Paul and I were married in February 2016. After the marriage, Paul displayed his true character. He beats me every time he is drunk and he is having an extra-marital affair with another woman who is allegedly married. I’m already fed up, so I filed a complaint against him for violation of Republic Act 9262. During one of our confrontations, he asked me to give him the custody of our four-year-old son, since he has the resources to send him to any school while I am jobless and still looking for work. He said the best interest of our child will be served if he will have custody of our son. Should my abusive husband have the custody of my child?
The custody of your four-year-old child should be awarded to you, not to his father, because of the following legal basis:
Article 213 of the Family Code of the Philippines states:
“Xxx xxx xxx
“No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise;” and,
2. Section 28 of Republic Act 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), which provides:
“The woman victim of violence shall be entitled to the custody and support of her child/children. Children below seven (7) years old or older but with mental or physical disabilities shall automatically be given to the mother, with right to support, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.
“A victim who is suffering from battered woman syndrome shall not be disqualified from having custody of her children. In no case shall custody of minor children be given to the perpetrator of a woman who is suffering from battered woman syndrome.”
Applying the above-enumerated provisions of law to your situation, it is clear that your abusive husband will not be awarded the custody of your four-year-old son. The fact that he has the resources to send your child to any school is of no moment considering that the law itself will not allow the awarding of the custody of the child to the perpetrator of violence. But even if your abusive husband will not have custody of your minor child, he is obliged to give support to the boy.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org