Should This Mom Lose Custody?

I saw this story the other day and knew I had to post it.  What should constitute a change of custody?  This is a case where the father has had drug and alcohol issues, but he has filed for sole custody because the mother has been “sexualizing” their daughter by participating in child beauty pageants.  You can read the full article here.

While I would never choose this kind of activity for my own daughter if I had one, this activity is not illegal, many parents sign their girls up for it and we do not have social services removing children from the homes of parents because of it.  If it would not be actionable by a child protection agency, should it be cause to change custody?

One thing I find to be so typical is that the court psychologist is recommending that the couple share joint legal and the father get sole residential (physical) custody.  To me that is strange.  If custody would be decided in favor of the father, wouldn’t that be because the judge questions the mother’s judgement?  How then would you want to give any legal decision making to someone with poor judgement?  It is always very odd to me how they will come to some, often misguided, determination that the parent is harming their child, but then expect the other parent to have to work with the unfit parent when making a major decision.  Not surprisingly, the court decisions are often the stuff of nonsense and fantasy.

It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.  Personally, I question the court’s judgement most of the time.  No matter who wins or loses custody, the judges seem to be living in some lunacy land of fairy dust and I do not recommend any extended stays in the court.  Unfortunately, you never know what an ex might decide is ammunition against the one they despise.

Most custody battles really have little to do with the children or a parent being unfit.  These are power struggles that play out if and when one of the parents decides they can get a leg up on the other one.  Even in my own custody battles, and there have been two, one was like the fireworks display every night at Disneyworld as far as the toughness of the fight, the second one was like a firecracker, and a dud at that, I can tell you that it was not about the children.  The first one, which I filed, and won, was about getting the court out of our lives.  It was not about getting the kids away from the other parent.  It was about finally having some peace.  All of us.  My ex included.  We enjoyed six years of it.  The second custody battle was very short, unsweet, and had everything to do with a parent telling any lie he could come up with that would work to get out of paying child support a full year early.  That is all it was.  If it was about him having the child, my poor judgement  or anything else, why would that parent now be sending whiney emails to the judge’s clerk wanting me to have to see my son more?  He wanted him, but now his emails state that he is finding fulltime parenting and feeding a teenager to be expensive and messy.  Well, that is why I asked my son to clean his room and when he refused, I yelled at him.  That was all I did, and I lost custody.

So again, what should constitute grounds for changing custody?

Once the outcome to beauty pageant custody case is made public, I will post it.  For those who do not know, a judge typically has up to 90 days to make a decision on a case.  The waiting is never fun.  Hopefully, this case will have a good outcome, although I am not really sure what would constitute a good outcome.  It just seems silly and like there is an underlying hatred for each other, as is usually the case.

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