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Fast food battle goes to court

Connecticut readers may be interested in a New York story about a father and son were heading out for their weekly dinner together. The boy's father refused to buy him McDonald's because he felt his son had been eating too much junk food. The toddler began throwing a tantrum, so the father, who happens to be in the middle of a contentious divorce, offered the child a choice that's landed him in hot water regarding his custody and visitation rights.

The father offered to take his son anywhere besides McDonald's and when the child refused, the father offered him the alternative of no dinner at all. The stubborn toddler chose the latter option, so the father took him back to the mother's home and waited in the building lobby for her to return from work. The father says he spent this time trying to convince the child to change his mind.

A court-assigned psychologist was informed of the incident by the mother, and subsequently told the judge presiding over the divorce case that it indicated that the father is not a capable parent and that his visitation rights should be reduced or eliminated. In response, the father has filed a defamation lawsuit against the psychologist. This raises an interesting question of whether expert opinion testimony can be the subject of such actions.

Custody and visitation matters are often the most difficult issues to resolve during divorce proceedings. Couples who are able to reach an accord on property division and spousal support often find it impossible to come to an agreement regarding this topic and end up having it decided by the court.

Source: ABC News, "Suit: NY Dad Criticized for Denying Son McDonald's", Jennifer Peltz, November 08, 2013

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