Originally Posted by UptownZoo
She can't make these decisions unilaterally. With joint legal custody, the only decisions either parent can make on their own is for emergent medical care. All other decisions have to be made jointly.
Boy, that's a nice theory! But in practice, there is a very real catch-22:
* If the custodial parent decides to operate unilaterally and just inform the NCP of her choices after the fact (or not inform him at all), his only choice is to take her back to court.
* Depending what unilateral actions she has taken, the court may not be able to retroactively "fix" what has already been done, nor can the court force her to involve the NCP in future decision-making - it can only scold/warn her to do so.
* The very act of the parties having to return to court multiple times indicates that they're "incapable of co-parenting", which requires the court to give one parent sole custody and reduce the other to having only visitation rights. Consider this long and hard: an effective way to get yourself sole custody is to be so uncooperative with your child's other parent that the court finally throws up its hands and says, "OK, have what you want! We no longer expect you to cooperate and agree that you can call all the shots."
* Arguably, the CP's lack of cooperation COULD lead to a change in custody, but that is extremely rare. Changes of custody are considered disruptive to the child and are only supposed to occur if the child's best interest is not being served. The fact that the NCP is being treated unfairly does not, of itself, justify a modification. If the CP is making decisions that some objective person could say are good for the child...she's just not including the NCP in them like she should...that's not a reason to give the NCP custody, it's only a reason for the court to declare it fruitless to expect these two parents to cooperate with each other.
That said, certainly if your husband has custodial (not just visitation) rights, you have every right to take your SD to counseling during your parenting time, regardless whether it annoys her mother. But the only thing you can do to force Mom to take her during HER parenting time is go through the effort of convincing a judge the child NEEDS to go. Then, if Mom doesn't take her, she's not meeting what the court recognizes to be her needs. That could be grounds for a custody change. But you have to ask yourself: is that what you really want? Is that really best for this kid? Fairly recently - and more than once - you've indicated you don't even like her. You're not sure whether your marriage will be intact, down the road. And, healthy or not, fair or not, the kid seems pretty attached to and comfortable with her mom.I agree
that counseling should
happen consistently and that, if objective professionals agree your SD needs counseling, then Mom's wrong to hide behind the excuse that the problems are all at your house (even if they were
, does that change the fact that her kid needs counseling!?) HOWEVER, perhaps in this situation it's best to focus on what's under your control and not fight so hard to force Mom to do what you want that you could potentially end up with more responsibility for this child than you really desire.