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.