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Pageant mother accused of 'sexually exploiting' daughter

Some Texas viewers of the TLC hit "Toddlers & Tiaras" were appalled when one of the toddlers, now 6 years old, appeared on camera wearing padded breasts and buttocks as part of one of her outfits. The little girl was meant to look like Dolly Parton. While this may be inappropriate, is it egregious enough to lose custody over?

The 6-year-old's father was horrified when he saw the airing of the show. Estranged from his ex-wife and mother of the 6-year-old, the father is claiming that his ex-wife sexually exploited their child. Consequently, he is filing for sole custody.

The mother maintains that the costume was not intended to be sexual, but a court-appointed psychologist feels that the father should have sole custody. If the father is awarded sole custody, the mother will no longer be able to make schooling, religious or medical decisions regarding her daughter.

Presently, a judge has banned the mother and daughter from engaging in any pageant activity for the remainder of the trial. Whether the father is granted sole custody or not remains to be seen, the case is set to continue Aug. 31.

While this is an unusual case, modifications of child custody arrangements are a possibility in Texas. More typical cases of modification center on the relocation of a parent or visitation extensions. Whatever the reason for the request and potential change may be, all effort should be considered in upholding the best interest of the child.

Source: ABC News, "Custody at Risk After 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Star Wears Fake Boobs, Butt," Aug. 20, 2012

  • If Texas parents wish to learn more about changing any aspect of a custody agreement, they may find useful information on our Houston divorce modification page

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