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Is a parent unfit for avoiding McDonalds?

Posted on November 11, 2013 in the Child Custody category.

When custody and parenting time are contested between divorcing parents, the lengths to which parents may go to gain an advantage (or justify their version of how the judge should rule) may be surprising. The story of a father being accused of being an unfit parent fits into this category.

According to a recent report, a father is being branded as an unfit parent for refusing to bow to the demands of his son. He reportedly offered his five-year-old son a choice for dinner…anywhere but McDonalds, or no dinner at all.

The boy chose not to have dinner with his father.

With that, he took the boy back to his mother’s house. A court-ordered psychologist assigned to perform a custody evaluation allegedly recommended to the court that the father was unfit to parent the child based on this event. The father has since filed a defamation lawsuit against the psychologist.

Because the psychologist’s report is not public, a number of additional details have not been released that led to her conclusion. Nevertheless, we find this story compelling because it exemplifies how incidents that may seem benign can be magnified during the course of custody proceedings.

As such, it is important to meet with and be counseled by an experienced family law attorney to cover how potential missteps could be used to gain an advantage. Also, a lawyer can help prepare you so you do not fall into the traps that can negatively affect how you are viewed by an evaluator.

Source:, “Dad branded unfit parent for refusing to take son to McDonalds,” Jennifer Peltz, November 8, 2013