Zuba & Associates, P.C.

Illinois child custody: Mother in heated battle over pageants

Even after an Illinois divorce is over, child custody battles can still result. A mother accused of sexualizing her daughter is embroiled in a custody fight over her decision to allow her daughter to compete in the pageant circuit. The woman garnered nationwide attention when she allowed her daughter to dress up as Dolly Parton; as a result, the little girl's father is now requesting full child custody.

The woman maintains she has not done anything wrong and claims her ex-husband is being influenced by other parties to seek custody. The little girl's father has seen his own share of controversy and has a lengthy criminal history with drug and alcohol arrests. However, in spite of the father's history, a psychologist has recommended that child custody be awarded to the man.

In a recommendation to the court, the psychologist condemns the girl's participation in pageants, suggesting that the mother could be harming her daughter by allowing her to be sexualized in such a manner. However, the girl's mother said she never intended for the costume to be viewed in a negative way and was only seeking to represent their state by dressing her as a popular local celebrity. She believes that a ruling against her could set a legal precedent that could affect parents all over the nation.

The woman likely will face an uphill child custody battle. Any time couples with children in Illinois divorce, there is a chance that arguments over child custody could result. However, many parents will not wind up in court over such disputes. Unfortunately for this woman, the pageants resulted in nationwide attention and criticism that could ultimately cost her custody of her child.

Source: Fox News, "'Toddlers & Tiaras' mom could lose custody of daughter because she puts her in pageants," Meaghan Murphy, Aug. 17, 2012

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