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Is dad's weight tipping scales in child custody decision?

Should obesity be a factor in child custody decisions? One 360-pound father believes that he is losing his custody battle because of his weight.

Paintings made by his two sons, who are 5 and 6 years old, line his walls, but he has not been allowed to see his sons in more than a year. They have been living in foster care since authorities took them from his ex-wife's home last year when she was hospitalized for a mental breakdown and a suspected overdose.

In child custody cases, family courts strive to act in the best interests of the children. A doctor told the court that the father's obesity "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 father, however, says that his weight would not affect his parenting abilities. He's already lost about 150 pounds, down from a peak of 520 pounds.

There may be more to this case than the obesity question. The father acknowledged that he's been in trouble with the law in the past for fighting and making death threats.

Officials can't comment on the details of this case but released a statement saying, "Every case is unique. Mental and physical issues are examined as well as any special needs of the children." What isn't unique in child custody cases is the primary goal of getting children in a living situation that best serves their interests.

Source: CTV News, "Dad says he's losing custody battle because he's obese," June 20, 2012

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