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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Should a court withhold custody based on a parent’s weight?

If you were fighting for custody of your children, it goes without saying that you would do pretty much anything in order to get your kids. But what if the court’s decision to withhold custody was based on something that was at least partially out of your control?

That is what one parent is claiming after family court officials have repeatedly refused to grant him custody of his two sons. According to the father, the court decided to withhold child custody based on his weight. And although the father acknowledges that he is obese, he also points toward his 150-pound weight loss as evidence that he wants – and deserves – to have custody of his children.

His sons, ages 5 and 6, were reportedly taken into state custody last year when the father’s ex-wife was hospitalized for an overdose and mental ailments. Since that time, the boys have been living in foster care, and their father has been working to get them into his custody. However, he is currently locked into a custody battle with the local child services agency, which has the duty of conducting assessments of parents to determine whether they are fit to take custody of their children.

In a previous assessment, a clinic doctor reported to the family court that the father was unfit to take care of his children because of his weight. His obesity, the doctor said, “impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including his functioning as a parent. He lacks both the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young and active children.”

Following that assessment, the father started working to bring his weight down. He has reportedly lost 150 pounds and intends to lose more, which he hopes will impact the results of his most current assessment.

What do you think? Should the father’s weight play into the court’s custody decision?

Source: CTV, “Dad says he’s losing custody battle because he’s obese,” June 20, 2012