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Legal Information: Puerto Rico


December 13, 2019

How will a judge make a decision about custody and patria potestad (legal custody)?

The judge will make a decision regarding physical and legal custody based on what s/he believes is in the best interest of the child. The judge will consider any factor that s/he considers important to make a decision.

The judge can consider factors such as the following:

  • The mental health of both parents and that of the child;
  • The level of responsibility or moral integrity of each parent, including if there has been a history of domestic violence;
  • The specific needs of the child;
  • The child’s preference as to custody;
  • The sex, age, mental and physical health of the child;
  • The care/love that the parents can provide and their psychological health;
  • The parents’ ability to fulfill the child’s emotional, moral, and financial needs;
  • The adaptation of the child to his/her home, school and community; and
  • The child’s ability to have a relationship with the parents, siblings, and other family members.1

It is up to the judge whether or not to listen to testimony from the child when deciding physical and legal custody.2

1 32 L.P.R.A. sec. 3185
231 L.P.R.A. § 383