When deciding on the custody of a minor, the courts take into account the particular financial, social, and moral circumstances of each parent. In case the court determines that neither parent is fit to take care of the child, custody may be awarded to a surviving grandparent, eldest brother or sister, the child’s actual custodian, or any other person deemed suitable by the court.
The general rule: A child under seven years of age shall not be separated from his mother unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise, such as neglect, abandonment, unemployment and immorality, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction, maltreatment of the child, insanity, and affliction with a communicable illness.
When a child is over seven years old, he may state his preference. But this may be disregarded when the court determines that the chosen parent is unfit or incapable of caring for the child. Ultimately, the grant of custody over a child may always be modified depending on the circumstances. And the primary consideration shall always be the best interest of the child.