A father in Canada officially lost custody of his kids last Wednesday, and the “big” reason was his obesity.
The unnamed 38 year old father from Ottawa lost custody of his 5 and 6 year old special needs kids for – among other factors – being 360 pounds. The Royal Ottawa Hospital’s family court ruled that the father’s weight was, according to CANOE, the “key factor,” though his past marijuana use and violent outbursts were also considered.
According to the Superior Court Justice, the father’s “weight loss regime is itself a full-time job. So is parenting two high-needs children. One will inevitably have to give ground to the other.”
The man (who isn’t named due to Canada’s Child and Family Services Act) had attended anger management because of his mutually-violent relationship with his ex-wife. According to the man, the ex-wife was the aggressor in the relationship. Still, last year, the two sons were put in foster care when the ex-wife was hospitalized for a mental breakdown and a suspected overdose.
In the meantime, the man hasn’t seen his kids in over a year, which he claims was the product of discrimination. In 2010, Children’s Aid Society was called on the mother when the younger of the children – then aged 2 – was seen running along the street at 7:3oam in only a diaper. One month before this incident, the mother’s home had caught fire. The father had shown up for a visit with the kids when he saw his ex-wife running out, leaving the man to go retrieve his children from the burning house.
The father had reported his ex-wife to CAS, but was not awarded custody. Instead, the kids were returned to the ex-wife, only then to be put into foster care later.
The judge last Wednesday, noted that the man has never, to anyone’s knowledge, hurt his children. He was even described as “loving” and “intelligent.” His home was deemed as “suitable.” And in the time that the father had been without his kids, he’d lost 150lbs.
About the father’s weight loss, the judge said (in part), “His weight loss depends on an intensive daily exercise program. Parenting responsibilities will likely make it much more difficult for him to maintain his exercise schedule. He would be a single parent to two high-needs children in circumstances where a skilled, two-parent family would be challenged to cope.” (You can read more of the statement in the Via below)
A doctor was brought in to assess the dad and concluded that the man was winded by even short distance walking around the clinic and wouldn’t be able to keep up with kids.
The father told the Ottawa Citizen, “I was never too fat to be a dad.”
On Friday, the father staged a hunger strike on Parliament Hill, wearing a t-shirt that said “Did someone say buffet?” He brought along the La-Z-Boy chair he used to sit in while rocking his kids to sleep at night.
Did the court get it right? Is there a “too fat to father” limit? Do you think the media has latched onto the weight issue, but more weight was put on other factors in court? Let us know in the comments.