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Visitation rights at risk after denying son a McDonald's dinner

For many, juggling divorce issues is not an easy feat. There are times when stress causes anxiety to an ex-spouse, which can result in his or her behaving negatively. Divorced parents in St. Charles, Missouri, may find it interesting that after refusing to take his child to dinner at a McDonald's fast food restaurant, a man is at risk of losing his child custody and visitation rights.

The man filed a defamation lawsuit against a court-appointed psychologist after she allegedly reported the fast food incident and urged a judge to limit or eliminate his parental visitation rights to his 5-year-old son. The man is entitled to have dinner every Tuesday and alternate weekends with the child and, on one of their dinner dates, he allegedly let the child choose whether to have dinner anywhere but at McDonald's or not to have dinner at all.

The child, who was having a tantrum at the time, chose not to have dinner. The man stated that he is not a very strict parent but refused to have dinner at the fast food restaurant because his son has been eating too much junk food recently.

Because the child refused to have dinner, he and his son went back to his estranged wife's residence. They waited for her to return from work while he enticed the boy to change his mind.

The man and his ex-wife were divorced a while ago but they have been battling for over two years. The court appointed the psychologist to evaluate the ex-spouses and their child.

The case, which was filed by the divorced father against the psychologist, is not uncommon. In some cases, the court sides with and gives protection to the evaluators. The recommendation of the psychologist is important when establishing the fitness of a parent to have custody or visit the child. However, it may be a good idea if a divorced parent can speak with a family law professional to ensure that his or her parental rights are protected.

Source: The Denver Post, "Suit: NY dad criticized for denying son McDonald's," Jennifer Peltz, Nov. 8, 2013

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