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My 11 year old step daughter doesn't want to talk to her, mother do i have to make her.

Boston, MA |

Her mom has no legal custody or vistation and doesn't call on a consistent basis, however she has left messages demanding her daughter call her. However her daughter is up seat with the fact that she forgot to call on christmas for third year in row do i have to force her to call her Mother

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

There is a fine line between encouraging and forcing and each Judge will view the situation differently. A review of your Judgment would better provide a clear answer, however if you are certain that your Agreement states you have sole legal custody, then you do not need to force your daughter to speak with her mother. I would make sure you have encouraged her to speak with her mother and encouraged a relationship, no matter how distant it may be, but ultimately, your daughter is 11 y.o. and starting to become of age and maturity where her voice will carry weight (her decisions are NOT outcome determinitive however - just because she does or does not want to do something does not mean a Judge will agree. The decision is still what is in her best interest.) Ultimately, you hold the cards and it would be up to your ex to seek relief in the Court, which may be difficult depending on the language of your Judgment.

This response is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal advice; nor is this answer intended to create an attorney/client relationship. Legal advice and an attorney/client relationship can only be rendered after a full in person consultation has been conducted with an attorney wherein all necessary facts and circumstances are disclosed. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the within response may be different.

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Posted

No. You have no legal obligation to make her or encourage her. Your Husband, however, should definitely encourage the phone call. As a stepparent you are placed in a bad position and should refuse to be involved in that discussion.

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Posted

Based upon the reference you've made in your posting, namely that "her mom has no legal custody or visitation" that would suggest that you have sole LEGAL and sole PHYSICAL custody of your daughter. If that it is indeed the case, and you need to confirm that is what your judgment states, then any contact you allow or promote between your daughter and her mother is at your discretion. As the previous answer states, it is likely in the best interests of yourself and your child that you try to promote and foster a loving and respectful relationship between your daughter and her mother. But as I am sure you are learning, that can be extremely hard to do with an 11 year old that is upset with her relationship with her mother especially when she is upset at being forgotten or neglected for seveal years in a row as you have suggested.

I would suggest that if mother is making the effort to reach out to your daughter (through voicemail message) you should try to support your daughter in reaching back and communicating with her mother in response to those efforts.

Best of luck.

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