The father’s position: The father in our divorce story does not believe that his daughter should be in expensive pageants, and does not want to pay out in child support for them. He believes that the cost of thousands of dollars in costumes, make-up, hair, travel and lodging is excessive and could be used better toward education. He argues he is a middle income earner, and cannot afford costumes that can be upward of $3,000. The father claims that there’s too much pressure on his daughter that is causing unrealistic “body image issues”. He also feels that practicing 7 – 10 hours per week for a pageant is exhausting for daughter. He’s opposed to mother’s placing their daughter on low calorie diets and not letting her be a “kid”. He feels that mother’s control, daughter’s long hours, and pageant demands are abusive to his daughter and her right to a carefree childhood. He also believes that he shouldn’t have to support such a frivolous past-time as pageantry.
Further to support the father’s position, California has no labor laws regarding pageants. Pageants are exempt from federal labor laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Child contestants of pageants are not considered to be “working” as they sometimes spend 10 hour days not “working” at a pageant with their parent.
The mother’s position: Mother feels that pageant participation has given their daughter poise, grace and self-esteem. She states that their daughter enjoys being in pageants and that there’s a great future for her daughter in modeling, or perhaps an acting career. This mother considers pageantry the same as participating in sports and argues that there are costs associated with sports, including long travel, hours of practice and sometimes expensive coaching. She believes that pageantry is a form of education that’s valuable because she has seen her daughter gain confidence in front of an audience. The mother believes that the dad should continue to financially support their daughter in her pageantry goals. The mother has no concern over child labor laws as she feels that participation in sports demands the same focus, drive and work ethic as pageantry.
To add to this, what can drive parents even further apart is that vague possibility that, with enough money, time, and enough hard work, there is always the possibility that their child will become a celebrity or get a full ride scholarship. It was plain and simple basketball that made Michael Jordan who he is today and it is TLC pageantry that created the overnight Honey Boo Boo sensation. This little girl has more “sass”, charisma, and charm than the entire state of Georgia. Honey Boo Boo has gone viral. Her parents would argue that the costs and time they spent was well worth it. And when you watch her and her very unapologetic red-neck family, you find the show is so unique and refreshing that you can’t wait for the next episode. This must be the only family in America that actually eats “road kill” and is proud of it. A pageant mother’s dream comes true.
Regarding California law, in child support battles, whether it be costs associated with pageantry, sports, private school vs. public, music lessons, or gymnastics, the lines are drawn and parents often differ strongly and emotionally in what they feel is necessary for the goodwill of a child. Child support issues require careful consideration and a family law attorney with compassion and good mediation skills to strike a balance between the desires of the father and mother, who often cannot reach an agreement on their own. With good legal advice, compromises can be made on each side, which is always a fine balancing act in an effort to maintain peace during and following a divorce for the sake of the children.
If you have questions about child custody you may need to contact an experienced Santa Rosa child custody attorney to help you determine what your child custody needs may be.
The Santa Rosa child custody lawyers at Beck Law P.C. have worked on child custody cases for decades. We understand the various factors that a court may consider when deciding on child custody matters. Each parent’s economic situation as well as many other variables will come into play. There is not necessary clear rules on how the court may rule in each case and advocacy can play a powerful role. You can contact the Santa Rosa law office of Beck Law P.C. online, or call 707-576-7175 for a free child custody matter consultation.