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My ex wants to put our daughter in pageants. I say no way! Who wins?

Texas is likely America’s “ground zero” for children’s beauty pageants. Babies only weeks old are paraded around on a stage by their parents to win trophies that tower over them. Little girls (and some boys, as well) learn complex routines and strut their stuff in front of judges with pageant industry experience.

Make no mistake — children’s beauty pageants are big business and the revenue derived from them is substantial. For those who run in certain circles, the pressure to put their young daughters in these expensive pageants can be quite strong. 

There are positives and negatives about these pageants

Proponents say that entering and performing in pageants teaches young girls poise, instills confidence and provides a venue to showcase their talents at singing or dancing. They point out that those who win the larger titles can be awarded college scholarships and other valuable prizes.

Pageant detractors have a litany of reasons to just say “no.” They point out that many of the routines and costumes sexualize prepubescent girls. Some children may even be exposed to pedophiles who attempt to “groom” them for nefarious purposes. It’s worth noting that the late Jon Benet Ramsey was a nationally acclaimed beauty queen on the pageant circuit when she was murdered.

As a parent, what can I do to prevent my daughter from participating?

Much depends on the terms of any conservatorship that is in place for your daughter. If one has been established, you will either have possessory or managing conservatorship. If you have a managing conservatorship, it will be either joint or sole. This is what determines who can make these decisions about your minor child. If you have sole or joint authority, you do have a say in whether or not your child participates in extracurricular activities like these.

If you don’t have the authority to block your ex’s plans, you may be able to ask the court to modify the terms on the conservatorship that is in place if you can convince them that it would be in your daughter’s best interest to do so.