Dr Phil: My Ex is Evil
Dr Phil’s guests Brad and Kimberly are at odds over custody of their three children, whom he has not seen in seven months. Brad believes that Kimberly is turning their kids against him, and he thinks she is keeping them away from her on purpose. Kimberly doesn’t disagree, but her reasoning is that he is not responsible enough to be a parent. She does not want him doing drugs around their kids, and she does not approve of his new wife.
Kimberly complained that her ex is not paying child support, and she is tired of getting the runaround about it. She said she has taken out three restraining orders against him in the past, due to his abusive behavior, which can be verbal as well as physical. Her other complaints are that he smokes pot around their children and has been hostile to their 14-year-old daughter via text messages.
Dr Phil: Restraining Order & Ruining Childhood
Brad’s version of the story is a little different. He puts the blame on Kimberly for being hateful and cruel. He thinks that her actions are destroying childhood for the kids. He also said he has been sending child support, but that she doesn’t think he is paying her enough. As for the restraining orders, he said that she made false allegations to have him removed from the home.
What about the marijuana? Brad admitted to being a smoker but said he has never done it around his children. He misses them and would like to be in their lives again after being kept away for months. Dr Phil questioned Brad about a cell phone video one of the children made of him smoking while driving. He said it was a cigarette, but was it really pot?
Dr Phil: Does He Smoke Pot in Front of the Kids?
Brad watched the video and claimed that it must have been a cigarette, based on the way he was holding it while smoking and driving. But Dr Phil wanted to dive into some text messages between Brad and the couple’s oldest daughter. During their conversation, he claimed that mom Kimberly is a smoker as well, and that he had switched to a synthetic alternative to work on quitting.
Their daughter wasn’t buying it, and she told him that she knew what he was up to. Eventually, Brad lost control and lashed out via text message, telling the girl that he could kill himself if he loses custody, and that she would have to live with the guilt forever. Dr Phil could not believe this, calling it abuse, and Brad admitted that he is ashamed.
Dr Phil: Is She Keeping the Kids from His Parents?
But it takes two to have a custody battle, and Dr Phil turned to Kimberly for a moment. Brad claimed that she keeps the kids away from him, has had her arrested in front of them, and has been coaching their oldest daughter to antagonize him. Furthermore, she will not let his parents see the children. She denied some of his allegations, but as Dr Phil’s list went on and on, her denials started seeming less believable.
Dr Phil wondered why she knowingly let Brad drive their kids to and from school when she knew he was wanted on a child support warrant. Kimberly used to document his bad behavior, but she claimed that she has gotten rid of all that evidence. Brad claimed that Kimberly would not put his name on their oldest teen’s birth certificate, but she said he refused to sign the paperwork.
Kimberly also claimed that she never knew about Brad’s drug habit. Dr Phil seemed skeptical that he could have kept that a secret from her over the years as they had three children together. But she claimed she knew nothing, and vehemently contested Brad’s claim that they had smoked pot together in her garage as recently as two years ago.
Dr Phil: Emotional Agenda Affects the Kids
After inviting the exes’ mothers into the conversation, Dr Phil delivered some words of wisdom. “The children are picking up the tab for you running an emotional agenda,” he said. “They will resent you for that in the long run.” Dr Phil said that applied to both parents, and the backlash could be emotionally devastating for both parents.
Dr Phil also offered to send Brad to rehab to help him clean up his life. He said it was meant as a gift to Brad’s children. He offered to send Brad to Origins Recovery Center in South Padre Island, Texas. There, he could deal with addiction as well as mental and emotional health. “I’d be a fool not to,” Brad said as he agreed to accept the offer.
Afterwards, Dr Phil offered to get the family together with a “skilled family counselor” to come up with “a co-parenting plan” that would work for everyone in these children’s lives. Since the children were waiting backstage, Dr Phil requested that Brad and his new wife get to spend a little time with them before he traveled to Texas.
Dr Phil #Work2Coparent: Custody Battle Advice
What did you think about the custody situation in this episode? Share your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #Work2Coparent. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind if you find yourself locked in a custody battle.
Put the children first. They are not pawns, and they cannot fix your problems. Make sure their needs are taken care of and shield them from as much of the turmoil as possible.
Encourage your children to have healthy relationships with your ex and the extended family. Don’t get in the way or attempt to isolate your children from family members to get back at an ex.
Follow the rules established by any court orders or custody hearings. Demonstrating to the court that you are able and willing to comply with instructions might help your custody case, especially if your ex is not following through.
Think about what is best for the children. That means sending child support on time, letting go of control when the child is with the other parent, and not taking the child out of town without getting something in writing from the other parent or the court.