“To make a long story short: my ex husband and myself now have a ten year old that we have shared 50/50 custody since she was 1 1/2 yrs. old. Recently major changes have happened wherein my daughter’s acting detached, having deteriorating school report, and disinterested in extra curricular school activities. Her father has always been uninvolved, (have documentations), the step mom has always been verbally abusive (calls my daughter fat, wierd, cant do anything right, etc; and I also have my daughter’s writings to prove that); and her dad’s mom has borderline personality wherein she teaches my daughter to lie, steal, and be manipulative. She is with her a lot on her Dad’s timeshare as well. The new wife is expecting a child in 3 months, and my daughter is having nightmares of more neglect from her dad once the baby is born. She has expressed repeatedly wanting to stay with me and my husband full time…as the environment has always been stable, fun and consistent for the past 8 years. She feels her step dad is more of a dad to her. At her age, it seems very ideal for her not to switch homes every few days. What do you suggest I submit to court as far as a modification in custody? Also, what are the chances of me modifying custody agreement? Not sure if there is enough change in circumstances to warrant a custody change.”
Every state, county, court and, indeed, judge, have different standards as to how much of a change is enough to warrant a change to the timeshare arrangements. You should be able to put together a fairly compelling case with letters from her teachers indicating the issues at school, along with your statement that they are having a new baby, and your daughter has complained of feeling neglected and put down by her father’s new wife. You should ask that the court order co-parent, and father-daughter counseling to help with the situation and that, in the meantime, your daughter be allowed to spend less time in the hostile environment at her father’s, until it can be rectified.
Al that said, however, you should run this by a local family law attorney, familiar with the requirements and expectations of your local court and judges.