If you know anything about family law and the work of Child Protective Services, you know that there is only so much you can do to find out the living conditions of a child. This is especially true if the parents are in different states. However, if the one of the parents is the star of a reality television show, there is all kinds of access.
This is exactly what Levi Johnston has been able to do while watching "Life's a Tripp," which stars his ex-girlfriend Bristol Palin and his baby, Tripp. Based on what Johnston has seen, he thinks that his son is not getting proper parental guidance and support, according to TMZ. Johnston is now planning to file for full custody of his son, apparently in Alaska.
Will he succeed?
First, what he wants is sole custody. This means that he wants exclusive physical and legal custody rights over Tripp. This would mean that Johnston would make all decisions about Tripp's health, education, and housing. Sole custody is rarely granted, and usually only done so in cases of abuse or a parent shown to be otherwise unfit to care for a child.
When custody has already been determined by a court or settlement agreement, a parent must file a petition to modify custody or visitation with the court. As with all custody decisions, the court's decision will be based on the best interests of the child. If Tripp were over 12, his input would also be taken into consideration.
What is interesting, is that Johnston is likely filing the forms in the wrong place. Most all states follow the Uniform Child Custody Law, which provides that any custody decisions can only be made where the child has lived for the past 6 months. It seems as though Tripp has only been back in Alaska since May, according to the Mail Online.
Depending on where Tripp had been living before, an Alaska filing could just be a mere publicity stunt. We'll certainly see after Levi Johnston gets around to filing for full custody from Bristol Palin.
- Want to Talk to a Houston Family Lawyer? (FindLaw)
- Levi Johnson Wants Custody of Son After Bristol Palin TV Show (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice Blog)
- Mel Gibson's Child Custody Battle (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)