My child has been dancing for over 10 years and training at a pre-professional dance school for the last four years. She has ambitions of becoming a professional dancer/prima ballerina. Her non-custodial parent has repeatedly caused her to miss mandatory rehearsals and threatened to pull her out of each performance at the last minute. The dance school is now requiring that we both sign a commitment form as this has caused complications with casting. Her non-custodial parent has refused to sign and she is very upset. She wants to ask a judge if she can decide when she visits her non-custodial parent. "If my (non-custodial parent) can cancel on me, why can't I cancel on (non-custodial parent)?" When do minors have a right to voice themselves and be heard in court?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You need to get into court quickly for a modification of parenting, and possibly termination of joint parenting. In Will County, A GAL will most likely be appointed to investigate and report back to the court what is in the child's best interests. Some Will County judges will speak directly to children and others will not. You will also be ordered to mediation. Hire a strong attorney and get this matter addressed ASAP. Your daughter's entire future may be affected.
I agree with counsel. You are likely going to be forced to get the court to intervene to either compel compliance or change the parenting time schedule to accommodate only you with her dancing.
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By his not dining you have a basis to go in and modify the parenting agreement. Hire a lawyer who handles visitation issues and get to court ASAP. You do not want your daughter to suffer due to the other parent.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
I agree with the other answers, but I would just add: Kids don't make these kinds of decisions . . . adults do. It would be wrong to put her in the position of determining when visitation will and will not happen. She doesn't get to decide whether or when she goes to school, rehearsal, etc.
The burden falls to you -- the custodial PARENT -- to take action. Hire a lawyer and get to court. It's not pleasant, but it's not too difficult. get it done.
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Child Custody Lawyer
I've noticed most of the answers given advice you to take action immediately. Maybe you should. However, let me relay to you a recent experience I've had, and an alternative view.
The chances of your daughter becoming a prima ballerina and making a decent living at it is nearly zero. That being said, perhaps you should consider that your child's dad is averse to ballet for a good reason. For example, it is widely recognized that ballet forces women into unhealthy body types if they want any chance at success; perhaps the almost totally predictable pressure your daughter will feel to develop an eating disorder should be a more immediate concern than her unrealistic career expectations. Or, perhaps your child's father feels the dancing in harmful to his visitation and relationship with your daughter. As a child, your daughter is likely to have an unrealistic vision of her future, and the importance of her relationship with her dad.
Judges often avoid speaking to minors, and instead appointing a child's representative or guardian ad litem to speak to minor children.
If you take this issue to court, your result could be surprising, and disappointing. The judge may feel your daughter is overbooked and that her father should prevail, not you.