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My Ex Only Feeds Our Kids Junk Food. Can I Do Something to Stop It?

Posted on in Divorce

Novi child custody lawyerMany Michigan couples get divorced because they have a significant difference in their parenting styles. These differences may not become apparent until a couple has been married for many years and already shares several children, and while these differences can be significant enough to trigger a divorce, getting divorced does not make them go away. Divorced parents must continue to co-parent as effectively as they can while navigating parenting styles that are often not only different but mutually incompatible. 

One way that these differences can manifest is through a parent’s levels of discipline or permissiveness. Some parents insist that their children eat well, exercise, and limit screen time. Other parents are very lax about some or all of these areas. While there is no magic formula to determine exactly how much junk food a kid can eat, there is no question that a regular diet of sugar and fast food can negatively impact a child’s development. This begs the question - if you are sharing custody of your child in Michigan, and your ex only feeds your child junk food, can you do anything about it? 

How Does Shared Custody Work? 

Joint legal custody is when both parents are responsible for making important decisions on behalf of the child. This includes the child’s healthcare and general welfare and parents who share legal custody need to consult with each other before making non-routine decisions. Physical custody, or parenting time, is the time that a child spends with each parent. Decisions about legal and physical custody are made according to the parents’ agreement and the best interests of the child.

Per the Michigan Child Custody Act of 1970, one of the factors that courts use to determine the best interests of the child is the capacity and disposition of the parents to give the child food, clothing, medical care, and more. If one parent is clearly incapable or unwilling to provide the child with their basic needs, this can have an impact on custody arrangements. 

However, a parent feeding their child too much junk food is unlikely to impact a custody arrangement, no matter how frustrating it may be to the other parent. Parents do have different styles and the best option in some situations may be to try to non-judgmentally educate your child on the benefits of making healthy choices, even when it is hard. But if feeding a child an unrelenting stream of junk food is tied to a broader pattern of hands-off parenting to the point that the child’s welfare may be called into question, that could present grounds for a modification to the parenting plan. 

Talk to a Farmington Hills Child Custody Attorney

Differences in parenting styles can be frustrating for you and your ex, but more importantly, they can prevent a child from experiencing a comforting sense of continuity and predictability as they transition between households. If you are worried about co-parenting effectively and want to find out about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with a Farmington Hills child custody lawyer with Elkouri Heath, PLC. Call us now at 248-344-9700





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