Hit TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras has swept the nation, with viewers mesmerized with families that spend seemingly all of their free time and large sums of money to put their daughters through pint-sized beauty pageants. What one mother didn’t expect after appearing on the show, however, was to become involved in a custody battle based on her daughter’s participation in such a pageant.
Lindsay Jackson has placed her daughter Maddy in pageants on a regular basis since the age of 13 months. Radar Online is reporting that after five-year-old Maddy appeared on an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras in a Dolly Parton outfit, complete with a fake chest and rear end, Maddy’s estranged father, Bill Verst, has decided to seek full custody of the young girl. Verst is alleging that Maddy’s mother is sexualizing and exploiting their daughter by allowing her to participate in pageants and wear such costumes. However, Jackson claims that Verst never objected to Maddy’s participation in pageants until this particular episode of the show had aired.
Unfortunately for Jackson, there has been much public outcry surrounding this episode starring Maddy, and many observers seem to agree with Verst, including the judge in their pending child custody case. The judge has now banned Maddy from participating in any further beauty pageants until further notice. The next hearing in the custody case is scheduled for August 31, 2012. As for Jackson, she has made no secret of her anger over the judge’s recent ruling. She points to Verst’s reported history of DUI and child endangerment as evidence of his unfitness to have custody of Maddy, and further alleges that the wealth of Verst’s family is unduly influencing the case.
Sadly, the allegations being thrown back and forth between the feuding parents in this custody case are not unusual, although the typical custody case doesn’t usually make the newspaper. Such allegations, however, do not tend to enhance either party’s position in a bitter custody fight. Jackson might do well to avoid the spotlight for now, and engage the services of an experienced custody attorney if she has not already done so. A skilled and qualified Oak Brook, Illinois custody lawyer can help parents who become party to major custody disputes, and work to resolve the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible.