Mine Hill, NJ asked in Family Law and Child Custody for New Jersey

Q: Hello! My 9 years old refuses to go overnight with her dad, should I force her?

Hello! My 9 years old refuses to go overnight with her dad every other weekend. Last weekend she went forced by her dad”s attorney intimidating letter. I have to pick her up a 3:30 am she couldn’t sleep, she said she was scare but she doesn’t say of what. When we get home she went to sleep right after with not problem. She is on therapy, there is not custody court orders yet just an agreement his attorney proposed for sat and sun 10 am - 3 pm and her dad is demanding to stop therapy for her. They threatened me to taking me to motion and I have an attorney that seems like doesn’t want to help.

Should I force my daughter? In this in her best interest and well-being? She is always anxious when the weekend with daddy approaches. What should I do? I’m desperate seeing my daughter like that. Thank you!

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2 Lawyer Answers
Michael Andrew Conte
Michael Andrew Conte
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: It's impossible to give you advice about your situation in this type of forum. Family law attorneys see a whole spectrum of broken family dynamics. In some cases, children have legitimate fear of one parent for legitimate reasons. In other cases, children pick up cues and/or are manipulated by a favored parent, to mirror powerful negative emotions and anxieties about the other parent. Without knowing you, the child's father, and watching each of your interactions with your young child, how would anyone be able to judge why things are the way that they are? One thing that can be understood from your question is that you do not have faith in your attorney's judgment. That suggests that you should probably have consultations with other family law attorneys, to see if you can find someone else who you trust with these delicate issues. Regarding your child, since you can't seem to understand things and since you have two attorneys already involved, it may be time to consider a forensic child custody expert. They don't come cheap - but they are the experts who will interview each parent, the child, witness the child interface with either parent, subject everyone to psychological testing, and look at everyone's psychological history in order to apply their expertise to a situation like yours...

Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: My guess is that you and your husband recently separated and since separating, your husband wants to put in place a parenting time plan and he has enlisted the assistance of a lawyer and they have told you that if you do not cooperate with their efforts to put this plan in place, they will seek court intervention. In your mind, you are doing nothing to impede his efforts to have a parenting time relationship with your daughter and you have no idea why your daughter is resistant to going with her father. I am willing to bet that prior to your separation, your husband had a good relationship with his daughter and he is frustrated with the problems being encountered with getting a plan in place and suggests that you are somehow attempting to influence your daughters view and you swear that you have not / would not engage in that type of behavior. A thousand times a day, judges are called on to address this exact issue and make rulings. I have no idea why your daughter is having issues with an overnight plan with her father but my suggestion is that you and your husband should immediately pick a neutral parenting time coordinator to work with you and him on this overnight plan and to help figure out why your daughter is resistant. Do not attempt to select your own expert since your husband will be suspicious of the expert's leaning. You and your husband are better to contact a respected mental health expert who does custody evaluations for the court system and let that person select the parenting coordinator.

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