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dark_angel_kitten_86

Stepfather keeping siblings away

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Mother and father have joint physical and legal custody. Child has made clear to mother that she only wishes to spend minimal time with mother and to only spend time with her 3 younger half-siblings. Mother has allowed child to live with father full time. By that I mean that mother has allowed the child to stay with the father on mother's time, the child has spent about 14 days with the child in the past six months. The mother's husband (childs step-father) has told the child that she is not allowed to spend time with her younger half-siblings because the child has chosen to spend the majority of her time with the father. The stepfather has made clear to child and father that his reason for this is because the child has technically moved out of the mother and stepfather's home. Until the child starts spending more time at their home she is not allowed to spend time with her younger siblings. The mother has agreed with the stepfather that the child cannot see her siblings until she "moves back in." Can they do this legally? Where indiana child custody requires that parents encourage and if necessary force all siblings involved to spend time together. So which is more important? Indiana state custody requirements or a parent's wishes? Child is now 17 and siblings are 8, 3, and 5 months.

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"Child" has no say in the matter.  She's a minor and the subject of the custody/visitation order, not a party to it.  While mom can agree to let the 17 year old spend more time with the other parent than set forth in the custody order, mom is not obligated to provide visitation with half-siblings.  It is entirely in mom's power to deny contact with those siblings while the "child" is not in her home.

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The mother may block the child’s access to the siblings if she wishes, absent some court order in place to the contrary. If the daughter wants to spend more time with her siblings, she’ll need to consider spending more time with her mother and step-father at their home. The daughter seems to want to have it both ways — see her siblings but not her mother. Well, the daughter here doesn’t get to call the shots; she’s a minor and subject to the control and supervision of her parents. She wanted to live with Dad pretty much exclusively and, while Mom was not required to permit that, she apparently did anyway. That doesn’t mean that Mom has to go out of her way now to make sure the daughter gets to see her siblings when she doesn’t want to see Mom. And I don’t see it as likely that a court will order the mother to do that, either.


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Can they do this legally?

 

Let me make sure I understand this question.  You're asking whether the mother and father of the children in question have the right to dictate with whom they spend time.  That's your question?  If so, I can hardly believe you might think the answer would be anything other than yes.  Of course they may legally do that.  Do you really suppose the mother's daughter has any say in the matter?  Seriously?

 

 

 

Where indiana child custody requires that parents encourage and if necessary force all siblings involved to spend time together.

 

This is a rather incoherently worded sentence, and I'm not sure what you were intending to say or ask.

 

 

 

So which is more important? Indiana state custody requirements or a parent's wishes?

 

In this case, the two don't conflict, so the question is moot.  Under the circumstances you described, no law requires the mother and her husband to make their children available for the mother's daughter to spend time with.  That choices have consequences is a valuable life lesson that this girl apparently is learning the hard way.

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Thank you for your answers. I appreciate it. And just an fyi, when in the mother and stepfathers care the "child" was used as a sitter several hours a day, and both the mother and stepfather were verbally abusive. I get that teenagers will lie to get thier way, but this has been going on for so long that she has realized that lying is not useful in this situation. CPS has been called repeatedly for various reasons due to the mother's misconduct (most of which I know are true) however the children still remain in her care.

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Yeah. There are always a lot of unresolved emotional tensions and resentments in divorces. You might notice that the girl wants to sped time alone with the half-siblings, which is denied her, but using her as a babysitter actually allows her to spend time alone with her half-siblings.

 

It's not much of a legal problem.

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