Child custody can often be a contentious issue in a divorce. There are a variety of factors that go into child custody decisions made in Texas but the most important factor remains the best interests of the child. Recently, a handful of custody cases have prompted overweight parents to ask if their weight plays a part in custody decisions.
One particular case involves a 360-pound man who is fighting for custody of his children, aged 5 and 6. The kids were taken from the man’s ex-wife’s house last year when she required hospitalization for a mental breakdown and treatment for a suspected overdose. The boys are now in foster care and their father hasn’t seen them in more than a year.
A court-ordered assessment was conducted to determine if the man is fit to care for his children. He is now waiting to find out the verdict. According to a report, a doctor at the family court clinic voiced concern that the man’s obesity would keep him from caring for his sons saying that he has, “struggled with obesity for years, which impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including his functioning as a parent. He was short of breath or winded in simply walking short distances about the clinic and he lacks both the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young and active children.”
The man is down 150 pounds from the 525 pounds he weighed when the ordeal began. He is working to lose more but says the stress of not being with his kids makes it difficult. As he waits to find out if he will be able to see his kids, other parents are waiting, too. If obesity becomes a factor in custody, many others will be affected.
Source: CTV News, “Dad says he’s losing custody battle because he’s obese,” June 21, 2012