing a petition for custody citing your absence.

      My advice: Consider keeping your future plans about foreign permanent residency confidential and in the meantime, work on a written visitation agreement specifically stating the hours and days of his visitation schedule. A signed agreement will bind him while you are away, keep him happy with the regular access to your child, and may serve as sufficient proof that you are not relinquishing your rights nor abandoning your child. Again, since relations are strained between you and the father, try not to provoke him by maintaining strict privacy and keeping your communications to a minimum. Finally, contact a lawyer to help you draft and negotiate the terms of a solid visitation agreement. I hope this helps.

  6. HELP

    Thank you very much. More power to you.

    1. mae

      Thank you so much attorney. In the event that im gonna go home for a vacation, can i do the said written visitation agreement? Would it not insult or provoke him in anyway? Because he’s been out of job since i gave birth and really, no financial help.

      1. Christine Florido Post author

        Well, a visitation agreement without any support provisions will just formalize what he is already enjoying right now– access to your child. Not many will take it well but with a little explanation from a lawyer perhaps, he may just agree to it without complaining. Best of luck, Mae.

  7. mariam

    hi,im working here abrod and i just want my mother to be the guardian of my can i do that?pls let me know.thanks & Godbless

    1. Attorney Post author

      By law, when both parents of the child are absent, the grandparents have substitute parental authority in the meantime. I don’t suggest having your mother file a petition for guardianship especially if your absence in the country is merely temporary. But if it will help, you may want to prepare a signed and sworn affidavit clearly stating your intention to temporarily entrust your child to the care of your mother while you are away without necessarily giving up your natural parental authority. I hope this helps.

      1. mariam

        Thank you attorney for the reply. Apparently, my real problem here is, the parents of my ex-husband are also demanding custody of my child. At the present, my mother is the one taking care of my daughter. Since i left for abroad, it is my mom taking care of my child, and this is a decision both me and my ex-husband agreed. My ex-husband just makes daily visits to my daughter. But just last month, when my ex-husband went for abroad as well, his parents are demanding to have my daughter to be on their side. Both parties ( my mother and in-laws) made an agreement “in my absence” that every 2 weeks my child will be in their care which I strongly feel is not healthy for my child’s well-being and it would be a torture for her. Therefore, in this situation, I would like to ask once more for your advice,if possible that i make an affidavit that I would entrust the care of my child to my mother for the time being that i am here abroad? and that the other party can just make scheduled visits to my daughter? Is it possible that I take lone custody of my child since she is still below 7 yrs old? and that both parents are abroad? Thank you so much and will look forward for your immediate reply. God bless!

      2. Atty Post author

        Yes, it is possible to entrust the care of your child to your mother temporarily and for you to confirm this arrangement in an affidavit or other signed and notarized document. You may also want to send a copy of that document to the other set of grandparents for their information.
        I hope this helps.

  8. Love

    I am living in with a foreigner (not married) who is working here in the Philippines at the moment. We have an 11 month old son (born here in the philippines) who is carrying his surname. Since we move in together i stopped working and is now a stay home mom. I am planning on leaving him due to some circumstances that i cannot elaborate here. If i decide to leave him can i demand for financial support for my son?? also since I do not have job at the moment can i demand for support for me to rent a place where we can leave? he is also threatening me that he will take my son and bring him to his country. can he do that???

    1. Atty. Post author

      Your son is entitled to financial support which will include living accomodations, food, clothing and education. A lawyer can send a demand letter asking for monthly support in an amount that is sufficient for your son’s needs.

      Under Philippine laws, the mother of an illegitimate child exercises sole parental authority but it may be difficult to enforce your right once the child is outside of the Philippines.Considering that your son carries his father’s surname, it may be best to obtain your son’s passport at the earliest time and keep it with you to prevent the child from being taken out of the country without your knowledge.

      I hope this helps.

  9. Angel ******

    My husband is in a messy situation with the mother of his daughter. My step daughter calls me mommy and her mother will not let us see her because of it. We are trying to get the money to go to court. Do we have a chance at all of at least getting shared parenting?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Angel: Custody outcomes depend on which state the child is at, as that state’s laws will apply. But the current trend in custody battles is towards shared parenting because there are increasing studies showing how children fare better with access to both parents.

  10. steve

    gud day atty

    i ned advice about sole child custody. My wife and i had only 1 child 1 yr 2mnths old, the issue started when my wife influence by recruiter dcided to go to manila to audition for a dancer-entertainer for japan which i disagre since our son was stil too young and i hav a stable permanent job and i dnt think its necesary and i want the child to grow with both of us present. Inspite of my disagrement she proceded in manila. I took care of our son with the help of my mother and a nanny. A couple of months my disagrements about her status there flamed into arguments and put our marriage in jeopardy since she wanted to stay there 4 a while until she gets a contract as dancer-entertainer for japan , now she is asking custody of our son thru her mother’s care but i strongly refuse. What legal steps i would do to keep my son and me as a sole custodian?


    1. Atty. Post author

      Steve: A reply was sent directly to your email address. Please check.

  11. Leah

    Hi Ms J,
    My husband and I were separated for 3 yrs, we have two kids staying with me when he left to work abroad, but now I also left the country to work here in Canada,I am planning to apply for permanent residency but one of the requirements for me to bring the kids here is the proof of custody. How can I get that court order? Do I need to file a separation/annulment in the Phils for me to get also the custody of my kids? Or can I just request from a lawyer to draft me one. My ex has filed the divorce in Nevada but it has no custody order. Im really confused , I just want to bring my kids here with me. Please help!

  12. Hernando *****

    After 10 years we finally broke up. We have a four year old boy who stays with her 24/7.
    However, I would like to arrange a compromise whereby our son can stay with me for three nights every week.
    Is it possible? Do I need to go to court to file for joint physcial custody?
    I am not sure what her decision will be when I present this arrangement, hence my inquiry, if ever she would not agree?
    What are my rights as the father?
    I would appreciate any favorable opinion or suggestion.
    More Power.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Hernando: Sent a reply through email. Please check.

  13. sam

    hi atty. Good day, i just want to ask, I am married for two years and now we broke up with a bad situation, i wanted to have a sole custody of my child. But my ex-husband wanted to have his son to his parents place during weekends. Since we are both undergrads and still studying our parents supported us along the way. We filed an agreement to the Local Barangay office that he would take my sons during weekends with him and will only provide him basic needs. I was only forced to agreed on him due the officers telling me that we both have rights to take of the child because we’re married. We’re separated now, i really want to have the sole custody of my son what can i do? I only want him to visit my son and provide support. Although he is no capable of supporting since he is still a student. My son is only 1 year and 9months old. can you please help me what can i do? Thanks!

    1. Atty. Post author

      Sam: Is there any particular reason why you are against sharing custody with your estranged husband? Ordinarily, a child under 7 years old is under the parental authority of the mother but if the father files a petition for custody, the court may grant reasonable visitation rights or even joint or shared custody. You may file a petition for sole custody while your son is still under seven. If the father opposes your petition, you may have to cite serious reasons other than the young age of the child to keep his access at mere visitation. I hope this helps.

  14. sam

    He’s a very irresponsible father, he’s not concern with his child. His mother and father are the ones who took care of our son. He spend most of his time playing games on the computer. He’s very immature and thinks only of himself. He’s just telling that he will take care of his son but i know that he would not. maybe plays for him for a while but not totally takes care of him. And our son will always have mosquito bites every time he went home. I hope you will tell me what to do. What example could i use so he won’t be able to have custody of his son even during weekends? We don’t right now. And i’m scared that he might take my child away. I have plans of going to abroad someday. What will i do to make sure that he won’t hide my child or took it away while i was away. We’re not in good terms right now.

    1. Atty Post author

      I understand that parents don’t always agree about the care and upbringing of their child. This can happen not only between parents who are separated but occasionally with parents who still live together.
      Generally, children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, are entitled to spend time with both parents, if not through shared custody, but at the very least through a reasonable visitation.

      If you are concerned about how the father actually takes care of the child, I suggest that you ask a lawyer to draft a visitation agreement with your care provisions (e.g. no smoking around the child, no girlfriends or female partner sleepovers, exercise of precautions against sickness, etc.).

      There really is no sure way to prevent the father from taking the child away without your consent. But from experience, the more you deprive the father of access to his child, the more he will think of taking the child away. But if you give him regular access, he will not see it necessary to resort to kidnapping because he can see the child anyway.

      Courts usually are in favor of letting the child spend time with both parents unless you can show actual harm caused by the father, and which is serious enough to prevent him from coming near the child. The circumstances you cite, while not an ideal situation for the child, may not be considered in court as serious enough to prevent the father from spending time with the child.

      I hope this helps.

  15. Anna

    Dear Atty,

    I’m currently in the US. But I want my mom to have custody of my son as we do his paperwork to home here legally, Problem is my kid is with his Dad, we were never married. And they took the kid away from me, My ex’s mom threated me to not come near my kid, i was scared but I want to fight for my right.

    Can I do anything to make my mom the legal guardian while we process the papers? It is easier that way than talking to my ex and his family. I don’t want them to jeopardise him leaving the Philippines, afterall his dad is working for a call center and is support 4 mouths. I on the other hand have a very good life here(US) and my husband wants to bring him here too.


    1. Atty. Post author

      Yes. Since your child is illegitimate, you (as the mother) are entitled to exercise sole parental authority and as a temporary measure, to delegate his care by authorizing your mom to be his guardian. But the problem lies in taking physical custody now since the child is living with the father. You will have to file a petition for sole custody against the father and have your right enforced in court. I hope this helps.

  16. lyz

    Hi Atty,
    Just want to ask in behalf of my boyfriend, he has a 10 year old daughter living now with his mother. the child’s mother is currently living with another man for quite some time now. Though she visits her daughter from time to time.
    If ever my bf will file for sole custody of his child, is there any chance of winning the case? My bf is working abroad.
    If ever, how long will it take for the court to decide on the case?
    Thanks and more power

    1. Atty. Post author

      It depends on the child’s legal status, whether she is legitimate or illegitimate. If the child is legitimate, her father may file a petition for sole custody and cite compelling reasons against the mother such as neglect or abandonment, unemployment, immorality, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction, maltreatment of the child, insanity, and affliction with a communicable disease.
      The time it will take for the court to decide on the case can vary depending on both parties’ willingness to cooperate and come to an agreement about the child’s custody. Normally, judges will allow joint custody for legitimate children with specific times spent with both parents.

      On the other hand, if the child is illegitimate, the mother is entitled to exercise sole parental authority. Any petition to remove that right will have to show compelling reasons why it is to the best interests of the child to live with the father.

      I hope this helps.

  17. lyz

    Hi Atty,
    Thanks for the response, physical custody of the child right now is with my bf’s mom. His ex eloped with another man while he was working overseas 3 years ago… And with that,their child was in the custody of my BF’s mom as he is working abroad. they are still married though… is that a ground for him to take the sole custody of his child?

    1. Atty. Post author

      It’s possible for him to ask for sole custody if the mother does not oppose it.

  18. JC

    Hi Atty,

    Ive been married for 7 yrs with a 7 yr old daughter. Though the marriage is not working out, I still choose to stay for my daughter. We always have an argument which will result her to threatened me that she will stow away with our child ( she always do this even if she just gave birth and it becomes her habit when we are having argument). And because of her bad attitudes and threats, I fell out of love with her with makes me decide not to sleep with her and broke up with her for 4 yrs already.

    Recently, we’ve argue again on some matters and she carry my daughter with her stowing away from the house. I did not go after them though I am worried about my daughter just to let her know that its over between us for she cannot accept it. Then she called me at my mobile phone and threatening me that they’re going to cross the road with big vehicles running – suicide. She send me SMS full of foul words and insults and curses.

    I loved my daughter so much that is why I would like to file a sole custody of my daughter. She doesn’t have any means of income. I am working abroad and is planning to get her. Is there any possibility that I can have the sole custody even if I have a girl friend?


    1. Atty. Post author

      JC: Will send a reply through email before the day ends. Please check your email in a few hours.

  19. marylie

    Hi Atty!

    My husband and I parted ways 1 year ago. We have a 4 year old daughter and shes staying with him because I am thinking that it would be best for the meantime that our daughter is with him. Atleast one of us is there for her. I am an OFW and I cant be with my daughter regularly. Though I am trying to go for vacation every 5-6 months and spending my whole time with my daughter.

    My in-laws and I talked that they want their son to be responsible to our daughter, financially , so they asked me not to send money anymore and just save that money intended for our daughter.
    So, its almost 3 months now that I stopped sending money for my daughters expenses. I am regularly checking my daughter and discussing issues with my mother in law. because I have a good relationship still with my in-laws.

    My questions are:
    1. Can they use this against me? I mean, because I am not sending financially anymore to my daughter as one of the reason for loosing my custody to my daughter if ever my husband will file for a sole custody??
    2. What if I will get my daughter and leave it with my parents? and I am not there, will my husband be able to take my child away from my parents?
    3. With regards to support, what If i want to go home for good in the Philippines so that I can be with my daughter, can I ask also financial support from my husband? Anyway, we are not yet annulled.

    Thank you so much. It will be a big help for me.

    1. Atty. Post author

      1. Not sending financial support is not a ground for depriving a mother of custody. But I suggest that you send something for your daughter; it’s not for your husband but for HER. Always keep a record of your remittances or deposits as well as records of communications such as emails, text messages the meantime, just in case.

      2. Yes, you can ask your husband to have your daughter live with your parents in the meantime. I suggest that you discuss this openly with him and use positive language ( avoid negative words) to get him to voluntarily agree. Assure him that he can visit her regularly, but set a specific time and date for that. If he agrees, I suggest that you have a lawyer prepare a visitation agreement for both of you to sign.

      3. Yes, you can ask for support but if he does not voluntarily provide it, you may have to go to court for this. Bear in mind that the obligation to support is based on his capacity to pay and your needs, as well as the needs of your child. You may also be asked to share in the support of your child. In other words, you may have to find work to help raise your child when you return to the Philippines.

      I hope this helps.

  20. Jeunx

    Hi, Atty. Florido!

    My bro-in-law married his gf because she got pregnant and she left their house to elope with him and live with my parents-in-law.

    There were conflict of personalities with the parents-in-law and after 1yr of cohabitation with them, my sis-in-law left with her child without prior notice while my bro-in-law was out looking for employment.

    He is unfortunately still unemployed now. She worked in a hospital as voluntary nurse before leaving.

    I know that children 7 years and below is awarded to the mom, but aren’t there any exceptions? The infant had pneumonia and german measles, and usually returns with diaper rashes after vacationing with the mom’s family home (as claimed by my mom-in-law). They even had her swim even when the medicines for german measles and pneumonia is on-going (pictures were posted in Facebook).

    My mom-in-law feels she does not take good care of their child and was given the cold treatment, the reason why she left. My question is, if the mom is not taking enough good care of her child, can the husband take the child in his custody? Does filing in court the only solution and how long does it take to be granted? I advised my bro- and parents-in-law to send via courier things for the baby like milk, diapers, etc. He hasn’t visited their daughter for about a month now since leaving.

    1. Atty. Post author

      First of all, I agree and admire your move to ask your in-laws to continue providing milk and other things the baby needs even with the strained relations among them and the child’s in-laws. I did the same thing to my ex husband’s illegitimate child when I was still living with him.

      Addressing your questions directly: If the parents of the child are not married, the rule in favor of granting sole custody to the mother is a difficult one to bend. But there are exceptions and it is up to the petitioning father (if he goes to court for this) to prove the unfitness of the mother by showing neglect or abandonment. At the end of the day, the decision of the court in custody cases will depend on its view of who between the two parents can promote the best interests of the child, not the well- meaning and concerned grandparents or aunts.

      If the parents of the child are married, then the father may file a petition for sole or joint custody, still raising the welfare of the child as the basis of his petition. At best, the court may grant joint custody which may result in having shared times. This is probably the best arrangement for the young baby because it is the prevailing view of judges that young children need their mothers most in their early years. Sharing custody will also give your in-laws time to take care of the needs of the baby.

      Going to court is not the only solution. If both mom and dad of the baby are mature enough to discuss a shared parenting agreement out of court, then this should be explored as it will reduce legal costs and promote peace among everyone as well.

      I hope this helps.

  21. Jeunx

    Thank you Atty!

    I do hope they can settle this amicably and out of court. My in-laws really feel that the other side will bring this to court to milk them dry and might fabricate stories like non-support especially since my bro-in-law in unemployed now.

    Thanks again for your time!

  22. Jeunx

    Hi again Atty.

    As a follow up to my inquiry above, my parents-in-law are planning for my bro-in-law to go abroad to his sister. They thought of this to avoid further “harrassment” from his wife. After 2weeks from leaving my parents-in-law’s house, she communicated with him that she wants to be fetched and to return back. Naturally, however, my parents-in-law oppose this and says will only welcome their grandchild.

    I read from your other post that a parent may draft a petition for visitation with care provision. What will happen if this is breached, though? My Xsis-in-law is now telling my bro-in-law “when will he visit their child as she is full of mosquito bites”. They feel that she is blackmailing him so he will go there but an entrapment may happen. That, or again, she is not taking care of her child after suffering german measles and pneumonia which is very unfortunate!

    1. Atty Post author

      I’m not sure I understand what type of “entrapment” may happen in that situation. A visitation agreement is for the father to have access to his child. Considering that the child seems to be suffering from poor health, with more reason should the father visit the child to see how the child is doing and to determine what needs to be done, if the child needs medical attention. Sometimes, parents need to set aside their personal issues and to focus on the child’s welfare so that the child does not suffer from the separation. The parents need not reconcile to take care of their child. But they can learn to communicate and support the child so that he or she grows up well. I really hope the child is getting better now.

  23. Jeunx

    Hi Atty.

    They just fear my bro-in-law will be pestered with “additional” monetary support (thinking that when they start sending the baby items, it’s like offering their hand and them opting for their arm) and/or forced to reconcile with her once he visits them using the baby as leverage.

    Thank you very much for the info and assistance, Atty. Florido! Will have to exert effort and help “enlighten” my parents-in-law on how we can all work together for the benefit of the child without the need to reconcile as married couple if they don’t want to. We do hope the baby is ok and/or will be soon!

    Best regards and again, salamat po!

  24. macey

    hi atty

    I just want to ask about the custody of my nephew his only 5 years old his father take him in his hometown and did not return my nephew, the father is married and has a family already, my sister who is the mother of the child want to take my nephew but the father will not give back my nephew and insist to file a case on my sister for custody, my sister is single and was pregnant when the father of my nephew is already married to other women. can he take my nephew from my sister? can we file a case on the father of my nephew kidnapping?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Macey: I assume the child in your question is illegitimate. His mother should have custody over him. I suggest that the mother consult a lawyer in the place where the child is currently staying (n the Dad’s hometown) regarding filing the appropriate action to have the child produced in court and to settle the issue of custody as well. A family lawyer with experience would know what type of action or petitions to file. I hope this helps.

  25. Ann

    I have a permanent resident visa here in canada. I applied to petition my husband, son now 12, and daughter now 8, i think three years ago. During the process, I met a Canadian and decided to divorce my husband but went ahead with the petition thinking of divorcing him after. Their visa was approved and will expire on July 15. My husband and I have already talked about the divorce etc. but he suddenly decided not to go to Canada and will not allow my kids to go here too. I think that he is passing a great opportunity as well as jeopardizing my kid’s future. What can I do? Need help urgently. I will be in Manila on July 10 to talk this over and hopefully convince him.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ann: Are your children living with him? You can legally travel abroad with your children without his consent, unless there is a case pending for custody. Living away from one’s children can really cause unhappy feelings. Your husband is certainly feeling that now. If he prevents your children from leaving, you will have to discuss sharing time, e.g. the children going to the Philippines specific times and for specific periods every year. Make some concessions if you want him to agree to your plans. Consider allowing your children to go to the Philippines every Christmas and summer break and keep your word. I hope this helps.

  26. Ann

    May I add that my husband has been unemployed for 10 years now. One of the reasons why I decided to divorce him. Up until now, I support him and the kids.

  27. Ann

    Thank you so much attorney…Yes, my children are living with him. I have no plans of taking away my child from him. I was asking them to just stay so they can validate their visa and then they can go back if they want.

  28. tsung

    good day atty florido,

    i would like to open up the case of a friend of mine who is not in good term with her husband, she want to end things between them and have the custody of their 8 year old daughter.
    1. What would be the chances of my friend having the custody, if my friend is working abroad and as of now the child is living with the husband and of the parents of her husband?
    2. Could it be a possible ground (of having the custody) if the husband is unemployed?
    3. Furthermore, if the husband was just wasting the money my friend is sending to him and can’t account to where it was expend?
    4. And what could be the things my friend should collect, do and gather so that the court would give her the custody of her daughter?
    5. Could my friend have her parent take care of the child as of the moment that she is in abroad?
    6. Could the parent of my friend file the case for the custody of the child for and in behalf of my friend for as of the moment that she is not in the country?

    I would be glad to hear things from you atty.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Parents of legitimate children generally exercise joint custody over them. In custody cases involving children older than 7 years old, the court will consider several factors including the choice of the child. In this case, if the mother is not present to take care of the child, the court may find it for the best interests of the child to be placed under the care of the father. Custody cases require the personal appearance of the parent filing the petition. I hope this helps.

  29. jusz

    good day attorney,

    Me and my partner separated 2 years ago. where not married. but we have 2 kids. 7 years old and 5 years old. we are separated because of money problems and she left me. now she is already in the states married to a american citizen and me working abroad saudi arabia. and im here for a short vacation because i want to be with my kids. my problems is, she wont let me see my kids or even during weekend even she is in abroad. she takes control over her parents and threat them if they force my kids to see me, she will stop sending money to his mother and to the kids, just because i dont want to talk to her. because there’s nothing to talk about. she wanted to ask forgiveness what she did to the family. and i refuse to talk to her. I am sending money for the kids monthly and its very hard for me since i am only here for 45 days. my question, do i have the right to gain custody to my kids? since she is not here in the Philippines?

    1. Atty Post author

      Jusz: Since your children are illegitimate, their mother has sole parental authority which she can delegate to her mother/father during her temporary absence. But as their biological father, you are entitled to reasonable visitation rights. I suggest that you reach out and talk to her about this, avoid negative words or tone of voice and just let her speak to you if that’s all it will take to have access to your children. Going to court will take time; by the time you start the hearing of your case, you may have to leave the country already. I hope this helps.

  30. Matt.

    Hi Atty
    I have a good friend who has a big problem. He is from Denmark and his wife is from the Philippines. They got married in the Philippines and then moved to Denmark. There they had a baby boy who is a Danish citizen with a Danish passport. A few months back his wife said she wanted to visit her family in the Philippines so he brought her and their baby son a ticket to come and visit. Once she got back to the Philippines she said she had no intention of going back and was keeping the boy with her in the Philippines. Is there any chance that the father can come over here and get his child back to Denmark which he wants to do. The boy is only 18 months old, and the mother has no paperwork apart from his Danish passport over in the Philippines. She resides in Quenzon city and would you know of a good family atty there, thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

    1. Atty,. Post author

      Matt: Sent a reply to your query through the email you provided here. Please check your inbox.

  31. Kawaunee

    Hello I do not know if you can help But My husband found out that he has a 14 year old that live in the Philippines. After 14 year do we even have a change to have her come here to the(US ).. My husband wont’s here come here and live but her mom dose not wont’s her coming here to the states. How do we go about getting her here.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Kawaunee: Your husband’s daughter in the Philippines is illegitimate and at 14 years old, she is still under the parental authority of her mother. Your husband may be entitled to reasonable visitation rights, but I’m afraid, that without her mother’s consent, your husband may not succeed in bringing her to the US.

  32. OLIVE

    Can a father take a child abroad from its mother without her consent?my husband and i are not in good terms, although i only have little proof that he did have a relationship with his coworker he admits it to me that all of the things that our common friend told me are all true he also admits that he went to the girls house and slept with the girl for 7x and told me there were no sex that happened, now he is telling me that he wants to see our 3yrs old daughter to Singapore before he will go to Dubai. he wanted me to give his brother the copy of our child’s birth certificate and passport. and let his brother bring my child to Singapore. My parents and God parents told me not to allow my child with my brother in law because they might not bring her back to me as my husband told me in SMS that he doesn’t want me anymore and that he only wanted his mother,father,brothers complete including my daughter is it possible for my husband and his family to trick me in getting my child? thanks.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Olive: While we can’t always tell the future, the possibility of not returning a child back to her mother will always be there. You need not send your child to your brother-in-law if you fear for her safety or return. Since she is in your custody, the ultimate decision to let your child leave is yours, not the father’s nor your in-laws. But instead of saying a flat NO to your husband, try offering a peaceful alternative — tell him to come to the Philippines and visit your daughter at home. That way, you don’t unreasonably withhold access and are able to keep her under your watch at the same time. I hope this helps.

  33. jmarch2010

    Hi Atty,
    Its me again. I just found out that the father of my son have multiple partners aside from having another child with a different girl. Now, the family of my son’s father is asking us to move in with them. The father of my son is amicable with this set up but i’m very doubtful regarding this. what if they’re just setting me up and they will take my son away from me. they’re making it very difficult now when i ask for support since i did not make any decisions yet of going down to manila and one of his partners is even threatening me that she will do everything in her power to keep my son’s father away. I tried talking to his mom but all she said that i should not antagonize her son but should try to work things out with him and try to have a harmonious relationship and not give his son reasons to stay with the other girls. I’ve been trying hard to move on so as to not getting hurt emotionally. I still love him yes but I cant fathom to live with a guy with multiple partners. But I also want my son to grow up with his dad. What should I do?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jmarch2010: You and/or your child are not required by law to live with the child’s father or his family since you and the child’s father are not married. I’m not so sure letting your son grow up with his father is going to be for your son’s benefit. You mentioned that the father has multiple partners he does not appear to be financially responsible to your child– qualities that fall below a good male example for your son. I understand you are exerting effort to compromise with the guy’s family for purposes of receiving support without additional hassles. By all means, continue to communicate with him or the parents in a positive tone but be firm in your decision to obtain only what your child needs without causing additional confusion by living with them. Staying with the child’s father without the benefit of marriage and while the father still sees other women can lead your child to believe that you are a complete family when you are merely putting up a show for him. What will happen when the child’s father finally settles down with someone else? Your son may be devastated if he grows attached to him or gets used to living with him. Form a vision of how you want your son to grow up and how you want your lives to be. From there, you can make important decisions clearly and firmly. I hope this helps.

  34. light2shine


    I know a father who had an 8 year old daughter. He had been supporting her even though he and the mother broke up. But one day when her sister visited his daughter to give the support (because he was in dubai), the sister was surprised when the child was asked where is her dad. She replied, “Dead”. And the sister was told not go back anymore and just wait for them to look for them should they need the dad. Since then they lost contact and they just decided to give in what the mom want to avoid more conflicts.

    He recently learned that his ex died and the daughter is staying with the grandparents. Is there a way that he can get custody of his 8 year old daughter? If there is, how? Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Atty. Post author

      light2shine: He may file a petition for adoption or a petition for custody in court. Both require court hearings and may take time but I suggest that as a first step for him to resume communication with his daughter and the grandparents. He can ask about her welfare now with the mother gone and gently suggest that he take care of his daughter. Adoption will result in not just a right of custody but in providing the child with a status similar to that of a legitimate child. I hope this helps.

  35. Riz

    Hi Atty.,

    I have a 9 year old son who stays with my parents.
    Unwed with his father but he is acknowledged as a father in my son’s birth certificate.
    My son’s last name was after our family name.

    During the first 5 months after I gave birth to my son, he sometimes gives us money and then suddenly stops and never receives anything from him.

    I do not want to be a burden to my Parents that is why I decided to work abroad to sustain the needs of my Son, plus the factor that I do not receives any support from my son’s father.

    Now, I’m married and living overseas, planning to get my child by next year.
    Though I’m working here abroad, being on a dependent visa stops me from sponsoring my child and was advised by the Immigration here that only my Husband can sponsor my child.

    As one of the requirement in visa processing, they require an Authorization from the father of my child allowing my son to travel with us.

    I do not have good relations with them but on rare occasions, he borrows my son.

    I know that Sole Custody for children under 7 years old usually given to the mother of the child, but my son is already 9, what would be the procedure in applying a Sole Custody for my child or I do still have the right for my son?

    Can I just apply an Affidavit of Illegitimacy rather than asking him an Authorization or is there any legal document that can state that he can visit and borrow my son but doesn’t have any right on any decision Im making for my son? Is there any way to write-off his name from my Son’s birth certificate so that I do not have to go and ask his permission for any legal processing (i.e. visa application, etc…)

    Your advice is highly appreciated.



    1. Atty. Post author

      Riz: A reply will be sent through email. Please check your inbox in a while.

      1. Riz

        Thanks for the reply Atty. Christine..

        Another question, is it possible for my husband to adopt my son without my son changing his family name?
        If so, can you please advise what are the procedure and how much would it cost?

        In case the court approves the adoption that we are about to file for my son, would that void the rights of my son’s father and would mean that me and my husband have the full right to my son? Please advise.

        Thank you very much in advance.


      2. Atty. Post author

        Riz: sent a reply through email. Please check.

  36. gem

    hi atty,
    my husband and i were married, we have a 6yr old son. i wanted to leave him due to marital problems…he’s abusing me verbally, he’ s a mamas boy,,,in some occasions he’s lifting his hands on me,,whenever he’s too angry and cannot control his emotions…i am already tired of living my life like this, i want to have peace… so now i decided to leave him…we’ll rent a small apartment near my son’s school. he threatened me that if i will leave him with our son,,blood will flow…i got scared…so i don’t know what should be my next move…i have already lost my love and respect for him,,which is making it hard for me to exercise marital obligation especially love making. he is fully aware that i may take the custody of the child because he’s under 7yrs old…but told me that when my child reached 8yrs old he will file for his custody…if my son will be presented in court i think he will choose his father,,,because he is close to him…will the court grant him the custody if my son chooses him…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Gem: The child’s preference is only one factor which the court will consider, but the paramount consideration is always the best interest of the child– which includes his emotional and physical welfare. A parent’s history of physical abuse is also a factor. The prevailing trend these days is for the court to grant JOINT parenting–where both parents share times (e.g. weekdays with the mother, weekends with the father). I hope this helps.

  37. gem

    HI ATTY,,,
    I have another question related to previous question above. if the custody of child was already given to me by court,,since my child is under 7yrs old…is there a possibility that it can be reversed if the father will file a petition. I am confident that i am a fit mother to raise my child,,,what i am afraid of is the preference of my child,,,he so close to his father as well as my in laws,,,im afraid they will brain wash him,,,

    1. Atty. Post author

      Gem: Cases involving children are never final as the best interest of the child is the ultimate criteria for custody decisions. So, assuming you have been granted custody through a court order, the father may one day ask for a modification of the court order citing new circumstances which prejudice the child. Again, the child’s preference is only one factor and the court will not automatically grant custody to the preferred parent if you can prove that the child’s choice will result in serious consequences to his welfare. Also, courts are careful not to change the child’s situation if it has been that way for some time– as drastic changes in his living environment can lead to untold consequences. The judge may also ask that both parties try to iron out their issues in mediation and to come up with a voluntary agreement instead of making the child go through the stressful court proceedings. Parents locked in custody battles may find some wisdom in the story of Solomon and the 2 mothers (1 Kings 3:16-28) where the “true” parent who has real love for the child will give up his/her personal happiness for the sake of the child. I hope this helps.

  38. Ben

    Hi Atty:

    I have a son 5yrs old, he is now living with his mom and we are not married and I acknowledge my son family name.

    My Question is, she have the right to file against me for my cancellation of my visa and passport? Because in 3 months I never give her support but this cause of I don’t have money, is she can demand support if I don’t have a work or short in financial? She always threatened me and never allowing me to see my son.
    What is my right as a father?
    If she is unemployed can I get the custody of my son?

    Your Urgent Assistance in this matter is highly appreciated.

    Thank you and Warm Regards.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ben: Since your child is illegitimate, his mother has sole parental authority over him. However, you are entitled to reasonable visitation rights which I suggest you try and negotiate out of court to avoid additional expenses of filing a case for visitation. Your son is entitled to support and his mother may file a petition in court to enforce your child’s right to be supported. If the case is pending in court, and your son’s mother is aware that you are about to leave the country, she may ask the court to issue a hold departure order while the case is pending, to ensure that you comply with any court order for support. Being unemployed is not enough reason to deny your son child support as the law does not require that the parent be employed– as there are other sources of income where child support can come from. Understandably, the child’s mother is concerned that your departure may leave her child without any financial support. Moreover, it may raise some doubt to your claim of being unable to provide as a plane ticket to a foreign country and the issuance of a visa and its costs presuppose that you have the capacity to finance your trip abroad. I suggest that you try and discuss child support and visitation as peacefully as you can for the sake of your child. Regardless of how you feel for the child’s mom, your son still needs financial support in order to grow up well. I hope this helps.

  39. Ben

    Dear Atty:
    Thank you for your urgent assistance.
    This will help me a lot..
    God bless you always..

    Thank you and Warm Regards.

  40. Mat

    Hello Atty. I hope you’re still watching this post for recent comments, there are no dates, see, and I have know idea how long ago the last comment was.

    Anyway, I seriously need your help. I’ll keep it short as I don’t want to bore you with the details. I have 2 questions that I need answered desperately.

    My wife is abroad and our daughter, she’s 6, has been living with me for 2yrs now. Due to disagreements with my in-laws, our marriage went south and is now basically over. Now my wife is threatening me that she’ll come back here and file for sole custody and that she’ll take our child back abroad with her so I can’t see her again. My questions are, if she wins the custody case:

    1. Can she really carry out her threat? Won’t I have any say in the matter anymore? I guess I’ll be granted visitation rights, but will those rights stop her from taking our child abroad?

    2. Can she transfer custody to her parents in case she won’t take our child back abroad with her, leaving me with just visitation rights, or will I have custody again once she leaves?

    Note that I have a healthy relationship with our daughter. I’m pretty sure there’s no argument they can use to say that I’m unfit to take care of her except the fact that I don’t have a regular income since I’m only doing freelance work coz I won’t have anyone to leave our child to if I have a full time job.

    Thanks in advance, Atty.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Mat: I’m pretty active here– no worries. I don’t want my readers to think that I ignore them. Besides, changes in the law are addressed in updated articles or posts. Anyway, in answer to your questions:

      1) Generally, children below 7 years old are placed under the custody of their mothers. But you can oppose her petition in court, citing compelling reasons such as abandonment or neglect in the past 2 years that she was abroad. Your lawyer will take care of finding grounds to oppose her petition. Since your daughter is legitimate, you may be given joint custody, not just mere visitation, if you strongly oppose her custody petition, including her planned migration abroad. Your current situation may actually help you because many judges tend to favor maintaining the child’s status quo. It is believed that drastic changes in a child’s living arrangements where she may have adjusted well, can cause untold stress and psychological harm to the child.
      2) Your child’s legitimate status will give you preferential right of custody over her grandparents. The situation could be unfavorable to you if your child were illegitimate.
      3) The law does not require the custodial parent to have a regular day job as support can come from various income sources, including your freelance work. You can even ask the child’s mother to share in the child’s support since she is working abroad, and presumably earns more due to the favorable exchange rate.

      I suggest that you consult a lawyer already who may advise you on your next steps, including the possibility of filing a petition for sole custody FIRST so that you can control the proceedings in court, and establish your right while the child’s mother is away. I hope this helps.

      1. Dean

        Thanks Atty., you’ve given me a massive dose of relief.

        As per your suggestion at the end, I’m reluctant to do that since she has to come back here to seriously put up a fight, meaning she’ll face the possibility of losing her job. That will be a massive blow to her and even though she severed our marriage bonds, I still care enough to not put her in that kind of situation.

        What I have in mind is to let her make that decision on her own without me forcing her to, meaning if she wants custody, then she has to decide on her own to sacrifice her job to get it. I’d be content with visitations and/or joint custody as long as our child is with one of us. I just don’t want our child to spend her tender years with her grandparents, away from both of us, as per what my wife wants. Our marriage was shattered because of this but I can handle it, so long as our child grows with her basic need of her parents company at least partially fulfilled by one parent.

        I know this is silly, and it could possibly make my situation harder but my conscience won’t let me unless there’s no other way of gaining at least some visitation rights and keeping our child here in the Philippines. What do you think?

  41. Ben

    Thank you for your kind and understanding atty this will help me a lot.

    Another Query, When I was in saudi i am giving monthly support to the mom of my son then when i go back to Philippines I never given because I paid on my agency in saudi to release me and give me exit because I was hired directly.
    so, when I was in philippines i barrowed money from my friends then when I’m here in my current Job i communicate with my son mom and I told her that i cannot give for this month or even next month because I have to pay all my owe but she refused my explanation and she told that is not her problem instead he go to PAO to inquire about filling of case against me.
    Is she can threatened me ? because i am willing to give but as of this moment im very short on financial because I have to pay all my owe because monthly it will increase 10%.
    Do I have a right to stop giving support to my son until i finished to pay all my owe?
    For Example, I am receiving 1000$ monthly how much i supposed to give to my son? ordo we have a law of how much is the percentage do we have to give?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ben: Child support is important. Your financial situation is understandable, but perhaps there is a way for you to negotiate a different settlement of your personal loans to accommodate your child’s needs. The monthly amount you are receiving can be divided among your different obligations including your loan and your child. There is no percentage fixed by law but you are required to provide an amount that is sufficient for the child’s needs. You may get some advice from a financial counselor on how best to fit all your expenses in your budget.

      1. Ben

        Thank you atty for your urgent response. this will make my mind clear..

  42. dors

    hi atty. how long does a child custody case usually take?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Dors: There is no specific duration for cases in court due to the influence of various factors beyond the control of either party. If the child’s parents are open to compromise and out of court settlement, the case can take a few hearings. If the parties slug it out in court and refuse to meet halfway, or if one parent strongly objects to the petition for custody filed by the other, then it can take months, even years, for a final outcome. This is why I suggest that parties try to communicate positively with each other and adopt an open mind when discussing child custody. But if the custody petition is over an illegitimate child where the mother seeks to confirm her sole right to exercise parental authority for visa purposes, it may take several hearings, because the mother’s right is already recognized in the Family Code.

  43. Rachelle M

    Hi atty,

    I am married with 2 kids, age 5 and 7 now. But my relationship went bad with my husband so I decide to seperate with him 2 years ago. I am currently in abroad and my 2 kids is under the care of my parents since then. I am the one who support them but sometimes their father give them in special occasions like bday or xmas. Now my question is how can I get a custody papers for my kids. Do i really have to file it in Court or is it ok that the father of the kids sign in a agreement or paper stating his giving me the custody of the child and he will have the visitation rights too just out of the court. Or let say the paper will just be notarized. And another thing, should i file for annulment first before getting the custody of my child. Hope you can help me with this matter…

    1. Atty. Post author

      Rachelle: You can file a petition for custody and attach the custody agreement which you negotiated and signed out of court, for the court’s approval. I suggest that you get a lawyer to look at your documents and assess your situation closely for the best possible court remedy. But you need not file a petition to declare your marriage null and void to obtain a custody order. I hope this helps.

  44. Bel

    Dear atty, I am working in the middle east and I have a daughter and I delivered her there. But because of work, I need to send my baby in the Phils. so that she can be take cared off nicely. I sent her to my mother-in-law and they took care of her 8 months. And now, I am in vacation and I took my baby. My husband is in middle east also. We are not in good terms and he’s threatening me that He will take my baby and will send to Japan to his sister. How can I protect my baby from him taking her somewhere else without my consent? I will go back to middle east and I’m helpless and afraid because maybe if I will go back to Saudi and his coming here in the Phils., He can take my baby away without permission. Hope to here from you soon. Thank you very much!

    1. Atty. Post author

      Bel: The child’s father may be able to obtain custody while you are away because he has a preferential right of custody as against anyone who is not the child’s biological parent. But your daughter may not be able to leave the country unless accompanied by one of her parents. I suggest that you apply for your baby’s passport now and keep it with you. This will prevent her from being issued another one while you are gone. In the meantime, keep calm and try not to engage in any arguments or quarrels with your husband.

  45. Anne

    Hello Atty. need advise please..

    me and my ex-boyfriend had 2 child(8yrs old and 4 yrs old), we got seperated and we’re not in good terms, he and his relatives doesn’t allow me to have boding moments w/ our child, he doesnt have work previously when we’re together I’m the only one who is working to support our child, so I’m forced to leave the child to him and his mother but I’m still supporting the child even we’re seperated I sent their milk,clothes,money etc thru carrier since they’re telling that they can’t meet me up.and also when I ask them if I can barrow our child they’re always saying that child is busy studying etc. they always have alibis, and if I tell them that I’ll be the one who will go to their place they’re not replying. They meet me if they just need something from me and thats the time that they will bring our child. Also they’re telling my child things that aren’t true. I knew that because my child told me things that they have said to them, and they ask questions like why, what…

    and then I was suprised when I called them and I was told that one of our child is staying w/ his auntie and the other one is staying w/ him and his mother. I was told that they can’t support both of them.I told them that I’ll just get the child and I will be the one who will support them but they refused. I stop supporting my child since they dont allow me to see or meet my child , if I want to buy something for my child I need to send it thru carrier so they can have those stuff that I bought them even milk I need to send it thru carrier.

    right now I’m already married, but I dont have work as of the moment..can I still have custody for my child? Thanks in advance!

    1. Atty. Post author

      Anne: You can file a petition for custody to obtain sole custody over your two children. The law generally grants sole parental authority to the illegitimate child’s mother, a situation similar to your case. I suggest that you approach a lawyer who can handle your case. I hope this helps.

  46. jeff

    Hello Atty. need advise please..

    me and my ex-gilfriend had 1 child (9yrs old daughter,) she abandoned us when my kid is only 1.5 year, thou i never change my address thinking she may come back to visit her but untill now our daughter is already almost 9 years old, she does’nt visit our daughter, can I apply for R.A 9262 to transfer her last name to mine (since we are not married) and what is the procedure and the possible cost . Thanks in advance

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jeff: You can apply for RA 9255, the law allowing illegitimate children to use their father’s surname, but the Civil Registry now requires the appearance of both parents for a brief interview before acting on the application. The usual documentary requirements include:
      1. Latest Certified Copy of Birth Certificate of the Child. Include dorsal page if signed by father.
      2. Valid ID of Father and Mother (Original and Xerox copy). CEDULA of Father.
      3. Original and Photocopy of Baptismal Certificate.
      4. Original School Records showing the name of parents.
      Estimated filing fee is about Php1,000 plus.
      I hope this helps.

      1. jeff

        What should I do? I can not locate my ex Gf anymore since we were separated for almost 9 years already and there previous rented house was abandoned already due to separation of her parents that goes on separate ways as well, sorry for being makulit , thanks in advance

      2. Atty. Post author

        Jeff: Another option is to go to the DSWD and see if your child is qualified for adoption. Inform them that the mother abandoned her child and left the child with you. Adoption is a court process and make take time and some expense.

  47. koy

    good day atty.
    need some help from you

    i am a father, married, we have 1 child aged 3 years and 9 months. i went to other country for 6 months then a week before my flight home, my wife decided to end our marriage she. went i got home, i talked to her and asked to fix our relationship/marriage and family. she declined. our daughter is very close to me in. the child is stressful and affected in our situation right now. i want to have the custody of our daughter, how possible it can be? pls help

    1. Atty. Post author

      Koy: Very little possibility for you to win custody if you go to court for this. Reason: your child is under 7 years old and generally, the mother is given custody over her child at that age. To deprive the mom of custody, you’ll have to prove compelling reasons such as immorality, abandonment, neglect, etc. I suggest that you approach a lawyer already who can handle your separation and custody issue, if you foresee that it will reach the court someday.

  48. Air

    Please give me advise,
    I would like to know how I can prove that a mother is not capable of taking care of her children? She has a history of hitting and shouting at her children and I truly believe she is psychologically disturbed. She is the ex gf of my brother and she has been in the States. Because of rivalry between me and her, she wants to take the two children we have been taking care of for the past year. Can I stop her and how? She is a true danger, she has a history also of beating our maids and tantrums.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Air: Unfortunately, the mother of your brother’s children has sole parental authority over her children, since they are illegitimate. Perhaps the children’s father may ask for custody citing her neglect or abandonment. Between you and the children’s mother, the law is generally on the mother’s side. If there is an actual case of child abuse, you may contact the DSWD regarding the situation, but not take the law into your own hands and deprive the mother of custody.

  49. Richmond

    Hello attorney, I am Richmond, father of a 3yr old boy. Unmarried and is desperate to get sole custody of him. His mother has a 13yr old son and is currently living with us. We are in the process of separating. We just recently resigned from our jobs planning to go overseas being supported by my parents. Financially I can support the child because of our family business just in case we do not wish to continue our plans abroad. Also the boy is much closer to me than the mother. Is there any way i can get the child based on these facts?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Richmond: Unfortunately, if the child’s mother does not voluntarily hand over custody of her child to you, fighting it out in court may prove futile. The law is clear that illegitimate children are under the sole parental authority of the mother. You may obtain custody legally through adoption, but in no way without the mother’s consent. I hope this helps.

  50. Ana E

    Hello Atty,

    I’m asking in behalf of my brother in law who has 2 illegitimate children with his former live in partner. Both children took the surname of the father, thinking that would make them legitimate in the eyes of the law. Now, his former live in partner left the household and decided to turn over her children to us (along with the father) to raise.
    So my questions are:
    1. How does the father legitimize his 2 children (aged 3 and 6 months old?)
    2. What are the chances for the father to get sole custody of his children, given that the former live in partner will be sued for forgery, estafa and embezzlement?
    3. How would he protect himself, should the mother claim that the children were taken away from her?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ana: Your brother in law may consider filing a petition for adoption to address all the issues you mentioned. Adoption will elevate their status to that of legitimate children but will not make them legitimate. They will only have rights similar to legitimate children. The mother’s consent is necessary, though, for the petition for adoption to proceed. Assuming she provides her consent and an adoption decree is issued by the court, then your brother in law will have obtained legal custody by then.

  51. Sam

    Hi Atty.,

    Good day! I hope you could give me an advise regarding my situation stated below.

    I have a 8 year old daughter who stays with me.
    Her father and I were not married but he is acknowledged as a father in my daughter’s birth certificate. My daughter’s last name was after our family name.

    During the first year after I gave birth to my daughter, we were still together but we broke up after 2 years. My daughter then stayed with my parents and sometimes she stays with his father in the weekend. Then when she was 5 years old, she moved in with me here in Manila. That same year I got married to my bf and he’s the one supporting me and my daughter. But of course, I have work too so me and my husband have been supporting her. I have not received any financial support from the father.

    My daughter is now 8 years old and my husband who is in the United States will soon become an american citizen. He will soon file for a petition for me and my daughter. My question is, would there be any problem with the petition papers knowing that my child’s birth certificate was acknowledged by his father? Do we need an Authorization letter from the father?

    Thank you and God Bless.



    1. Atty. Post author

      Sam: I believe that I have sent a reply to this query directly via email– at any rate, here is my opinion. Many countries such as the US, require the petitioning parent to submit a court order, as proof of their right of custody, with more reason when the birth certificates indicate the father’s name and a paternity acknowledgment. Since our laws automatically place illegitimate children under the authority of their mothers, an alternative would be to ask the child’s father to execute a Joint Affidavit stating that he agrees to your continued sole custody and poses no objections to the child’s travel and migration abroad. Prepare as well: (1) affidavit of illegitimacy (2) lawyer’s certification as to the law on illegitimate child custody in the Philippines. I hope this helps.

  52. rose

    i have a bf who is unwed and has a daughter residing with us ( me & my BF) right now,the child used my bf’s surname.. the mother of her child is in abroad has new bf and only contacted her daughter once or twice a month, could it be possible that the custody of the child be with my bf? is there any possible way or instances where my bf can have the sole custody on her daughter??

    1. Atty. Post author

      Rose: Your boyfriend may file a petition for adoption to legally obtain sole custody. This will require the mother’s written consent and court proceedings. I hope this helps.

  53. Rissa M

    Dear Atty. Florido,
    My concern is for my husband who is an american citizen and has a daughter to a Filipina.
    I understand that the mother of an illegitimate child has the sole custody, what right does my husband have? He had been supporting her since the day she was born until now, visit her whenever he is in the Philippines but there was a time when the mother refuses to let him see his daughter, how can he deal with it? If the mother will take her out of the country, is there a way for him stop that? My husband wants to be part of her daughter’s life but how can he do it?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Rissa: If the child is illegitimate, the father’s right is limited to reasonable visitation. He will have to discuss a peaceful arrangement with the child’s mother because she has sole parental authority. If the child’s mother refuses to let the father visit his child, then the child’s father may have to go to court and file a petition for visitation. He can also ask the court to approve a visitation agreement which may include limits to the child’s travel such as seeking the father’s prior written consent, length of stay abroad, the father’s prior consent to migration abroad. This may be possible under a voluntary visitation agreement approved in court. I hope this helps.

  54. Jem

    Hi Attorney!

    I have 7 yr old daughter who lives with my husband’s parents. We are still married. We’ve been separated for almost 2 years now with no communication at all. He’s abroad right now. Before he left we had a verbal agreement that after i graduate my daughter will stay with me since he’s away. I am pretty confident that i can support my child right now.We have practically moved on with our lives,we are seeing other people.

    His parents are giving me a hard time seeing the child and would often refuse. I want to exercise my right as a parent. I want to see my daughter on a regular basis. If this continues i might even file for sole custody of the child.

    I want to have visitation rights. Will it be an issue if I am with someone else? or living with someone else? What other things will affect this request? What can our local barangay do about this?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jem: Between you and the child’s grandparents,you have the better right of custody over your child. I suggest that you ask the grandparents for a regular visitation schedule one last time and if they refuse to give you regular access to your child, then you may ask a lawyer to file a petition for sole custody although the live in arrangement you have may pose some problems because you are legally married. But you can still ask for visitation. If you live in the same city or municipality, your case against the grandparents may have to go through conciliation proceedings at the barangay first. But I suggest that you exhaust all opportunities to settle this out of court because it can unduly strain relations with your in-laws and possibly your legal spouse, whose cooperation you may need some day. I hope this helps.

  55. jazzy

    I am 20 years old a mother of 3 months old baby. wanna break up with the father of the baby because I cant take his attitude anymore. he cant control his anger and he hits me how many times already. thw guy is only 19 years old. his an african american and i am a filipina.Does he have right to take custody of the baby even if he doesnt have a job? and I dont have a job too. the guys mom doesnt have any job either. theyre just depending on his moms tax and the support from the us government. But my parents has a job. my dad earns like around $3000 every month. so has more right for the baby?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jazzy: I assume that you are living in the Philippines. Under our laws, the illegitimate child’s mother has sole parental authority. If you leave him, your child should stay with you. Moreover, mothers are usually given the preferential right of custody over children who are under 7 years of age. However, if you are living in the US, you may have to consult a lawyer there regarding your rights. I hope this helps.

  56. boom

    hi attorney, please help me in my situation. the dad of my baby and i were separated a year ago.

    and now, i think he wants to fight for the sole custody of my baby since my baby is living with me. i must admit that he’s giving enough for my baby. he buys her milk, her stuff and he even pays for the nanny of my baby. he earns a lot compare of what i am earning now.
    i gave him a visitation rights every weekends. he will borrow and fetch my baby from my place and will bring him back before the weekdays starts.

    however, we still fight once in a while. he will take videos of me every time we’re fighting. whenever i shout at him, i think he will use it against me, for me to look mentally incapacitated or insane.

    also, he and his family are nagging me about my new boyfriend being close to my daughter.
    can he use it against me? me having my boyfriend around and being close to my baby?

    is there any possibilities that he will win if ever he will fight for the sole custody of my baby.

    i have a job but i don’t earn as much as he does. i have lots of friends and sometimes, i go out with them. i used to have vices like drinking and smoking. but i already quit from those.
    can he still those against me?

    how can i fight him? i’m scared to loose my baby…. thanks.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Boom: If your child is illegitimate, then you should worry less about him legally obtaining custody. If you are married to the child’s father, then he may be building a case against you although it is going to be a difficult fight for the father since the law presumes that the mother is the best custodian of a child under 7 years of age. Just be more mindful of your reaction during quarrels, avoidance is best. Refrain from responding to negativity, particularly through text messages which can be stored and later retrieved. Avoid confrontations so as not to create a scene you may regret. Going out at night is not, of itself, a ground for depriving a mother of child custody. There must be a kind of behavior that constitutes neglect or abandonment. If you are single and carrying on a new relationship with someone, then you can also explain later (if charged with immorality) that your relationship is not illegal or immoral because you are not married and you do not display inappropriate behavior in the presence of your child. If you are married, then I suggest that you unwind your existing marriage first before carrying on a new relationship in public. I hope this helps.

  57. well roble


    hi Atty.

    good day to you.. I just need some advice of your’s . with Regards to our Daughter’s Custody.

    Me and my wife are no longer together for almost 6 years but we are not legally separated.
    i just want to know regarding the custody of my daughter she is 9 years old now. im working abroad and support her financially. My salary is not that much that sometimes i can not send her regularly. She is with her mother now and she told me she is not comfortable with the place they are living. Everytime I send enough money to her, my wife is always complaining to make it more. There are times in the middle of our arguments i told my wife if she can not provide the basic needs of my daughter it is better if she will give me the right to handle my daughter, but she don’t want. Like now, im on vacation for one month and me and my daughter are together during this time, and i buy for her all the school supplies, laptop, and everything she asked, but still she is complaining that what i gave to my daughter is not necessary what she need is CASH only.

    What i need to do atty. to have the full responsibility of my daughter in legal way (i want her to be with my family not in my wife’s)?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Well Roble: You’re lucky that your wife has not thought of filing a case for spousal and child support. Since you are still legally married, your wife is entitled to spousal support in addition to child support. Anyway, under the situation, a practical solution would be to ask your wife to draw up a list of regular monthly expenses, have a look and see which ones you can realistically provide on a monthly basis. Then, propose that you send a fixed amount based on the monthly expenses she has enumerated. That way, you don’t bicker about spending for your child’s needs. Regarding child custody, the biological parents, not the grandparents, have the right to exercise parental authority or custody over a minor child. Between your wife and your parents, a court may take the side of the child’s mother. I hope this helps.

  58. onay

    Dear Atty. What should I do? the woman from aliens office in germany told me, the affidavit of consent from my husband is not enough for my 14 and 16 yr old sons to get a visa for family reunion with me. Shes asking for my full custody filed in the court. It’s impossible to get it before the month ends. We already submitted all the documents they required accdg. to their list and now, a full custody? And I am in a hurry to get my sons especially the one turning 17 this month. And there’s no reason against the father for me to get the full custody. Does filing the full custody require me to go home to Phils.? looking forward to your help

    1. Atty. Post author

      Onay: Unfortunately, immigration authorities of other countries have a right to require additional documents to satisfy their requirement that the children are entering their country for legitimate reasons. In this case, although you may have submitted all their listed requirements, it is still up to the examining officer to decide on the issuance of the visa. If their instruction is to obtain a court order then you may have to return to the Philippines in order to file a petition for sole custody and attend the court hearings.

  59. ma. zaharah

    Good afternoon Atty, 1 have 3 kids, a 7, 2 and 4 months old. My current boyfriend fathered the last 2. We are not married but the kids are using his last name. In light of our separation, I want to get an idea of what my chances are to custody since he threatens to follow me til hell if i took the kids. I am employed in the private sector and so is he. We both came from broken families. Financially, he is more stable as he has a wealthy family. his mom is unemployed but he mentioned that she earns interests from stocks and they are financially backed up by a wealthy aunt from US. I only depend on my income as an employee. I have debts from friends that i am still trying to pay for. also when my second was born i did mention that i may have been going thru post partum depression although i didnt see a doctor so we dont have evidence to support that. would these present any chance of me losing custody? also would my relationship with my parents affect the case if ever?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ma. Zaharah: As mother of your illegitimate children, the Family Code gives you sole parental authority over them. If the children are acknowledged by their father, then he may have reasonable visitation rights (to see them on a regular schedule) and the children have the right to be supported by their father. If you are unable to provide sufficiently for all their needs, you may ask the child’s father for child support in a regular monthly amount. I hope this helps.

  60. isabhelle

    Hello Atty., i have 3 yrs.old daughter. since i 2010, we are not in good term. We had on and off relationship (he’s hurting me physically, emotionally ). We will break up then reconcile. We’re not married, but my daughter used his last name. Start of this year.. i finally decided to end what we have,. i admitted, i runaway,but after 2 weeks i went back to see my daughter.. im studying right now..i have a part time work to support my study,,, Last May, we had a fight while my daughter is in hospital, i almost hurt him physically because of the foul words, he’s using to me. he degrading me, to the point that he uses unacceptable words… rather than to make things worse, i went out,, and go back to my tita’s house (where im staying now). Since then he didn’t allow me to see my daughter. i know i cannot support her right now.. and her dad have all the means to raise her. I want to finish my study and have a stable job and i want to get her back. but im miserably miss my daughter. but i dont know what to do. i dont have my parents,im just living with my relatives, i miss her so much… 😦

    1. Atty. Post author

      Isabhelle: You may approach the PAO office nearest you for legal assistance to obtain sole custody over your child and even ask for child support.

  61. bam

    hi atty, what’s the proper remedy when there’s already a ruling that the husband was psychologically incapacitated under art.36 but no custody order? The thing is, it is required for permanent residency abroad and they need proof of custody of the minors, Do I have to file a petition for sole custody or is there a more adequate remedy?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Bam: You may refer back to the lawyer who handled the nullity case to check if there really is no statement in the final judgment of the court regarding child custody and if none, to explore options such as filing a petition for sole custody.

      1. bam

        thanks atty, will do that, thanks!

  62. cha-cha

    Good Day Attorney, I am a single mother of an 8 yr old child. After i gave birth he never supported our child. My ex only supported him once when our child was 6 years old. How and what are the steps that i am going to do inorder for him to support our child?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Cha-cha: If the child’s father acknowledged paternity on the child’s birth certificate, then you may ask a lawyer to send the child’s father a demand letter asking for a fixed monthly amount. If he fails to provide despite receiving your demand letter, then your lawyer may file a petition for support against him in court and all other court remedies to help you obtain support. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may go to the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) nearest your place of residence and see if you qualify for free legal assistance. I hope this helps.

  63. Lou

    Hi Atty,
    My annulment has been approved and I want to bring my daughter with me permanently to Australia. My Daughter is 11 years old. I went to a a lawyer 2 years ago to get an abandoment cert. from a lawyer. Can I bring my daughter with me permanently to Australia without his father consent since we are already annulled? If not, how long does the custody be granted to me and is my ex husband consent is the fastest way f can have his consent?

    1. Atty. Post author

      I suggest that you call the lawyer who represented you in your annulment/nullity case and ask them to review the court order or judgment for any statement regarding custody. The judge will ordinarily include a statement about child custody in the nullity decree. If there is no mention of child custody, then I suggest that you file a petition for sole custody in order to obtain a court order in your favor. Most immigration authorities now require a court order as proof of the mother’s right of custody, not just the father’s written consent, although it is prudent to inquire now at the Australian embassy about their specific requirements for obtaining a visa for your child. A custody case may take some months to complete so I suggest that you take concrete steps at the earliest opportunity to avoid delays in the processing of your child’s visa. If you can get his written consent, it may help, but you will still have to ask the Australian immigration office if that is sufficient for their requirements. Every case is different and the immigration authorities have the final word on approvals.

  64. ivory

    hello..kindly help me please…scenario: I am a 26 y/o mother of 7year old child.his father and i were just only living in the philippines before i went to work abroad. i am here now in kuwait for almost 15months.but problems came to our relationship and he’s asking for separation.but i know its useless because i know it from the start that im not his wife.i cannot make drsicion right now because he said once i will say yes he will get my son and i will not see him anymore.we have separate home nearby my parent’s house.i know that i have all the rights because im here mother but he is insisting that he has right alsi because the surname of my child is his.and he said that im not there aound him so its useless to fight for these my parents have the right to take my son’s custody if i let them to take my child? orif ever he will iment his plan can i charge him kidnapping or any criminal case?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Ivory: You have sole parental authority over your child. I suggest that you return to the Philippines to attend to your child’s situation, making sure that you are able to regain custody over your child and leave him with your parents. If he refuses to turn over your child, your lawyer may file a petition for child custody and other provisional remedies for him to produce your child in court.

  65. Kaye

    Hi, im canada rignt now and i have a 2 year old son with me. We left the philippines when he was a year old. He was born here. I came back here from the philippines when i was only few months pregnant. My son was born here. We went back to the philippines when my son was only few months old. Apparently he cheated on me and married the girl he cheated on me with. He also has another child before me. Now his wife is pregnant. My son ang i are back here in canada. Is there a chance i can file a child support from that a year and half he left us? Can i demand for child support?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Kaye: You may file a case for child support against the child’s father if he acknowledged paternity on the child’s birth certificate. You will have to go back to the Philippines to attend to the child support case. Child support is legally due starting from the time that a demand letter is received by the child’s father. I suggest that you have a lawyer send the child’s father a demand letter for support first before filing a case in court. If the child’s father provides for support according to the amount in the demand letter, then you need not file a case in court. If the child’s father fails to provide support even after receiving the demand letter, then you may file the case in court and ask for support to be computed from the time that he received the demand letter. Any unpaid support before the demand letter was sent may not be ordered paid by the court.

  66. Jay

    Good day! Atty. I have a 3 mos. old child with my girlfriend and we’re not married yet. Our son is currently staying with his mom. We are both unemployed for the time being but I still shoulder all the expenses from hospital bills, baptismal expenses, vaccination, up to my son’s basic needs and ensure everything are responsibly provided. The problem is her parents refuses to get us married until we have our own house. At the same time, they insist to have my son stay at their home with my son’s mom. Another problem is my girlfriend’s parents require her to help with their family business that leaves my son at times alone at their home.
    I would like to seek some advice how I can have my son under my custody if things get even worse. Thank you and hoping for your favorable advice.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jay: If you are not married to the child’s mother, the only way to obtain legal custody is to adopt the child; otherwise, your right is limited to reasonable visitation. It’s best to discuss a regular schedule for seeing the child and then work your way up to longer visitation hours and even sleepovers rather than fight it out in court which can be a long and expensive battle.

  67. Jay

    Atty. isn’t it possible even the child carries my last name?

    1. Atty. Post author

      Jay: Illegitimate children are allowed to use the surnames of their fathers, but the law is still the same–illegitimate children are under the sole parental authority of their mothers. Using the father’s surname does not make the child legitimate.

  68. Christian C

    Hi Atty,
    Good day. My wife and I have been separated for almost six months now and my child lives with her in her parents house. My son is almost 3 years old. Ever since my son lived with my in-laws he’s been sickly. i that time he’s been hospitalized at least 3 times. I believe its in the environment that he’s in causing this. My in-laws have habits that are not good for kids, they smoke inside the house and sometimes my in-laws drinking buddies also visits. I know this because i i bring my kid home for a few hours everyday after i get off from work. Sometimes i would come unannounced and would catch them smoking inside the house. They would put it out immediately because they know that i would ask them to stop smoking inside the house specially when the children are inside. My wife also works and have almost no time to look after our child and leaves the caring for my son to her mother or siblings. I am not comfortable about whats happening because i feel that he is being neglected. He got sick again recently, I brought him to the doctor and i was advised that we use a nebulizer for 7 days to flush out the phlegm that build up in his lungs. for half of that time, my son stayed with me and my parents. I took leave from work so I can care for him. I had to give him back to his mom because she asked for him. He got well afterwards but after 2-3 weeks, he’s been coughing again. I took him again and told them that my son will stay with me while we are treating him. My mother in-law got mad because she thinks that I’m blaming them because every time my son gets sick he stays with me. She keeps bringing up the law about children under 7 should be in the custody of the mother. I believe that my son would be in better care with me and my parents because we can give him a good environment, good nutrition, healthcare and attention. Please advice me on what i should do. Thank you and God bless.


    1. Atty. Post author

      Chris: Ordinarily, I would suggest that you first try to talk things out with the other party before resorting to court action which can be long, drawn out, expensive and emotionally draining for everyone. There are things you can do to minimise the health risks that you thing may be causing your son’s ailment. One is to negotiate for shared times so that your child spends half the week with you and the rest of the time with her. Second, you can also ask the child’s mother to accompany you when you have the child checked by the pediatrician and ask the pediatrician to explain what could be causing the child’s chronic sickness. Let the doctor make suggestions for the improvement of the child’s health. It is also possible that if the separation is recent, your child may be suffering from emotional stress which can contribute to a weakened immune system. If you truly believe that it would serve your child’s best interest to live with you, then you may have to consult a family lawyer who can examine all the details of your situation and take the appropriate legal action. Understand that the law prefers the child to remain in the mother’s custody so you may have to prove that she is unfit. I hope this helps.

  69. elias

    I am married in a Catholic Church now for two years and a daughter of two years old now. My wife and i used to quarrel eversince, the truth is i marry her beacause of the child. Whenever we have a fight , she will always threaten me that she will leave and bring the child. I love my daughter so much and never wanted to even separate from her. How could i have the custody for my child even alone. I am working hard for my family eversince, i even requested my wife to stop working to focus on taking care of our child. Financially her family have the means but im afraid on the values that my daughter will get from them.

    1. Atty. Post author

      Elias: Children below 7 years old are generally placed under the custody of their mothers. You’ll have to prove that there is a compelling reason for the mother to be deprived of custody. Differences in values may not be sufficient. I suggest that you present the actual scenario and details to a lawyer who can properly assess whether there exists a compelling reason for the mother to be deprived of child custody.

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