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Obesity will I lose my child in custody?

Studies indicate obesity can contribute to functional limitations which may decrease an individual’s quality of life and make it more difficult for some people to do the things they want to do. Obesity may also increase your risks of other conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure and diabetes. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I am in the process of getting a divorce but the stress over the last several years has really taken a toll. I have gained about 150 pounds, and I am considered very obese. Will my inability to walk and do other tasks limit my right to custody of my children who are currently three and five years old?”

Obesity, diabetes and child custody after divorce

Rearing children can be difficult, but doing it alone after divorce and with a severe disability can be even more challenging. Research does suggest that those with disabilities may face a certain amount of discrimination within the court system, despite attempts to fight them. The good news is the Constitution protects the fundamental right to parent without interference from the state. Additionally, courts have generally found that a person’s ability to engage in physical interaction with their child is only one of many functions a parent should perform. Parenting also involves “the ethical, emotional, and intellectual guidance the parent gives to the child throughout his formative years, and often beyond.” What the courts have ruled, however, and what is actually carried out in custody battles across the nation is not always the same. In fact, assuming two parents cannot make their own custody plan, the courts with the guidance of the laws and regulations of the state will determine who will have custody. Right now most state laws allow the courts to make child custody decisions based on what they consider in the “best interest of the child,” but opponents of this process argue the factors considered by the courts may be too vague to really determine which parent is more able to care for the child’s physical, emotional, intellectual and basic health and safety needs.

What about my obesity and diabetes?

So will the courts consider your obesity and diabetes when they make their child custody decision? They could. In fact, the courts generally will consider any health issues which could lead to deteriorating health or premature death, as well as each parent’s physical and mental fitness. With this in mind, it’s important to provide evidence to the court that your obesity and diabetes will not eliminate your ability to parent. For some individuals this will mean getting an unbiased assessment or providing medical information from your health care providers. You may also have to hire someone that can assist you with activities that you cannot perform. The goal is to prove that you are able, despite your health limitations, to meet the physical, emotional, intellectual and basic health and safety needs of your child. Your case will also be bolstered if you have provided primary care for the child prior to the divorce without any difficulty. Bottom Line: If you have debilitating health conditions such as obesity and diabetes you may need to legal counsel to help you provide evidence to the court that your conditions do not limit your ability to parent. Recent blogs: Spousal abuse how does it affect my divorce?