Authordas, I'm going to be very honest with you. You're "assumptions" or "opinions" are not helping your friend and no matter how much you think this situation has got to be legally wrong it's not. And you're not wanting to hear what anyone is telling you. No one is misleading you, it's just the facts here.
I'm going to assume you live in the state where mom currently lives and probably have never met the ex husband or have been part of the situation. You're only connection is that you're friends with mom and have heard the story from her only. As her friend I can understand why you are so defensive of her situation but to be very very honest, you're being sort of ignorant to the legal facts here and basing your argument on your personal feelings which really don't count and aren't helpful to mom.
FACTS: Couple is married for several years and can not concieve a child on their own but wanted a family. Together as a couple they decide that IVF is the answer (no IVF provider is going to impregnate a married woman without the husbands knowledge or agreement between them). Wife get's pregnant! Marriage obviously is strained and husband may have started to have an affair. Baby arrives, marriage is just not working and hubby is not happy so he files for divorce and apruptly begins an open relationship with the other woman.
Wife is hurt by the divorce and angry. In her mind she feels that since her husband did not use his sperm to impregnant her then he should not have any rights to this child. She uses this as grounds to keep child from the ex husband. Ex husband has an emotional attachment to this child and as the legal father he is not willing to allow Ex Wife to keep HIS legal child away from him. Ex Wife thinks she has the upper hand and threatens dad and the new girlfriend giving them grounds for restraining orders and charges against her. Ex Wife leaves the state with the child without Ex Husnands permission or threatens to do so which gives Ex Husband grounds for emergency custody. Ex Wife remains in new State because of financial stability claiming she can't afford to live in old state and is afriad of Ex Husband and Girl Friend throwing her in Jail for one reason or another.
Is this pretty much right so far?
Here's the bottom line ... if your friend wants to be more active in her daughter's life and co-parent with dad then she has no choice but to return to origional state. Generally a parent would rather live in a box under a bridge then be seperated from her child. So as her friend this alone should raise a red flag for you and make you wonder if there's more to this story. Or not depending on how open minded you choose to be.
This little one calling the new Girl friend mommy is actually very normal. She's 3. Her mommy has chosen to live far away so she doesn't get the real concept of "mommy" and the girlfriend is really more of a mommy to her right now. That's just the fact.
I know I may have come accross as brutal but it's the truth unsugar coated. You can do with it what you wish but this board is about finding help and support from others who know a little bit about the legal ins and outs of child custody. Your "Opinion" and arguments don't help anyone especially your friend who's obviously hurting. The best support you can give is to share the TRUTH with her.
Best of luck to her.