DP Family Divorce and Custody, 2: Alex

Tough Questions for Alex

During the commercial break, Dr. Phil goes backstage to speak with Alex. Tension is in the air as he asks her if she will join him onstage, assuring her that she would not run into Chris, who was being sequestered in a different building. Alex agrees to join Dr. Phil.


"At this point, you have some important choices to make," Dr. Phil says. He tells her that she must genuinely be in a solid position when she is evaluated by the court and be able to prove that she's a fit mother, that her children are safe in her care and that they are going to be raised in a positive environment. "You get that, right?"

"Yes," Alex replies.


"Do you think you present a good front on that at this point, or do you think that it can be improved?" Dr. Phil asks.


[AD]Alex says she can improve her life. "I need to find a full-time job. I'm sure that I need to go to counseling, you know, take some parenting classes and put my best foot forward," she says.

"You seem to think that everybody, maybe even me, is against Anthony being in your life. I don't know the guy. If he's a support for you, if he's good to you, if he treats you well, if he treats the children well, if he's a responsible citizen and does the right sort of things and that's who you want to be with, I'm all for it, as long as he's healthy, and safe and responsible," Dr. Phil says. "It's not for anybody to pick that person other than you, but you have to understand that when you're evaluated, everybody that's in your life is going to be evaluated."

Dr. Phil reminds Alex that she is going to have to have a relationship with Chris, because he is the father of Leilah. He explains that if she's concerned about Chris' behavior, she must take precautions to be separated from him. "You don't have to ever be around him if you don't feel safe. You can ask the court for that. If you share custody of the child, you can transfer the child though a neutral third party. You don't have to ever see him if you don't want to," he says. "But you need to work on you and what you need to do to make sure that you're in the best posture to take care of these children." He asks her if she's using drugs or drinking and if she's willing to take drug tests.


Alex says she's not using substances and would be willing to submit for a test. 


"If that's true, then you know you can demonstrate that to the court, so that's off your list of things to do," Dr. Phil says. "You do need to get a job, and this is going to take some work."


[AD]Dr. Phil addresses Alex's attorney, Lisa March. "If her position is that Chris has been physically abusive to her, then the court would take measures to protect her from being exposed to him, just as we have done here today, correct?" he asks. .


"Yes, exactly," she confirms. "We have supervised visitation centers that will have the visitation there with the minor child, or we can have the exchanges there for the minor child, where the parents do not have to interact at all." 

"You can cross that off your list of concerns," Dr. Phil tells Alex.

Dr. Phil addresses Alex. "My question for you is if you have your priorities in the right position, and this is something you need to ask yourself," he says. "I felt like when you were here before, you were more concerned about how Tony was feeling and reacting to this than you were us talking about what you need to do to get access to your kids." He adds that because he doesn't know Tony, he can't say whether the young man is a positive or negative influence in Alex's life. "I would think that if he really loves and cares for you, he would be saying to you, 'What can I do to help in this situation? What can I do to make sure we're positioned and postured as well as we possibly can to demonstrate that these children have a safe, wonderful environment?' Have you had that conversation with him?"


Alex nods. "He wants to have the children as much as I do. He even said that he would leave if that made it easier," she says, wiping away tears. 


"If he's willing to do that, he may need to live across the street, or in an apartment next door, or a house down the street," Dr. Phil says. "That's something that you need to talk with Lisa about and see what's required for you to get what you want. It's up to you to decide what's most important to you."


"My children are most important to me, but I need people to support me as well. I can't pay the bills by myself. I need somebody there to help me when I get stressed out, to help me with my children when I've had enough," Alex says. "I think that's important for everybody to feel loved and appreciated." 


[AD]"Hopefully you can have somebody who loves and supports you as you love and support your children," Dr. Phil says. "The way to do that is to be really honest with yourself about what you have to do to present a solid home-environment situation for these children. That has to be your number one priority, and if that means you do that with him there, then you do it with him there. If it means you do it with him gone, you do it with him gone." He reiterates that Alex should work with her attorney and the fathers of her children to work out a custody agreement before going to court.

Alex tells Dr. Phil that she needs help finding a job and that she would like to attend counseling with her mother.


"Do you want your mother back in your camp?" Dr. Phil asks.


[AD]"Very much so," she says, fighting back tears. "It hurts me to know that she's on the other side of these issues, to know that she would turn her back on her own child."


"You understand that she feels like she's not turning away from you, she's turning towards Nathan," Dr. Phi says.


"Right, I understand that," she says. "I'm still her daughter."