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Noncustodial father wants to know if he can force socialization on isolated teen

Your Question:
Ex-wife was allowed to flee NY for FL 10 years ago with 2 younger children. I have managed to maintain a strong, loving relationship with my distant children. My daugher, now 14, should be starting 9th grade. My ex is living her dream of horses through my daughter, whom has been riding/showing horses for years. While I am confident that my daughter enjoys this sport, however, she maintains no friendships and has no socialation ourside of a barn. My ex has just enrolled my daugher into an 'internet' high school which will further barricade my daughter from outside friendships, for which she desperately needs.

Have you any suggestions? Thank you

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My Answer:

You're in a tough spot to do anything, parenting from a thousand miles away for a decade.

If you can demonstrate to a court that the current arrangement is debilitating to your child, the court would consider another arrangement.

If your daughter calls you every night for months on end, sobbing that she has no friends, that would be a debilitating situation.

If your daughter has a psychologist who testifies that the child is deeply disturbed by her isolation, that would be a debilitating situation.

But if you have a relatively happy child who loves being around her horses, you're going to have a tough time convincing a judge that a custody change is warranted.

I'm with you, that a kid should have friends, but unless it's causing significant distress to the child, I don't think you have a case.


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