Participation in Beauty Pageants Factor in Custody Dispute

When couples with children divorce, there is often some dispute regarding child custody. In recent years several less traditional factors have been taken into account by family law judges when determining custody matters. A parent's smoking habits and weight have both recently been used as negative factors that may impact child custody. Now it appears the hobbies of some mothers and their daughters may also be a custody issue.

In recent years, The Learning Channel's famed television reality show Toddlers & Tiaras has been the topic of much debate. The show follows mothers and their toddler children as they compete in beauty pageants. Many of the mothers depicted on the show have come under fire for what many believe to be the promotion and overt sexualization of their young children.

One divorced mother, who appears on the show with her six-year-old child, is currently in the midst of a bitter child custody dispute. Appealing to the family law judge presiding over the custody dispute, the child's father has raised concerns about his daughter's participation in child beauty pageants.

The child's mother has been vocal and consistently appealed to the media to dilute concerns related to her parenting skills. As media attention in the case mounted, the judge recently administered a gag order and ejected all media outlets from the courtroom.

Those opposed to child pageants contend they can have a long-lasting negative impact on a child's psyche. They believe the costumes, makeup and often overly-sexualized dance routines seek to objectify and sexualize young children. However, mothers who chose to have their daughters participate in these pageants believe those opposed to pageants are making an issue out of nothing and that the pageants are only a fun hobby.

The judge in the custody battle over the six-year-old Toddlers & Tiara star is expected to announce his custody decision on Aug. 31.

Source: Fox News, "Toddlers & Tiaras' moms worried child beauty pageants can be used against then in custody cases," Meaghan Murphy, Aug. 24, 2012

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