DP Family Returns: Custody Battles: Nathan

Custody of Nathan

"The judge's ruling on Nathan really took Marty and I by complete surprise. It was decided that Nathan should go and live with his biological father," Erin reveals. "He was born here. Nathan is like our son. I mean, this is his home."

 

"I don't think that living with his father is a better situation than living with my mom," Alex says. "I spoke with Nathan about living with his dad, and he said, ‘I want to live with you, and Grammy and Grampy, and I want to visit Daddy on the weekends.'"

 

"It's very quiet without Nathan here with his friends, and making noise and playing G.I. Joe and trucks. We're going to really miss that a lot," a somber Erin says. "There's just that void. There's an emptiness there ... This has been his life, and this is what he knows, and instead, he's going to school now at a new school, with people that he doesn't know." Fighting her emotions, Erin continues. "We both cried, and we're both just heartbroken that our little grandson isn't here anymore," she shares. "I have not allowed Nathan to see me be upset at all, about his leaving, because I want Nathan to see this as a good thing. We miss him terribly."

 

In the studio, Dr. Phil asks Erin how Nathan is faring since the transition and how often she and Marty visit him.

[AD]"It's up to his father as to when we can see him," Erin says, becoming emotional. "We get to see him, maybe, every other weekend. He's supposed to see Leilah three times a week for an hour and a half. My concern is that I see some acting out with Nathan now. He's very angry and he wasn't like that before." But she adds that the boy enjoys being with his dad and grandparents.

"Is he better off with his grandparents than he would be with Alex?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think that Alexandra is making some really big changes in her life. When she is finished doing everything she needs to be doing, Alexandra will be the better parent for Nathan," Erin says.

It was only after Nathan was born that his 15-year-old father made the decision to exercise his paternal rights. Dr. Phil plays a clip from what he, Erin and Alexandra had to say six years ago.

 

"I am the father of the child. The baby is mine," Nathan's father says. "I want to be there financially, mentally and physically in the baby's life. I'm going to do whatever possible to take care of it."

 

"He sees it as a status symbol," Erin says. "I  honestly do not think that Nathan's father wants to take care of him."

 

[AD]"If he really wants to provide for the baby, get a job," Alex says. "I think he's a selfish little twit."

 

"I would like to try to be his mentor, to be his role model, to be his father in every aspect of his life," Nathan's father says. "Nathan is mine. I want to be as best a father as I can."

 

Six years ago, the Dr. Phil show also spoke with Nathan's grandmother, Diane, who, back then, had a different opinion regarding the custody of her grandson. "All we ever asked for was visitation rights. We never indicated we wanted the baby," Diane said. 

When the tape ends, Dr. Phil asks Erin, "Why do you suppose they changed their mind about custody?"

"Originally, when they said that they would take custody of Nathan, it was so that Nathan could remain in our home and continue the same life that he has always known," she explains. When Nathan's father was applying for custody, Erin suggested they file for joint custody so that no one could remove Nathan from his home. "That was the turning point."

Erin grows emotional as she describes losing Nathan.

 

"Do you have a relationship with the other grandmother?" Dr. Phil asks.

"For a long time, we had a great relationship, but it's changed, and apparently, their agenda was to have Nathan live with them the entire time," Erin says.