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Making The Complex Understandable

McDonald's may cost father custody

Tennessee residents are keeping a close eye on a custody case in the Northeast. The decision in that case could affect them by setting a precedent for child custody cases nationwide.

Since time immemorial, most parents have insisted that their children eat a healthy dinner and have provided it for them. The refrain of letting children know that they should avoid unhealthy food isn't anything new. In the modern world, that often involves parents steering their children around the temptations of omnipresent fast food places.

This age-old scene was repeated in a Northeast community recently. A father whose four-year-old son was in his care was looking for a place they could get dinner together on a Tuesday evening. The father expressed that he was open to any number of healthy options, but the preschool-age son insisted on McDonald's.

The father, a former attorney now working as a consultant, resisted giving in to the tiny tyke's demand for junk food. Instead, he reiterated the offer to provide his son a healthy dinner instead.

His son, with the forgivable though characteristic stubbornness of his age group, proclaimed that it must be McDonald's or nothing at all. The end result was that they skipped getting dinner that evening.

When the son noted this to the mother, she immediately contacted a highly-paid psychiatrist. That psychiatrist then told a judge in the divorced couple's custody case that the father's time with his son should be eliminated or significantly reduced, saying she was concerned "about the viability" of the father-son relationship.

The couple's custody trial is set to resume in December. In the meantime, the father has filed a suit against the psychiatrist. He is seeking a return of the $2,750 she was paid to weigh in on the case, and he clearly feels that he shouldn't lose time with his son over a missed Happy Meal.

Custody cases involve many different issues which can be hard to settle privately if there is acrimony between the parents. For that reason, it is advisable for parents wanting to protect and expand their time with their children to consider the advice of a family law attorney who can provide them with options that might otherwise have been unknown.

Yahoo Shine, "How Saying No to McDonald's Might Lead to Dad Losing Custody" Beth Greenfield, Nov. 08, 2013

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