Allowing child to decide?

Does your husband and his ex live in the same area? If so, why can’t the SD come stay with you for the weekend but still attend her activities or spend some time with her friends?

If you all live in the same area, there is no reason why your husband cannot take her to her activites. Especially with sports, your husband, you and the SD’s mother should all be allowed to attend those activities.

My daughter is 13 and when her Dad comes to town to see the kids, she still gets to go roller skating on Friday night. Her Dad takes her and picks her up. He is not thrilled about it, but I think he is finally starting to realize how important it is to her. She spends the rest of the weekend with him.

If you all don’t live in the same area, I guess that can be much more difficult. I am not sure what a Judge would say. Good luck. I feel for your family.


Hi, I guess I should have pointed out that we live an hour and a half away from her. We get her every other weekend. Actually, not even that because she has dance practice on the weekends and that usually cuts our time with her in half. So, we basically only get her 2 days a month (sad to think her mom thinks we get her too much!) I just dont’ see how a judge would allow anymore of our visitation time to be taken away from us. Her mom has told my husband that a judge is not going to make my SD come see us if she doesn’t want to. There is no reason she ‘shouldn’t want to.’ We are a very happy family and do a lot of fun things together.

I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I don’t think a Judge would take anymore time away from her Dad. Good luck to all of you!


In NC children are not able to choose on custody or visitations. A teenager’s desires may be taken into consideration but even with the situation you have now, the judge is likely to “reprimand” the mother for not enforcing visitations as ordered/scheduled. Normally, The best situation would be that the daughter miss dance practice in order to visit with her father. If the daughter and father can work out other arrangements, that would be great, but ultimately the courts are going to choose to do what is in the best interest of the child. That does not normally mean decreasing visitations.

Also, you may want to mention to your husband that children are not normally allowed to go to court. If the judge wants to hear from the child, they will inform the attorney or the parent to bring the child to the next hearing…I think that they will have to go to mediation again also. The child really has no place in any of the legal steps. They are not involved in mediation. Sounds strange, I know, but custody is about them and for them, but does not include them. The courts know that children need both parents and normally will not alter visitations. Especially if it looks as though one parent is manipulating or attempting alienating the child.

Has this modification actually been filed? Maybe the mother is trying to get your husband to consent to less time instead of taking it to court.
It’s unlikely that custody would be modified. The only modification that the courts would do is to remove visitation or increase. I suggest that you keep record of when your step daughter does get to visit and what events she would miss if she stayed the entire scheduled time. Be ready to go to court and in the mean time, continue the scheduled time that you are supposed to have visitations.

Hi, thanks so much for your response. I agree on your thinking. The only thing that scares me is that she says she went to her lawyer yesteday and…took my step-daugther with her! She says my SD told their lawyer that she wanted to decide when she wanted to see her dad. Now, I know this is orchestrated by the mother, my SD doesn’t have any idea she is being manipulated. But…the mom insists that her lawyer says no judge is going to make a child do something they don’t want to do. And…she says she has already filed the motion to visit court, and we will have to go to mediation first, and if my husband doesn’t ‘cave’ on this he will be forcing my SD to go to court and tell a judge this. The nerve of her trying to make my husband look like the BAD guy in all this! :frowning:

You’re right. The judge orders the parents to work out visitations or signs an order for a visitation schedule and the PARENTS are the ones that must follow it. I suggest that IF it goes to court then make sure that it’s brought up that the mother is not enforcing the visitations that were set up previously.
The courts will consider a teenager’s (15-18 average) desire more than a child’s because it’s difficult to force a teenager to do something they do not want to do. Your step daughter, being 11, while may act older than her age, is not yet a teenager with her own means of transportation. Judges do not order the child to do anything. It is the parents responsibility to work out visitations and schedules. It is the custodial parent’s responsibility to make sure that the non custodial has ample chances to visit with the child. It’s not the child’s responsibility.
Her attorney is going to tell her that she can do this because this is what she wants to hear. He will get paid regardless of whether the court allows this to happen. She is going to tell your husband WHATEVER she thinks will make a difference. IF she’s already filed a motion, then wait to be served. DO NOT let him cave on this. IF you are served with a summons for mediation and/or a hearing, then make sure that the daughter is left out of all discussions. She does not need to be involved in this. It will not look good on her mother in court that she has involved her in the discussions and is in essence making her choose between them. HE is not forcing her to go to court…her mother is and IF she does go through with this (I still think it’s a threat and has not actually happened) the court will not look kindly on her dragging her daughter into this.
I’d say call her bluff. Write down all the information you can, if you’re in NC, record the phone call of her telling your husband these things, and plan to enjoy Christmas as a family…after the holidays or if you are served, then make an appointment to consult with an attorney.

I still believe that the courts will not allow this to happen due to the limited time that the father is getting currently for visitations…

I agree with

Wow, thanks for all of your responses! Your responses have all given me a big sigh of relief. As much as I wish, I don’t think she is bluffing, and I don’t think she is bluffing about how she took my SD to her lawyer, and she says she is bringing her to mediation. I hope the mediator will not allow this. We love my SD and I hope you are all right about what the judge decides! :slight_smile: Thanks again so much for all of your input! I’m glad we are not the only ones that think this situation is absurd haha!

my stepdaughter was 16 going on 17 when we were going through a custody situation, but primarily it involved her sibling who was younger. She and the younger sibiling both saw mediator before mediator/counsellor gave his opinion about custody. Mom allowed her to come to court but the situation never went before a judge. It is unfortunate when kids become pawns in these situations.

Don’t listen to what is being “said”. An eleven year old child cannot make any decisions concerning her custody arrangements. Most judges do believe in both parents remaining active in the child’s life. However, do not be 100% sure that the “child” will not be summoned to Court. My 12 year old son was subpoenaed by the other side and I was forced to take him to Court. The judge did request that he “step outside”. The issue in question was a different school for my child that his father wanted. My ex had already enacted the transfer without my knowledge although I have joint custody and his actions were in contempt of court. The judge didn’t see it that way. His response was to ask me if I had any proof concerning the transfer. All I could say at that point was that I was a parent and that I had not signed ANY transfer forms. The judge shrugged his shoulders and said I had no “evidence”. So, just be prepared for the unexpected!

My hubby and I have every other weekend visitation with my step-daughter (SD). When she is with us, she is a happy girl, loves spending time with us and her little brothers. Now, the mom is taking us to court to modify the visitation to allow my SD to ‘choose’ when she wants to come see us. The mom says that events and activities (with school, friends, etc.) come up on our weekends with her, and it puts my SD in a spot where she doesn’t want to come see us, that she would rather stay and home and do things with her friends. There have been times that my husband allows my SD to stay at home, but most of the time he wants my SD to come spend time with us so we can be a family, etc. But the mom is persistent and is taking this to court, and says my SD is willing to go to a judge and say “I want to decide when I want to come see my dad.” This doesn’t sound like my SD at all, like I said, she really seems happy with us. But sure, I guess she is 11 and is getting to the age where she probably would rather spend time with her friends than her dad. Anyway, what are the chances a judge will allow her to do this? We fear if this happens, we’ll never get to see her again because her mom will always come up with something to talk my SD into staying at home. Thanks!