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Well, in general, I'd steer you away from a legal battle. What the judge is likely to do or say depends on your location and your judge. A local family law attorney can tell you that. But what really matters is what's best for your child. And what's best for her is contact with her dad. So you're going to have to hold your nose and deal with him, the rest of her life.

I recommend you ask your lawyer for a recommendation for a child psychologist or child development expert who specializes in helping families develop parenting plans. (He should know someone, since these people are the ones who are often called upon to testify in child custody cases. They much prefer helping people to being asked to choose which parent is worse.)

You both go to this person, work out something that works (more or less) for everyone, and then you have your lawyer write it up and present it to the judge as an agreed order. That way 1) you all learn to communicate and cooperate, 2) the needs of your child don't get lost in the legal battle, 3) you save money on fees, and 4) you maintain some control over the result.

I'd also recommend against moving. It will mean she loses contact with someone who has been very important to her thus far--not healthy.

And you should read "Mom's House, Dad's House," and "Joint Custody with a Jerk." But I tell everyone that.

Good luck.


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