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TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo – Custody Modification Warranted?

Publish Date: 12/02/2014

TLC recently cancelled their hit reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" in light of allegations that family matriarch, June Shannon ("Mama June"), is dating a convicted child molester. TLC ends production on 'Honey Boo Boo', by Breeanna Hare,, October 24, 2014. While Mama June denies that she is dating this man, recent photos of the two together have popped up on various news sites. As such, TLC cancelled the show because they were concerned about the welfare of the children.

While the family certainly stands to lose the income they bring in as a result of the show, Mama June needs to be more concerned about the possibility of losing custody of her three minor children. The family lives in Georgia and, as such, is subject to Georgia laws. In Georgia, a parent can file a Petition for Modification of Custody if there has been a "change in any material conditions or circumstances of a party or the child." OCGA §19-9-3(b). Certainly a custodial parent spending time with a convicted child molester and, thereby, exposing her children to this sex offender would qualify as a material change supporting a custody modification. Mama June's choice in bringing this person into her life and the lives of her children runs contrary to the best interests of the children, which is the court's number one concern in determining custody. (It should be noted that all of these children have different fathers, none of whom were ever married to Mama June. Accordingly, if they are interested in trying to win custody in light of these recent allegations, they will have to file a Petition for Legitimation (if they have not already done so) and ask for custody as a part of that action.)

In addition, Mama June is risking the involvement of the Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS). According to Georgia law, in any custody action wherein there is "a specific recitation of actual abuse, neglect, or other overt acts which have adversely affected the health and welfare of the child," the judge can direct the appropriate family and children services agency to investigate the home life and home environment of each of the parents. OCGA §19-9-4(a). The Judge can then use the agency report in making the custody determination.

Mama June may also receive unwelcome DFCS involvement without a pending custody case, as DFCS investigates reports of child abuse and neglect. As such, they may investigate the situation based upon the recent allegations and could make a decision to remove the minor children from her custody.

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