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Spouses Use Obese Kids in Custody Fights

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 10, 2011 5:43 AM

Obesity and custody. Custody and obesity. They don't seem to go hand in hand, but according to the Wall Street Journal, they do.

Spouses caught in child custody battles are increasingly using diet and weight to show that one parent is unfit to be the primary caregiver. They point to processed fast food and a lack of physical activity as reasons to be concerned.

There's no doubt that obesity leads to health problems, but should it factor into the court's decision?

Some people believe it should, as child custody has always been about the child's best interests. Traditionally, this has included an evaluation of the child's emotional well-being. Obese children are often teased and bullied. Parents want to avoid the emotional distress caused by such incidents, reports the Journal.

Ex-spouses who use obesity in custody fights also focus on the looming health issues. Parents argue that a child's overall health is essential to his well-being. Access to a healthy diet and exercise should thus be a major factor when granting custody.

If you think the arguments end here, they don't. Parents are also pointing the habits of the other parent. Is a parent so overweight that he can't run after a child or play in the park? Are his eating and exercise habits a bad influence on otherwise healthy children?

Regardless of whether you agree with the above arguments, bringing up obesity in a custody dispute is slowly becoming the norm. The obesity rate amongst children and teens has reached 17%, making it a national epidemic. Sparring parents are going to use the public concern to their advantage.

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