Bristol Palin, daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, may be in for a legal battle over the custody of her child after the recent airing of her reality TV show. According a recent article, the father of the child, Levi Johnston, began to notice his child's poor behavior on Bristol's reality television show and became concerned that the child isn't being raised properly. The child shocked viewers when he apparently used a derogatory term on the show a few weeks ago. These concerns have led Levi to consider filing a child custody action.
Some, however, say that he may have a difficult task ahead of him based on the facts. In order to make an effective argument, the father would have to convince a court that the best interests of the child would be better served with him as the primary caregiver. It has been reported that judges are reluctant to change legal custody unless there are extreme circumstances. Nevertheless, courts can and do alter custody arrangements when evidence supports a finding that such a change would be more likely to promote a child's health and well-being.
Although some may find the child's behavior deplorable, this alone may not be enough to change a custody order. There have been no reports of abuse or neglect of the child. There have also been no reports regarding any mental health issues of the mother. These factors may impact a court's decision, though in appropriate circumstances a judge may direct a full investigation of all relevant facts and circumstances before rendering a decision.
Many Texas parents may wonder if they can petition a court for a change in child custody based on their observations of a child's poor behavior while in the custody of the other parent. Each situation is different, and parents questioning the propriety of an existing custody arrangement may benefit from seeking the right legal advice as to what factors a judge may consider when making a ruling. This will allow the parent to properly analyze what remedies are available in their efforts to protect their child's best interests.
Source: Reuters, "Levi Johnston Wants Custody of Son After Bristol Palin TV Show," Andrew Lu, Aug. 6, 2012