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Topic : 03/23 Nasty Custody Battles

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Created on : Friday, January 06, 2006, 01:41:19 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 01/09/06) If you’re getting a divorce, or even considering one, and you have kids, don't miss this show! Dr. Phil talks to parents who are embroiled in bitter custody battles, leaving their innocent children caught in the crossfire. Scott is tired of fighting with his ex-wife, Tiffany, over visitation of their two sons. The bickering has gotten so bad that Tiffany claims Scott spit on her during a recent encounter. Can they learn to respect each other for the sake of their kids? Plus, Angela says her ex-husband, Chris's violent past and brushes with the law have her so scared that she refuses to let him near their 7-year-old daughter. Does a man with Chris’s past deserve a second chance to be a father? Share your thoughts.

 

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January 7, 2006, 6:05 pm CST

Custody

Hi,  

  

I was married to a divorced man, he had two daughters.  One thing that I did to make the transition easier (we had them every second weekend).   I was friendly with their mother.  The one thing that I appreciated was once the girls left their house, their mom would not do anything.  There was one weekend they came over and it was snowing so I called the girls and told them to bring their snow pants.   They forgot them and I told them that they couldn't go out, their mother was there and they turned to her and "mom its not fair"  she just told them that I did call them and tell to bring their snow pants so as far as she was concerned she just turned her head and said "I'm not here" you deal with what you did" and then she left.  So during the time that we had the girls over, sometimes their mother stayed for dinner, sometimes not.  I found that once you put you feelings aside, you can make things a little bit easier for the children.   Just remember its not you or your ex that is hurting....ITS THE CHILDREN.    You have to find some way to get along for the children's sake....please 

  

Pandas 

 
January 7, 2006, 9:53 pm CST

01/09 Juicy Custody Battles

Quote From: pandas

Hi,  

  

I was married to a divorced man, he had two daughters.  One thing that I did to make the transition easier (we had them every second weekend).   I was friendly with their mother.  The one thing that I appreciated was once the girls left their house, their mom would not do anything.  There was one weekend they came over and it was snowing so I called the girls and told them to bring their snow pants.   They forgot them and I told them that they couldn't go out, their mother was there and they turned to her and "mom its not fair"  she just told them that I did call them and tell to bring their snow pants so as far as she was concerned she just turned her head and said "I'm not here" you deal with what you did" and then she left.  So during the time that we had the girls over, sometimes their mother stayed for dinner, sometimes not.  I found that once you put you feelings aside, you can make things a little bit easier for the children.   Just remember its not you or your ex that is hurting....ITS THE CHILDREN.    You have to find some way to get along for the children's sake....please 

  

Pandas 

Pandas,  

I admire you! In my case, I am the mother (the ex)  with 2 kids. My ex and his wife live out of state, but they are regularly involved in the kids lives. And the one thing I have tried to do is always be friendly with their stepmom. Initially, it was just because I did not want her to take any resentment she may have of me out on the kids. And then, when I saw how relaxed and happy it made the kids to see us getting along, it just became natural. We joke, we laugh, we eat out together, we sit together at the kids sporting events, we have even been thrift store shopping and prom dress shopping together! I buy cards and gifts for the kids to give her for special events. Once when there was a problem with one of the kids, the four of us (me, ex, stepmom and child) sat down and talked it out as a single family unit.  Just this past week, when I met their stepmom to exchange the kids after a week long break, I spontaneously gave her a big hug and said "Happy New Year" as I would with any other friend, without even thinking twice about it.  She has no biological children of her own, but I truly appreciate the love and devotion she has shown my kids.  

  

So, since Pandas spoke representing the stepmoms, I'm speaking to represent the exes (biological moms). Put your children FIRST, ahead of any hate, bitterness, resentment, whatever you may feel. Your children are innocent victims and they deserve parents and step parents who are looking out for their best interest!! 

  

Robyn 

 
January 8, 2006, 12:08 am CST

Bitter Ex.....

My husband's ex wife is so bitter toward my husband for leaving her -- and subsequently marrying me -- she says and does things to the children to intentionally hurt my husband and his relationship with his little ones. 

  

A little background:  My husband left his first wife when she was about 5 months pregnant with their youngest child.  Granted, it was probably not the best time -- but there were extenuating circumstances.  I met him shortly after he left.  She blames me for the break up of their marriage.  She says (and possible, she's right) that if he hadn't met me, they would have reconciled.  The fact remains, they married young, because she was pregnant with their oldest, everyone told him not to marry her and they had split up and gotten back together several times before.  The end of the marriage was inevitable. (Thats the short version).   That was more than 4 years ago.  In that 4 years, she has spoken to him less than a half dozen times (no exaggeration!).   She refuses to speak to him about anything, including the children, their education, time with them, etc.   

  

Recently, we movd from NC to WA.  His children are in OR.  So we are now 200 miles, door to door from them.  My husband is asking for more time.  She said she is remarried now, her new husband is the kids dad (she has even told his kids, now 8, 6 and 3, that they MUST call her husband "Daddy" and my husband "Mike" in her presence; that he is not their Daddy anymore because he left "them"), so they do not need any more time than the 30 days a year he had while living across the country.  (He is military, so that was feasible, at the time).  It's back in court and we'll find out what the judge says on the 25th. 

  

Meanwhile, his 3 year old daughter told him last Sunday "You're dumb.  I don't love you anymore.  I have a mommy and a daddy here, I don't need you!"   She then got on the phone with me and said "I don't think I should come to your house anymore!"  When I asked her why not, she said "Because you're dumb and I don't love you!"  I said, "Well, I love you, and I would like you to come to our house again."  To which she replied, "I can't!  It makes my mom mad!"  Hmmmmmm  wonder where she got that! 

  

I have tried to stay out of things with his ex and him.  I type and mail letters for him, because I have an office job and can do things that he can't, due to his job.  I also help him with his legal stuff because we can no longer afford the attorney and I was going to law school before we moved.  I don't speak to her, don't say anything bad to her or about her in front of the kids.  She has no issue with me other than that her husband married me after divorcing her.  She, on the other hand, has told the children horrible things about me, my husband, our families, etc.  

  

So.....what do you do about a biological parent who does not want to "share" the children with the other biological parent and who twists the kids up just to hurt their dad?  How do you handle a situation like this when you see your husband hurting so bad because his 6 year old hasn't gotten on the phone with him for 6 weeks now because "You're mean and  I don't want to talk to you!", and his mother won't get on the phone with his dad to try to gt to the bottom of WHY he is saying that?  What do you say to your husband when he says "I give up!  I might as well just stop calling and trying to see them!  They don't love me anymore!  They don't want me around anyway!"  Especially when you KNOW that's not true -- that they are just saying what their mother wants thm to!  What do you do??? 

  

Anyone? 

  

Erin 

 
January 8, 2006, 5:16 am CST

Think of the children first

I am really worried when I see how Divirces and custody battles are influencing the children.  We, adults tend to think more about ourselves than to think of the best for our children. Sometimes we are angry and we sometimes also have reason to worry, and that is when I believe that we forget to seek solutions. we are getting blind and the only right way is ours.  

Think of the children first.  

The ones who is suffering the most is the children, let us act like grown ups and get together and find solutions that will help the children in an, for them already bad situation! :o) 

 
January 8, 2006, 6:23 am CST

Custody

Quote From: robbie_sue

Pandas,  

I admire you! In my case, I am the mother (the ex)  with 2 kids. My ex and his wife live out of state, but they are regularly involved in the kids lives. And the one thing I have tried to do is always be friendly with their stepmom. Initially, it was just because I did not want her to take any resentment she may have of me out on the kids. And then, when I saw how relaxed and happy it made the kids to see us getting along, it just became natural. We joke, we laugh, we eat out together, we sit together at the kids sporting events, we have even been thrift store shopping and prom dress shopping together! I buy cards and gifts for the kids to give her for special events. Once when there was a problem with one of the kids, the four of us (me, ex, stepmom and child) sat down and talked it out as a single family unit.  Just this past week, when I met their stepmom to exchange the kids after a week long break, I spontaneously gave her a big hug and said "Happy New Year" as I would with any other friend, without even thinking twice about it.  She has no biological children of her own, but I truly appreciate the love and devotion she has shown my kids.  

  

So, since Pandas spoke representing the stepmoms, I'm speaking to represent the exes (biological moms). Put your children FIRST, ahead of any hate, bitterness, resentment, whatever you may feel. Your children are innocent victims and they deserve parents and step parents who are looking out for their best interest!! 

  

Robyn 

Robbie Sue,  

  

I completely agree with you, it works both ways, the mom (biological), stepmom and ex .  When you do argue about anything or want to be picky, its the children that get hurt in the crossfire.  As you said you made the new stepmom you friend, just as I did with the biological mom.  When people fight, who can the kids trust?  One is calling the other names, no one comes in to stop all the name calling.  Remember kids hear everything.  The children have to come first in anything.  I also had no children of my own.  So I guess you could say you and I are on the same page. 

  

Thanks 

Pandas 

 
January 8, 2006, 8:24 am CST

01/09 Juicy Custody Battles

Being a stepmom has been one of the most challenging things in my life.  I have a friend that is also a stepmom and I don't know sometimes what I would have done without her.  When things get really crazy and stressful, it helps to have someone to talk to that is going through it.  People that have never been a stepparent, don't understand.  My husband has a 13 year old daughter that lives with her mother and new stepdad just 30 miles away.  Things have been better since she moved to the next town, but we still have issues frequently.  My husband's ex is very manipulating with people and uses her daughter in the mix.  She is a big party goer and one of our biggest fears is that my stepdaughter is going to be wild and manipulative, too.  She is already showing signs of sneaking behavior.  We try to get along with the ex, but some people are just not logical.  She spends her time trying to cause conflict.  She likes turmoil.  I know that there are a lot of fathers who don't show responsibility for their children, but my husband is a very good father and wants what is best for his daughter.  We have tried to gain custody, but back away to save hurting his daughter more.  She is not supervised and doesn't get the attention she needs.  She is at a critical age, and we worry a lot.  So far, the best thing we know to do is just try our best to get along with the ex, not communicate anymore than we have to, and enjoy every minute with my stepdaughter we can.  We have to be the parents in her life and it is very difficult when we only see her part of the time.  If I could win the lottery, I would fight for responsble dads to have more rights.  The law is definitely not on their side.
 
January 8, 2006, 10:25 am CST

Custody

Quote From: abbiedeen

My husband's ex wife is so bitter toward my husband for leaving her -- and subsequently marrying me -- she says and does things to the children to intentionally hurt my husband and his relationship with his little ones. 

  

A little background:  My husband left his first wife when she was about 5 months pregnant with their youngest child.  Granted, it was probably not the best time -- but there were extenuating circumstances.  I met him shortly after he left.  She blames me for the break up of their marriage.  She says (and possible, she's right) that if he hadn't met me, they would have reconciled.  The fact remains, they married young, because she was pregnant with their oldest, everyone told him not to marry her and they had split up and gotten back together several times before.  The end of the marriage was inevitable. (Thats the short version).   That was more than 4 years ago.  In that 4 years, she has spoken to him less than a half dozen times (no exaggeration!).   She refuses to speak to him about anything, including the children, their education, time with them, etc.   

  

Recently, we movd from NC to WA.  His children are in OR.  So we are now 200 miles, door to door from them.  My husband is asking for more time.  She said she is remarried now, her new husband is the kids dad (she has even told his kids, now 8, 6 and 3, that they MUST call her husband "Daddy" and my husband "Mike" in her presence; that he is not their Daddy anymore because he left "them"), so they do not need any more time than the 30 days a year he had while living across the country.  (He is military, so that was feasible, at the time).  It's back in court and we'll find out what the judge says on the 25th. 

  

Meanwhile, his 3 year old daughter told him last Sunday "You're dumb.  I don't love you anymore.  I have a mommy and a daddy here, I don't need you!"   She then got on the phone with me and said "I don't think I should come to your house anymore!"  When I asked her why not, she said "Because you're dumb and I don't love you!"  I said, "Well, I love you, and I would like you to come to our house again."  To which she replied, "I can't!  It makes my mom mad!"  Hmmmmmm  wonder where she got that! 

  

I have tried to stay out of things with his ex and him.  I type and mail letters for him, because I have an office job and can do things that he can't, due to his job.  I also help him with his legal stuff because we can no longer afford the attorney and I was going to law school before we moved.  I don't speak to her, don't say anything bad to her or about her in front of the kids.  She has no issue with me other than that her husband married me after divorcing her.  She, on the other hand, has told the children horrible things about me, my husband, our families, etc.  

  

So.....what do you do about a biological parent who does not want to "share" the children with the other biological parent and who twists the kids up just to hurt their dad?  How do you handle a situation like this when you see your husband hurting so bad because his 6 year old hasn't gotten on the phone with him for 6 weeks now because "You're mean and  I don't want to talk to you!", and his mother won't get on the phone with his dad to try to gt to the bottom of WHY he is saying that?  What do you say to your husband when he says "I give up!  I might as well just stop calling and trying to see them!  They don't love me anymore!  They don't want me around anyway!"  Especially when you KNOW that's not true -- that they are just saying what their mother wants thm to!  What do you do??? 

  

Anyone? 

  

Erin 

Erin, I admire you and your husband for lasting this long.  I was never in that perdicament.  My real dad left when my mom was pregnant.  The dad that I grew up with was my stepfather, both families got along great.   My biological father, has never even tried to reach me.  The only thing that he did that was good was leave when my mom was pregnant.  My biological father took one of my brothers with him  and for the first time the whole family met the oldest of our family when i was 14.  It was strange to see him because we all look alike.  So for your perdicament, the best thing that I can think of is go to court, but leave the kids with a babysitter unless the judge wants to talk to them.  The children should not be in the middle as they are now.  Your husbands ex is making the children call their stepfather "daddy" which is not right at all.  My two stepdaughters asked me WHAT I wanted them to call me, I told them anything you want.  I also told them that by no means am I taking the place of their mother.  I  told them as close that I can come to that is being your friend and stepmother.  That seemed to the kids at ease....maybe try something like that but only to the ex, she might think that you and your husband want to take the kids from here.    Letters don't always work.  I feel for you both, I cannot even think, of doing to those little children who need their biological dad.   

  

I hope everything works out for you and your husband 

  

Pandas (Cheryl)  

 
January 8, 2006, 11:26 am CST

Take the high road and be persistant

Quote From: abbiedeen

My husband's ex wife is so bitter toward my husband for leaving her -- and subsequently marrying me -- she says and does things to the children to intentionally hurt my husband and his relationship with his little ones. 

  

A little background:  My husband left his first wife when she was about 5 months pregnant with their youngest child.  Granted, it was probably not the best time -- but there were extenuating circumstances.  I met him shortly after he left.  She blames me for the break up of their marriage.  She says (and possible, she's right) that if he hadn't met me, they would have reconciled.  The fact remains, they married young, because she was pregnant with their oldest, everyone told him not to marry her and they had split up and gotten back together several times before.  The end of the marriage was inevitable. (Thats the short version).   That was more than 4 years ago.  In that 4 years, she has spoken to him less than a half dozen times (no exaggeration!).   She refuses to speak to him about anything, including the children, their education, time with them, etc.   

  

Recently, we movd from NC to WA.  His children are in OR.  So we are now 200 miles, door to door from them.  My husband is asking for more time.  She said she is remarried now, her new husband is the kids dad (she has even told his kids, now 8, 6 and 3, that they MUST call her husband "Daddy" and my husband "Mike" in her presence; that he is not their Daddy anymore because he left "them"), so they do not need any more time than the 30 days a year he had while living across the country.  (He is military, so that was feasible, at the time).  It's back in court and we'll find out what the judge says on the 25th. 

  

Meanwhile, his 3 year old daughter told him last Sunday "You're dumb.  I don't love you anymore.  I have a mommy and a daddy here, I don't need you!"   She then got on the phone with me and said "I don't think I should come to your house anymore!"  When I asked her why not, she said "Because you're dumb and I don't love you!"  I said, "Well, I love you, and I would like you to come to our house again."  To which she replied, "I can't!  It makes my mom mad!"  Hmmmmmm  wonder where she got that! 

  

I have tried to stay out of things with his ex and him.  I type and mail letters for him, because I have an office job and can do things that he can't, due to his job.  I also help him with his legal stuff because we can no longer afford the attorney and I was going to law school before we moved.  I don't speak to her, don't say anything bad to her or about her in front of the kids.  She has no issue with me other than that her husband married me after divorcing her.  She, on the other hand, has told the children horrible things about me, my husband, our families, etc.  

  

So.....what do you do about a biological parent who does not want to "share" the children with the other biological parent and who twists the kids up just to hurt their dad?  How do you handle a situation like this when you see your husband hurting so bad because his 6 year old hasn't gotten on the phone with him for 6 weeks now because "You're mean and  I don't want to talk to you!", and his mother won't get on the phone with his dad to try to gt to the bottom of WHY he is saying that?  What do you say to your husband when he says "I give up!  I might as well just stop calling and trying to see them!  They don't love me anymore!  They don't want me around anyway!"  Especially when you KNOW that's not true -- that they are just saying what their mother wants thm to!  What do you do??? 

  

Anyone? 

  

Erin 

First: your husband needs to exhaust all possible way he can to make his ex feel better. 

The fact is that Mom is still very hurt by what your husband did.  Until Mom has those feeling acknowledged getting mom to be reasonable is not going to happen.  The apology and acknowledgement of the pain your husband caused her had to be just that.  It should not include any excuses for his actions or requests for change.  He needs to sincerely apologize without any expectations on his part for her to change.  He needs to apologize for the pure reason that what he did was wrong and hurtful to both her and the kids.  I would suggest he do it in writing with help from a counselor and be careful to not put anything in the letter that can be used against him in court.  If possible he should have joint counseling with his ex to allow for this to happen face to face. 

Second: understand that calling the kids and acknowledging that they are important to you is the only reason you call.  There should be no other agenda.  Expect nothing in return and just understand that by your husband doing this he is giving his kids a precious gift regardless of how they receive it. 

Third: Make it clear to both kids and Mom that visitation is not optional.  Kids have no choice period.  Even if they put up a fuss they go.  If Mom interferes then use the police.  Force all court ordered visitation.  The kids are young enough that if you get this settled now the court will back you up.  Now it the time to set this in stone and not budge at all about this.  If there is an important even that the kids really need to attend get a hotel and stay there with the kids and take them to the event yourselfs.   

Fourth: Have as much visitation as possible. 

Fifth: acknowledge the kids feelings but don’t try to change them. 

Sixth: Don’t use the kids a go betweens.  If Mom won’t talk get separate school conferences and use a mediator to discuss any issues that need to be resolved.    

Seventh: If you think that your presents at pick up and drop off is antagonistic then stay home or have him leave you at a nearby Starbucks (I hear you have lots of them up there) and pick you up on the way home.  If you husband is antagonistic then do the pass off at a public location or have a third party handle the pass off. 

Eighth:  and most important always be positive don’t talk to Mom in front of the kids if she can’t be so also.  Just pick up with as few words as possible.  Don’t take about mom when you have the kids and don’t debrief the kids.  Stay in the present. 

 
January 8, 2006, 11:49 am CST

Family Law Reform

As long as family laws enable parents to do this to their kids and each other how will it stop?  We desperately need reform in the present family law system to prevent vindictive parents doing this to their most precious marital asset, their children.  The law must do all it can to ensure parental conflict is minimized and encourage parents to work together apart to share the  responsibilities of raising their children amicably after divorce.  If you are interested in playing a part in reform contact me offlist. : )
 
January 8, 2006, 12:18 pm CST

01/09 Juicy Custody Battles

Quote From: pandas

Hi,  

  

I was married to a divorced man, he had two daughters.  One thing that I did to make the transition easier (we had them every second weekend).   I was friendly with their mother.  The one thing that I appreciated was once the girls left their house, their mom would not do anything.  There was one weekend they came over and it was snowing so I called the girls and told them to bring their snow pants.   They forgot them and I told them that they couldn't go out, their mother was there and they turned to her and "mom its not fair"  she just told them that I did call them and tell to bring their snow pants so as far as she was concerned she just turned her head and said "I'm not here" you deal with what you did" and then she left.  So during the time that we had the girls over, sometimes their mother stayed for dinner, sometimes not.  I found that once you put you feelings aside, you can make things a little bit easier for the children.   Just remember its not you or your ex that is hurting....ITS THE CHILDREN.    You have to find some way to get along for the children's sake....please 

  

Pandas 

I totally agree with you Panda and KUDOS to you for being so supportive with your husband and his ex in co parenting the kids!  Unfortunately, sometimes one parent will not agree to co parent and want to have custody of the children.  Thats when these senseless custody battles ensue.  What choice do you have if you don't engage you become a non custodial parent at the mercy of the other parent, who may choose to use the children as a get even tool against you or you can give in and end up in the same boat, a visitor in your children's lives and a child support check each month.  Non custodial parents have no rights, unless a custodial parents allows them some.  I believe children need BOTH parents and that BOTH parents should be treated equally under the law!  This does not mean that we split children 50/50 what it means is we tell parents to get along and make parenting plans and treat each other with dignity and respect! Love your children more than you hate your ex!  We need to have laws that protect children from toxic, vindictive, custodial parents that abuse custodial powers.  They shouldn't have those powers in the first place! 
 
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