Mom featured on popular TLC show involved in child custody dispute

If you don’t watch much television and were asked to scan a list of the most popular shows on cable, there would likely be more than a few surprises. One such surprise would be the popularity of TLC’s reality show “Toddlers & Tiaras,” which profiles young girls competing in beauty pageants and their sometimes overbearing mothers.

Interestingly, a mother-daughter duo profiled on the hit show is currently embroiled in a rather bitter child custody dispute.

According to reports, Lindsay Jackson, mother of six-year-old “Maddy,” had a court hearing in Campbell County, Kentucky last Friday to determine whether Maddy’s father, Bill Verst, should be granted full custody.

According to Jackson, Verst’s petition for full custody is motivated by nothing more than his dislike of Maddy’s participation in the beauty pageants.

“I’ve done nothing wrong, by way of being a mother, I’m a great mother,” said Jackson. “Because I participate in pageants with my daughter is not a reason to take my child from me … Pageants have never been challenged, they’re not illegal.”

While the child beauty pageants are certainly not illegal, they do raise eyebrows among many people as the young participants are often dressed in outfits that some label as inappropriate for their age.

Interestingly, a 3,000 word document written by the court-appointed psychologist recommended that the two parents “maintain a temporary joint custodial arrangement, with Bill as primary residential custodian.”

According to legal experts, this is significant for Jackson because family court judges frequently give such recommendations serious consideration.

“Nine times out of ten, judges will use the [court-ordered psychologist’s] report verbatim,” said attorney Evan T. Sussman “If a psychologist is appointed as an expert on a case, they’re a neutral expert and the reports are very persuasive.”

While it remains to be seen whether Jackson will lose custody of Maddy, she continues to express her support for the controversial pageants profiled on the TLC show.

“While some people may or may not agree with pageants – it’s not illegal,” she said. “I shouldn’t be at risk of losing my child simply because she participates in a hobby that some people don’t like.”

To learn more about child custody, visitation or parental rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Fox News, “‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ mom could lose custody of daughter because she puts her in pageants,” Meaghan Murphy, Aug. 17, 2012