Ex-spouses Pam and Jim say they’ve spent nearly $1 million combined in a battle for custody of their 9-year-old daughter, Dawn — a seven-year fight that includes multiple arrests, restraining orders and accusations of abuse and molestation. Pam says her ex-husband is a vindictive, narcissistic liar, and she has proof that their daughter is afraid of him. She also claims that Jim abused her for years and is now trying to destroy her life — but is he? Jim says his ex-wife is mentally ill and should not have custody of Dawn. He says Pam has tried to kill him in front of their daughter, and he has proof that she has physically abused Dawn. Can Pam and Jim stop finger-pointing and mud-slinging and do what’s best for their daughter? 

A Contentious History

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“I just want to punch him in the face.”

“If Pamela was on the front lawn dying, I’d probably walk to the phone to dial 911, not run.”

Dr. Phil goes over Pam’s history of alleged assaults and arrests. And, what are the red flags that she saw prior to marrying Jim?

Dr. Phil points out that in Pam and Jim’s nearly $1 million-dollar custody battle, they seem to have forgotten that there’s a child in the middle. He tells Pam that her history with the court doesn’t look good.

Jim says their pediatrician found bruises on their daughter’s arm — proof, he says, that Pam is abusive — a claim that Pam denies.  Pam says she was physically and mentally abused by Jim throughout their entire relationship, which Jim denies.

Unfounded Accusations?

Dr. Phil explains what it means when a court assigns parent coordinators to a custody battle, and he issues a warning to Jim.

Pam says their daughter gets scared before having to go to her dad’s house. “I see her personality start to change. In front of her dad, she’s very withdrawn,” she says. On the contrary, Jim says he thinks their daughter is afraid of her mother, adding, "I have seen her turning into a nervous little kid who fears her mother might kick in the door again."

Pam says their daughter has sent her texts, asking to be picked up because Jim called her a “* word kid.” Jim denies the accusation and says their daughter must be lying — something she may have learned from Pam.

Dr. Phil cautions the couple against making unfounded accusations in a custody battle. He reads the results of a polygraph test that Pam agreed to take, due to the allegations of abuse against her.

Pam answered no to the following questions: “Have you ever deliberately injured your daughter, causing a bruise on her body?” And “Since her birth, have you ever deliberately injured your daughter, which resulted in a bruise on her body?”
The results: Not deceptive. Jim is still doubtful.

In Dangerous Waters

“I’ve got to tell you, I’m scared for both of you.”

Dr. Phil uncovers a secret that Pam's been keeping from Jim.

Dr. Phil explains three things the exes need to do:  1.) Step up and be the hero in the situation — it doesn’t matter who is right. 2.) Choose not to react to the other person. "One log won't burn," he says. 3.) Support their daughter’s relationship with the other parent. “These are three critical gifts you can give to your family and to your daughter. Please hear that. If you do, a hush can fall over this situation.”