Pacheco Perez P.A.

Child's pageant participation results in court custody trial

Some people are amused by child beauty pageants, viewing them as cute and harmless spectacles that are unobjectionable in all material respects.

Others, however, have a decidedly different viewpoint, regarding such shows as being akin to child abuse and exploitative in the extreme, especially when age-inappropriate props, makeup and costuming are involved.

Pageant controversy has cropped up repeatedly in the past. In one notable instance, a mother dressed her three-year-old daughter as the Julia Roberts' prostitute character from the movie "Pretty Woman."

And now another case is making headway in media tabloids, following the appearance of a six-year-old girl impersonating singer Dolly Parton in a beauty pageant on the TLC network's "Toddlers & Tiaras" show.

Many people -- including the girl's father -- were outraged by the young girl's costume, which was encouraged by her mother, who dressed her daughter for the show. The costume was replete with a padded bra and pads for enlarging the girl's buttocks.

"It's really funny when she comes out on stage, and everybody thinks it's hysterical," the mother told a TLC camera crew.

The estranged father didn't think so when he filed a motion in a Kentucky court recently for sole child custody of the girl, claiming that she was exploited by the mother.

A court-appointed psychologist has agreed with that assessment, recommending that the girl be taken from the mother and that the father be designated as the sole custodial parent.

The judge has imposed a number of privacy and gag restrictions in the case, and disallowed reporters from the courtroom. The court has also banned the girl's participation in any pageant-related activities during the trial.

Source: ABC News, "Custody at risk after 'Toddlers & Tiaras' star wears fake boobs, butt," Jennifer Pereira and Sharde Miller, Aug. 20, 2012

  • Our firm regularly represents Florida clients in child custody and visitation matters. Please visit our Miami-Dade County Child Custody page for information on parenting plans, time-sharing arrangements and other custody-related considerations.

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