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Topic : 12/22 Custody Battles Gone Bad

Number of Replies: 373
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Created on : Friday, September 29, 2006, 09:47:40 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 10/04/06) Jan went on the run with her grandson the day her son-in-law, Chris, was released from jail. Jan believes Chris killed her daughter, and says she now fears for her own life and the life of her 4-year-old grandson. After serving time for involuntary manslaughter in the death of his wife, Chris says he will stop at nothing to regain custody of his son. Jan comes face-to-face with the man she has been in hiding from for a year. Then, see a custody battle that kept a mother fighting for her daughter for nearly a decade. Now reunited, Irene struggles to parent her daughter, Brittany, who was torn from her as a 7-year-old and returned as a teenager. Can these two bridge the gap and learn to be a family again? Share your thoughts, join the discussion.

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October 4, 2006, 10:56 am CDT


Quote From: phisig28

Ok, so I'm going to play the bad girl here, but I hear everyone here complaining like helpless, innocent victims.  Didn't you all pick the mother/father to your children??  These people don't suddenly become jerks...they have always been that way!  As someone who grew up with one of these parents, I wish my mom had decided to not bring an innocent child into their messed up marriage.  After all, none of these kids chose to be born, you all chose to have them knowing what kind of life they may have ended up having.

I am a step mom to an 8 year old girl.  And you are absolutely correct, people don't just become jerks after having children.  But, you never know how they are going to be as a parent until they become one.  Believe it or not, becoming a parent does put perspective into some people's lives.  My husband and his ex used to be partiers, alcoholics, and drug addicts.  One day they decided (foolishly) to have a child.  Yes this little girl was planned.  When the ex was pregnant my (now) husband had an epiphany.  He realized what was about to happen and did a complete 180.  He stopped everything cold turkey and become an amazing daddy.  The mother on the other hand did not.  She is still a drug addict.  She lives in an abusive home with her boyfriend, their child, and two of his previous children.  Thank God our daughter lives with us full time.  One day, while with her mother, our daughter had to run to a neighbor she did not know and ask them to call 911 because the boyfriend and one of his friends were beating up her mother.  Our daughter has never been back to that home since.  It has been 1 year now.  Her mother has only supervised visits (until she completes a 90-day outpatient rehab, anger management, and blood-draw drug tests at my husbands request) every other Sunday and some holidays.  Our daughter's mother chooses not to see her daughter very often.  It is devastating for all of us.  My little girl is so unhappy sometimes.  She misses her mother badly.  She goes to therapy.  She knows what is going on in her mother's life and knows what has to be done to change it.  The drugs, alcohol, and abuse have really messed up this woman's life.  She makes promises to her daughter and never follows through.  Could you imagine how devastating that could be to an 8 year old girl?   We NEVER say bad things about the ex in front of the children.  We tell her that "mom is just making some bad decisions right now and we have to let her be an adult and choose to make the right decisions when she is ready."  We try to keep the situation as positive as possible.  We all have to hope that someday she will change and become a good mother to her children.  All we can do is pray and do our best to keep our daughter from being so sad.  The point I am trying to make is..  we may know each other and how we treat each other before children, but we don't know how each other would be as a parent until it happens.  My husband made some bad choices before, but now that he is a parent, he would trade it for the world and he is an amazing father.  The ex made some bad choices before and continues to make bad choices even after becoming a parent.

October 4, 2006, 11:27 am CDT

if you are in a custody battle.....

The best advise I have for anybody who is in a custody battle is.....log it, log it, log it.  Keep diaries of everything that is wrong with the situation.  When the child tells you that mommy/daddy said you are a bad parent, write it down.  When the child says they don't want to go to mommy's/daddy's house, write it down.  When your child has a bruise and said mommy/daddy hit me, take a picture.  When your child says they didn't get to eat because they were in trouble, write it down.  When your child comes home filthy dirty and says they didn't have a bath at all when at mommy's/daddy's house, write it down and take a picture.  When your child says I really love being at mommy's/daddy's house and at your house, write it down.  Log EVERYTHING.  And keep in mind that some people are just cold hearted, but others can be really great people even though your relationship didn't work.  You created these children together, it is your responsibility to raise them together.  Even if you can't live together anymore.  After you CHOOSE to have children with someone you don't get to just choose to change your entire life without thinking of the children first.  You don't get to just up and move away from the other parent.  You don't get to just choose to lie down with someone else.  Once you CHOOSE to bring children into this world, your responsibility is to those children, not yourself. They didn't ask to be concieved. 

p.s. when I say "you CHOOSE to have children" I am referring to your decision to have sex without precaution.

October 4, 2006, 12:19 pm CDT

He doesn't deserve custody...

I can't believe that this guy thinks he deserves to have his child back after throwing a phone at the mother.  Leaving aside the disputed fact of whether the mother died as a result of the father's actions.  If the mother had survived, I feel strongly that she would have gotten custody of the boy over the father any day of the week. 


You don't deserve to raise a child after acting out in anger so violently physical as he did.

October 4, 2006, 12:26 pm CDT

Poor Mother of deceased daughter

I totally agree with Jan.  I think that if this poor little boy were to be handed over to this guy, father or not, his hands killed this boy's mother, this mother's daughter.  When is he going to get "mad" enough to hurt this wonderful little boy.  No, he reaps what he sows.....because he didn't "think" before killing his wife, he needs to let this boy live with a safe, wonderful, and caring grandmother!  Come on American Courts, see this as it is!!!!!!!  This man's anger killed someone!  That is NOT a "fit" parent.  Judges, what if this were your daughter that was killed and your grandson that was facing the possibility of living with the man that killed her?
October 4, 2006, 12:27 pm CDT

My opinion

 I do not think that Chris should EVER see his son at all again. What would he do when his son  asks, "Daddy where's Mommy?" Is he gonna lie or would he say, "Oh, I killed her. It's ok son." He should be stripped of his parental rights and never get to see his son again. I think it is rediculous that a lawer even took his side of the issue. I hope the judge can see that Chris is an unfit father (I understand he was drunk and his wife was dead, while the son was in bed) and keep the kid with his grandma.
October 4, 2006, 12:38 pm CDT

Teenager-your mother tried!

I know that this mother really loves you and cares about you.  She heard you, obviously the state didn't!  Brittany, let your mother in your heart.  Do you have any idea what it takes to fight for custody?  If you don't think that she fought hard enough...then means that your mother protected you from the ugly, scary information that she obviously brought to the state's light....for she FINALLY won custody for you!  I have a GREAT deal of trust in Dr. Phil.  Let him help you bond back to your mother.  Mom, I am a high-school English teacher.  Your daughter is dealing with being a teenager on top of this issue.  You have a great deal to shoulder. I feel for you, but love her, love her, love her, and love youself!!!! You are INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!  Hooray for you!!! I can see, just looking at you, how wonderful you are!!!!!  Hang in there!!!!!  Mom, another thing, Brittany and you are doing the BEST you guys can do!  Keep that in mind.  Now, for your new husband HOORAY FOR HIM TOO!!!!!!!!!  Kudos to him!!!!!

October 4, 2006, 12:44 pm CDT

I agree

Quote From: mscynical

I am shocked that giving him custody would even be an option!  He beat the mother with a phone until the receiver broke in half and people think that's ok?!?!  Would you want your child living with a man like that?  I cannot believe the system failed so much that he was let out of jail after such a short period of time.  He committed a violent act that resulted in the ending of a life!  Drug dealers get more time than that.  People who receive stolen goods get more time than that.  He should be sitting in prison not calling the woman who raised his son because he murdered the child's mother names and trying to make her look paranoid. 


And I am shocked at Dr. Phil's attitude and the way he kept saying the grandmother "thinks" or "feels" this man killed her daughter.  No he KILLED her.  There is no thinking about it.  He went to jail for it.  And although he went the chicken way out and went with a no contest plea, he still served time for her death.  He murdered her.  There is no thinking or feeling he did it involved.  He flat out did it.

What is even more heinous about his attitude is he does not take responsibility for the mother's death. He blames her for not going with the medics. His atty blames the doctors for not seeing mortal danger related to her injury.


They both take offense to Grandma's use of the word "crushed". Crushed or fractured, he hit her with tremendous force in the head and she died because of his decision to do so. I agree with a previous poster, what would he do when the kid gets to be teen-aged? 


As Dr. Phil says, past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior.


October 4, 2006, 12:59 pm CDT

One other & daughter

Mom, you are very close to the situation.  What I am saying is that Brittany knows that you understand the situation, and you are the only one she can sound off about her feelings.  Dr. Phil said that the most intimate you guys can be is being "emotionally transparent."  It is very comfortable to shelter yourself, but it is lonely there.  Be in the moment!!!  Open up, don't rush to go somewhere, and start to talk.  Brittany is very sad, hurt and choked up.  It will take awhile to get through a conversation, just because her emotions are so very raw!!!!!  She may have a cry out until she can make a coherent conversation!!!!!  I feel for her!  Ugh....bless both of your hearts!!!  But, I really believe that you two will get through this....Brittany may be thirty when it all comes to light and she feels better, but she will get there!  Also, as you know, Brittany has had to take on an adult role before she came to you!!!!!  Remember that!!!!  You did it right, you saved her.  Let her find you, in her time and in her own way, she will see you as the soft place to fall!  Eventually she will!!!!!
October 4, 2006, 1:07 pm CDT

Making it day by day

I lost my children to a man who was convicted domestic violence. It will be a year in Nov. and I have my good days and I have my bad days. One of the hardest things to overcome is how society looks at women who have lost there children. The first qusetion they think is what did you do to loose them. I want to change this sterotypical mindset. Todays court system does not favor women like they used to and when you go into a coustody battle its a 50/50 chance. Sometimes the courts are right and sometimes they are not. I believe there are great fathers out there who would do a better job raising the children. Unfortunaltly money does make a difference and so does who you know. But I have decided to take matters in my own hand, I went back to school to get my law degree, so I can help people in my postion. I have also set a theroy that I really believe will help in coustody battles. Nine times out of ten coustdy battles raise form bitter feelings. You cannot make dections for your children when you are so emotionally involved. This is the reason we have courts and attorneys. I believe we should shed light on the parents who both make an attempt to get along for the sake of the children.. I personally know how hard it is, but it can be done.
October 4, 2006, 1:09 pm CDT

Custody by Chris

If the courts found Chris was responsible for the death of his wife then I feel that Chris should not teach his son the same violence by getting custody of his son.When Chris caused the death of his wife then he should have lost all rights to his son.I think Chris should be please that his son is getting such wonderful care and love by his ex mother-in-law. I would not want my son going to my husband if my husband caused my death.
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