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.

The Aftermath




Dr. Phil asks family law attorney, Barbara Kauffman, "What's going on?"

Barbara says, "First of all, she went in to get a restraining order, and she's a victim of domestic violence. In what other system does the victim have to prosecute the criminal? In family law, you do. She had been threatened. Her child was threatened. She had to prove the case. She goes in and says, ‘Please protect me,' and she doesn't know how. It's he said/she said. In Katie's case, she did everything she possibly could."

She explains that after Katie was told to work out visitation with Stephen on her own " which she agreed to do after her first court appearance " the next judge is going to use that against her. "The next judge is going to say, ‘Well, Ma'am, you agreed. How dangerous could he be? You agreed.' They're not going to believe her," she says.

Barbara also points out that Katie is not familiar with the court system, doesn't know how to submit evidence, and wouldn't know to call the police officer who helped her to testify, all of which make it very unfair to mothers in court trying to protect their children. "It was a five-minute hearing " a death threat of a little baby," she says. "The system completely failed that baby and that mother. She did everything she could. It needs to get into criminal court. It needs to be treated like a crime and not like a family matter. The system is really broken, and her baby got a five-minute hearing after a death threat, and that's a crime."

"It is outrageous. Absolutely outrageous," Dr. Phil says.

Dr. Phil speaks out about the family court system.


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