Should childhood obesity play a role in custody battles?
As the rate of obesity among children in the U.S. hovers around 17 per cent, weight and nutrition are increasingly becoming key factors in American custody battles. (iStock)
Cunning divorce lawyers have a whole new weapon in their arsenal: obesity.
As the rate of obesity among children in the U.S. hovers around 17 per cent, weight and nutrition are increasingly becoming key factors in American custody battles, the Washington Post reports.
In past, custody decisions were primarily determined by a child's mental and emotional well-being. But as obesity rates increase in the U.S., sparring spouses are more likely to use a child's expanding waistline as evidence of poor or neglectful parenting.
"It's come up quite a bit in the last couple of years," Douglas Gardner, a family-law practitioner in Arizona, told the Washington Post. "Typically, one parent is accusing the other of putting a child at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease - or saying that the child is miserable because he's getting made fun of at school."
Obesity has played a part in the outcome of some recent custody disputes, including a Portland, Ore., case where custody was switched after a judge learned that an overweight child's was being fed three unhealthy fast food meals per day. The unhealthy diet, along with a lack of vaccinations and medical care, helped prove the child's custodial parent was providing inadequate care.
Should childhood obesity play a role in custody battles? Can a child's eating or exercise habits be accurately pinned on one parent rather than both? Share your comments below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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