Child custody disputes complicated in Maryland and abroad

Child custody issues can become contentious between parents, whether they were previously married or not. Most Maryland parents know that child custody issues can be even more challenging when they occur between people who are often in the public eye. One single parent who is no stranger to public scrutiny is Bristol Palin, the daughter of former vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin. Bristol's ex-boyfriend, Levi Johnston, has reportedly taken steps to try and get child custody of the former couple's son, Tripp.

Levi Johnston has claimed in the past that the Palins have tried to keep him separated from his son. However, what seems to have the 22-year-old father concerned now is his son's alleged behavior as it is depicted on Bristol's reality show, "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp." The 3-year-old boy can apparently be seen using a gay slur on the show, along with other supposed acts of bad behavior.

Reports indicate that Tripp's father showed up at the Wasilla, Alaska, court to obtain paperwork to request full child custody of his son. Johnston supposedly said that he was "disgusted" by his son's behavior on the reality show. Of course, he may face an uphill battle in trying to get custody of his son away from the boy's mother.

Maryland courts typically consider what is in the best interests of a child when deciding child custody issues. They might look at a custodial parent's mental and physical health, the stability of the home environment provided for the child, and whether any physical or mental abuse is occurring. Courts can and do change child custody orders when the best interests of the child warrant that action. However, the non-custodial parent would likely have to show clear evidence that removing the child from the custodial parent's care would be in that child's best interests.

Source: Reuters, "Levi Johnston Wants Custody of Son After Bristol Palin TV Show," Andrew Lu, Aug. 6, 2012