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Child custody dispute plays out on Teen Mom 2

It appears that the MTV reality show “Teen Mom 2” is pushing the limits of good sense by covering a real-life custody battle between a mother, Jenelle Evans, and her mother, Barbara Evans. The child custody dispute is about the custody of Jenelle’s 5-year-old son Jace. Such disputes are not uncommon here in Georgia or in any other state.

However, it is not common to carry the bad feelings and bitter diatribes between the custody contestants on a national cable program. It may be argued that neither party is being responsible to the best interest of the child by allowing the rage between them to become a conversation piece for the public at large. It raises the question whether the child himself will end up being a long-term victim of a media spectacle.

Additionally, no matter how “real” the format of a reality show, there remains a natural tendency of the people being filmed to assume at least a partial mode of acting. That artificial element tends to inject artificial sentiments and motivations into a real-life custody battle. There is at least a danger that such a distortion of reality will also distort the process of trying to find the best interest of the child with respect to his real-life needs.

Apparently the grandmother has ended up with legal custody at this point in the series. That in itself is a highly unusual outcome reserved for situations of abuse or abandonment. Current reports do not reveal why the grandmother has primary custody or why she is violating an apparent court order that gives the mother regularly scheduled sleepovers.

News reports indicate that the mother is filing papers to regain custody. That likely includes a petition to hold the grandmother in contempt for violating the existing visitation order. Child custody orders are indeed flexible enough that the court can at any time change the legal custody status where circumstances demand it to assure that the best interest of the child is protected and furthered. These general principles are applicable in Georgia as well as in every other jurisdiction regarding a child custody dispute.

Source:, “Jenelle Evans Custody Battle Gets Nasty With Mom Barbara Evans (REPORT)“, Kat Ernst, Feb. 21, 2015