I can't imagine how you must be feeling, but I do have to agree with your daughter that one stable home, a main home, is best for her. That was the first thing I thought of when I started reading, why split the child? The fact that she chose her dad is hurtful, but it's not against you, it's for her, and not for him. She's 9, she's beginning puberty. She's bright. She loves you both but if a choice is going to be made someone is going to be hurt. She's also going to choose the home that is going to make her the happiest. She isn't thinking about anything but herself, because she's 9. She's not going to choose a parent who is more strict, and believe me, I'm with you about being more strict, lol! But obviously she's choosing a home she'll have more freedom. She obviously loves both equally but the more freedom she can have at her pre-teen age is better.. for her, lol, so she thinks. She may not get that same freedom if she's there most of the time though. Dad may not have as much guilt, so to speak. Dad may suddenly feel more responsibility and start tightening the reins, especially as she starts to develop physically and Dad starts freaking out, lol.
If you allow this, and this girl MUST remember that this is not HER choice, it's her request. And if things doesn't work out the way she plans, she cannot just jump back to the better option, and go back and forth as she pleases. What does Dad feel about this? Are there other children with Dad? You didn't mention. That may be a factor too. She can have Dad's full attention with no other sibling pulling the parent away, and not having to help with a baby at Dad's.
You can at any time say no, especially if you are legally bound. Talk to Dad first. Really look at all the angles, even in a cynical way as a child would to be sure you have all the bases covered. Have her be honest. She may love her younger sibling, but it's harder on the older child. Make sure you're making the right decision for her and for YOU. Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want and if you say no, she needs to accept it.
You also need to look at the legal aspects of this. Will you have to go to court to change things? Will you suddenly need to start paying child support to Dad? If not now, down the road if things get a bit tighter for them? Once things are legally changed, it'll be a fight to change things again if she's not happy or something else comes up. Really talk it through with everyone. Maybe let her try it at both places over the summer, one month just with you. One month just with him. See how things go.
But she does need to have a base home. You all need to decide which one.
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius