As America's waistline expands, so may the role of obesity in custody battles. Family law practitioners report an increase in allegations of poor nutrition and obesity in their children at the hands of their ex- or soon-to-be ex-spouse, in an attempt to sway judges to award custody to the more responsible spouse.
Children and teen obesity is on the rise, with approximately 17 percent, or roughly 12.5 million kids considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Childhood obesity has become the focus of national media attention as well as the subject of governmental agency investigation. A 14-year-old boy was moved to foster care when he tipped the scales at 555 pounds and his mother charged with criminal neglect. South Carolina Social Services deemed the boy to be at risk of serious harm. While this is an extreme case, it is a glaring example of how bad things could get if there is no intervention.
Whether the child is tipping the scales at an unhealthy weight, or a parent learns that fast food and soda are regular meal staples at the other parents’ home, or even if there are allegations that the other parent is so obese they cannot properly carry out childcare duties; the basic issue for the court to decide in making child custody determinations is what is in the best interest of the child?
To aid judges in their custody determinations many states have new, specific criteria for evaluating the nutritional and physical health of the child. One parent simply being more conscious of nutrition and exercise choices than the other most likely isn't going to affect custody, unless the problem becomes severe and threatens and endangers the child. For the benefit of the child’s over all well-being, it is advised that parents try to agree upon a plan of action to improve the child’s nutritional choices and activity rather than use it as ammunition in a contentious custody battle.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Sacramento Family Law Attorneys Hal Bartholomew & Diane Wasznicky can help you navigate your divorce and child custody issues with respect and compassion. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 455-5200 or email us at info@DivorceWithRespect.com