What if Parents Disagree about Dietary Restrictions?

Divorced parents have to make many decisions on how to co-parent with their former spouse.  A child’s education, extracurricular activities and even vacation time are common issues that divorced parents contemplate. But have you ever considered that your child’s diet might become an issue?

Can an agreement be reached?

The best outcome would be to discuss the child’s diet and come to an agreement without adding a specific provision in the parenting plan. Working together on this “small” issue can help rebuild trust, and successfully communicating and compromising with each other is important for children.  

What if my religious dietary needs don’t match with my ex-spouse?

Unless there is harm to the child, courts may consider a parent’s religious practices and accompanying dietary restrictions in making a determination on what is in the child’s best interests. If one parent wishes that a child keeps to certain religious dietary restrictions, the best thing for parents to do is have a discussion. Open discussions with your ex-spouse are the best way to solve this issue. If you are unable to reach an agreement, a court will likely order parents to attend mediation and work with a mediator to discuss these issues prior to litigation.

Should a dietary provision be added to the parenting plan?

If the child’s diet is of importance to the parents, and they want to ensure the child adheres to a specific diet when with their other parent, incorporate a diet provision into the joint parenting plan. This guarantees that both parents will follow the agreed-upon diet for their child.

Should a pediatrician be involved?

If the child has certain health issues or their diet has been an issue in the past, making an appointment with the child’s pediatrician could help create a concrete diet plan.  Meeting with a pediatrician will also help the parents understand the need to adhere to the diet plan for the well-being of the child.

Kogut & Wilson can help you make the right decisions for your family. Call us for a copy of our guide I’m Thinking About Divorce. What are my Options? Or schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. 


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