My ex-husband makes is girlfriend take care of our daughter and refuses to communicate with me unless it is to call me names. She has been emailing me nasty emails with false claims. We have joint custody and I have let her pick up our daughter due to his work schedule. Due to her bullying me and the fear that I have that she is manipulating my daughter, can I refuse to let her pick her up from day camp and school during his visitation? I am now worried about my daughters mental feel being. Visitation clearly states it is with the father. How can I make her stop bullying me? Can I take the visitation days if he can not pick her up himself?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The answer to your question depends on the language of your divorce agreement. If there is anything in there that says something like "Father (or father's designated representative) can pick up the child...", then you do not automatically have a right to require Father to pick her up. However, if it just says that "Father will pick up the child at school, etc.", then you might have a right to require him to pick her up.
You say you are worried about your daughter's mental well being, but you need to determine whether you have actually observed some sort of change in her due to the girlfriend's behavior or if you simply have a fear that this will affect her. If it is the latter, then you do not really have the proof required to take this to court to request a change to the agreement. (unless she is 14 or older and does not want to have anything to do with the girlfriend)
You cannot make the girlfriend stop bullying you in the context of the custody scenario - she is not a party to the divorce, nor is she a parent. If there is a right of first refusal in your divorce agreement, and the agreement does not permit someone to pick up your daughter on behalf of her father, then you might be able to take the visitation days if he cannot pick her up himself. I would suggest you consult with an attorney prior to taking action like this. Even if you cannot afford an attorney, many attorneys will let you pay for a one hour consultation...if I were you I would do this and bring your divorce papers to the meeting. The attorney should be able to give you a certain answer to this question.