DR Family Custody and Divorce, 2: Chris

Chris’ Side of the Story

Dr. Phil asks Chris if he is ready to see a video diary Alex recorded about him. Chris agrees.


"I don't trust him with our daughter," Alex says. "He left so many times while she was little. He left me with a broken back and a 6-month-old baby to go drink at a bar all day long. He lied to me, told me he was going to work. While she was little, he used to leave all the time and not come back and go on drinking binges and drug binges for days at a time. I would have to literally go find him, so obviously, his family wasn't priority. So I don't know why, all of a sudden, he wants to be a 'dad.'"


Alex says their daughter, Leilah, deserves better. "There's no way he could take care of her, ever," she says. "She just has so much that she needs, and patience, and somebody who can understand what she needs and wants, and he can't do that. He can't give her what a mommy can."


Chris responds, "It breaks my heart."


"You think you can provide for this child?" Dr. Phil asks. 


"I know I can. I had been providing for her before I got locked up," he says. "I understand I got locked up, and that was not a smart choice, but everybody makes mistakes, you know, and I'm ready to look forward."


"You said, 'Everybody makes mistakes.' Are you making another one now?" Dr. Phil asks. He wants to know if Chris has thought about the situation through the Leilah's eyes. "Have you looked at this through her point of view and asked yourself what she deserves, and are you it?"


[AD]"I've tried, but I don't know my daughter right now. I've been gone for 10 months," he says.


"This is an innocent child with no voice, no ability to say what she wants or needs," Dr. Phil reminds Chris. "She needs to know that there is stability. She needs to be free of fighting, and yelling and screaming. She needs to have a routine where she wakes up everyday with predictability. When a hand is reached out to her, she needs to not question whether it is going to bring pain or comfort. She needs to know that her mother and father love her and will protect her, that there's somebody around to run the business of the family."

"All I can give you is my word," Chris says.


"You gave the court your word. They said, 'I will let you out if you will follow these rules,' and you stood there in court under oath and said, 'Yes, I will do that,'" Dr. Phil reminds him.


"I made a mistake," Chris maintains.


"Have you abused Alex?" Dr. Phil asks.


"No, sir. I have not," Chris replies. "I've never raised my hand at her." He adds that Alex gave him a black eye.


"Have you ever pushed her?" Dr. Phil asks.


[AD]"I moved her out of my way," Chris says, noting that he's never dragged her by her hair, punched or kicked her.


Chris admits he was violent with a man on the road, and that's how he landed in jail.


"You're a father," Dr. Phil says, "and you've got to leave that behind."


"Yes, sir," Chris says. "I don't hate Alex. I don't dislike her. I still love her. I'm not in love with her, and I want a healthy relationship with her for my daughter. I learned in parenting class that a child, even Nathan, needs a stable father and a stable mother, together or not. I learned that. I know that now and I respect that, and that's what I'm looking for."

Dr. Phil asks Erin, "Do you have any evidence that he's ever been violent with your daughter?"


"I've seen Chris lose his temper in their spats. I've never seen him lay a hand on her, ever, and Alexandra never said anything to me while they were married or together that he's laid a hand on her," she says. "However, I do know that Chris has a temper, and he did call me some really bad names one night when I intervened in a discussion he was having with Katherine."


Dr. Phil asks Chris, "Are you doing any drugs?"

"No, sir," he says but admits he's had a few drinks since being released. 


"You can pass a drug screening?" Dr. Phil probes.

"Yes, sir. I'm planning on it," he says.


[AD]"Are you willing to go through whatever counseling, whatever parenting classes, whatever things that might be in order to put you in the best possible position to be in this child's life?" Dr. Phil asks.


"Yes, 100 percent," he says. "My main goal in life right now is my daughter. I haven't seen her since I've been out. I don't know where Alex is. I barely have her number, and when I call her, I've talked to her probably 60 seconds in the past two weeks, and that ends with her hanging up on me."