Joint decision making rights, who files in court when the parents don't agree?
SD is 13, nearly 14 has developmental delays. BM has been in denial of this since day 1. Well, at least since I've been in the picture (I can't see how things may have been different before then though, as SD was only 1 1/2 when I started dating DH). How to treat SD's developmental delays has been a fight between DH and BM since BM decided she wanted to hurt DH by taking off with SD. Prior to that BM didn't care so long as she wasn't being bothered about it.
Then, BM took off with SD and SD's special needs weren't being met. BM took SD out of physical, occupational, and speech therapies and a special needs pre-school when she took off with SD. It then became a DH's word versus BM's word battle in court. SD wasn't in regular therapy again until DH got custody (this was 9 1/2 years after BM took off with her). There was no CO before BM took off, so it was legal, and then BM was granted majority residential time due to the fact that she had physical custody at the time (the judge told her the only reason he was granting her majority residential time is because he didn't want what little therapy SD was getting to be disrupted).
So, DH has custody. BM is supposed to have joint decision making rights, but for the last nearly 2 years she's pretty much just gone with whatever DH wants. However, when she gets mad at DH for some reason or another she'll threaten that he can't do anything without her permission and he doesn't want to make her mad.
This leads us to the current problem. SD is finally on an IEP at school. She had full evaluations in EVERY area possible. SD's IQ is 78, all of her testing shows her performing below average. SD has never in her life ever passed a state assessment. SD is required to pass these state assessments to graduate high school. There are 2 different programs available to kids like SD that will get her a high school diploma and some job skills, one of these programs also offers some college credit.
BM has said no way to both programs. She wants to focus of dealing with SD's "text anxiety" so that she can score well on her SATs and ACTs and get into a good 4 year college.
Um, that's not happening. SD is never going to go to a 4 year college. She MAY go to our local community college (DH and I have looked into that as well), but will require a LOT of assistance. There's no way SD is going to be able to take the SAT or ACT, its impossible. None of her service providers think this is reasonable, and honestly BM is setting SD up to fail.
The problem is, we can't file in court and wait for a judge to rule that DH gets to make these decisions or that these other programs are in SD's best interest. One of these programs (if we go with it) requires enrollment pretty quickly (we just found out about SD's options, and DH tried to bring it up to BM nearly a month ago, but just got an email response).
So, can DH enroll SD into this program against BM's wishes, and then BM has to file in court and prove to a judge that it's not in SD's best interest? Or does DH need to jump the gun and file in court proving that BM doesn't have a clue as to what SD's true needs are?
Right now decision making is 50/50 and they're supposed to go to mediation if they disagree. They went to mediation last year and nothing was solved. In fact the mediator didn't work with them to address any of DH's concerns. The mediator just put a communication agreement into place that both DH and BM signed, however BM hasn't once followed through with the agreement (although the agreement says it's not legally admissible).