The Show

Crisis in Family Court

Dr. Phil shines a light on the American family court system, and how often it fails its citizens. From restraining orders to custody battles, hear heartbreaking stories that many say prove the system needs a major overhaul.

Failed by the System




Dr. Phil offers his condolences to Katie and her mother, Maria. He points out that Katie had evidence with her to show the judge " texts, e-mails and the like " to prove Stephen was unstable and dangerous.

"Every time I went into the court, they just ignored it," she says.

Dr. Phil reviews the court transcript detailing what happened during Katie's last meeting with Judge Lemkau.


"At that point, you're out of options, right?" Dr. Phil asks. To Maria he says, "You saw this coming as well. You knew there was a credible threat here."

"Yes," she says. "With a protective order as evidence, a police report as evidence, a text message on my phone that backed up the e-mail, we figured that was enough evidence. Obviously, he did not read it."

"[Stephen] wrote you a suicide note, which I have here, and it just goes on, page after page after page, which suggests to me, from a psychological perspective, that if you dug very deep with this person, you would find a lot of this sort of unedited anger and bitterness. I'm just saying, I don't know that this isn't knowable," Dr. Phil tells them.

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