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What should I do about joint custody?

Clarkesville, GA |

My husband and I have been divorced for 3 or 4 years. He is a convicted felony, and my 16 year old daughter is scared to see him. We live out of state, and due to health reasons, she has not been able to visit him anyways. His girlfriend has wrote me a letter stating she is taking care of his financial actions now, and that my daughter has no choice in seeing him. I feel that my ex husband should be taking care of this, not his girlfriend. He won't return my calls after I asked that we talk as adults and not include my child in our disagreements. He puts her in the middle of everything, and she does not want anything to do with him. Is there anything I can do? Should I talk to my lawyer about everything? What should I talk to him about? Since she is 16, is she old enough to make a choice?

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Attorney answers 2


His girlfriend has nothing to do with this case, so ignore her. Having said that, you do have reason to sit down with your lawyer and discuss (1) what your papers require of you, so you don't get in trouble, and (2) whether modification of the papers is appropriate. Since we don't know what the papers now say, and all the details, share all of that with your lawyer.

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The girlfriend has zero control over anything, so just ignore her. You are the custodial parent and it is not impermissible for you to make decisions about your child's welfare, and best interests. If you have a genuine issue related to your ex-husband and your child's safety, then you can temporarily suspend visitation. This is no different than if he showed up to take her to dinner during his visitation time but he was intoxicated. You are not required to send your child off with a drunk driver no matter who that person is. But, you cannot use these excuses to abuse your ex as your concerns must be valid and able to be corroborated (such as through your daughter's testimony). If you suspend visitation, then you must take immediate action in court as you cannot interfere indefinitely. And yes, she is old enough to elect where she wants to live, and the Court will take her desires into consideration when considering a custodial/visitation change. I hope this helps.

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