Parental Alienation: Lawyers

The Lawyers Weigh in
Dr. Phil introduces family attorney and women's advocate Areva Martin, who addresses Chrissy's position. Attorney and CBS legal analyst Lisa Bloom weighs in on Dennis's side.
 
"Where are we here?" Dr. Phil asks Areva.
 
"What I see is a mom who's fighting really hard for her kids, and she's lost custody of them. She only sees them twice a month, and she's responding to what her daughter is saying. She's in conflict. Chrissy has got to get control of herself. She has to stop fighting with Gina, Gina has to stop fighting with Chrissy, and they have to put these children first. We don't see that happening yet," Areva answers. "The judge is never going to give to custody to Chrissy until that happens." Areva suggests that Chrissy take parenting classes and get counseling to prove her stability.
 
[AD]"There's been a big controversy in a lot of states about whether there is a parental alienation syndrome that actually impacts children as a syndrome. I don't believe that's true. The APA doesn't recognize parental alienation syndrome," Dr. Phil reveals. 
 
Lisa weighs in. "What I see consistently is a concern for the children, that the children need to feel loved, that they need not to be alienated from any of the four of you, that they need positive messages," she says. She addresses Gina. "I commend you and Dennis for that. I think that you have given them a stable home over the last year and a half. You have not moved. You've kept them in your home, and you've raised them as a family."
 
Watch more of the lawyers' debate!
 
The two couples are also torn over a serious issue involving their daughter, Kayla.
 
"This summer, Kayla came to us after being with her mom, and she had a burn on her leg," Gina shares on videotape.
 
"My daughter is the biggest klutz in the world. She will admit it to it," Chrissy says.
 
Gina and Dennis say that when they questioned their daughter about the injury, they never received a straight answer. "The first version of the burn was she slid down a tree and caused a burn on her leg. The second version of the burn, Kayla was horse playing around a campfire, and a log rolled off and burned her leg," Dennis shares. "The final version: It was Fourth of July, and Vince was setting off fireworks."
 
Gina finishes, "Somehow, one of those big fireworks that goes off in the sky somehow went into Kayla's leg and burnt the living life out of her. It was bad."
 
[AD]"We took her to an Urgent Care walk-in clinic, they gave us a certain antibiotic, and she put that on for a couple days," Chrissy says.
 
"In court, Chrissy testified under oath that she took Kayla to get medical treatment at a walk-in clinic. In the same court hearing, Vince testified that they never took Kayla to get medical treatment," Dennis says. 
 
"We put burn cream [on Kayla's leg], and it was good to go," Vince says. "But Dennis, he didn't think so."
 
"It was very infected," Dennis says, struggling to speak. "I took her to the doctor the very next morning. It was a severe second-degree burn. Chrissy knew that Kayla was burned."
 
"Vince, what happened here?" Dr. Phil asks.
 
"From what I understand, Kayla did burn her leg a little bit on the fire. Later on that evening, we were launching firecrackers, and the neighbor's dog decided to grab it out of the tube as it was getting ready to go up, and had it in his mouth. The fuse was lighting in his mouth, and he let go of it. When he did, it hit Kayla in the leg."
 
Dennis is disturbed by Vince's demeanor. "He's explaining this like it's funny. He's laughing. This isn't a laughing matter," he tells Dr. Phil. "If a dog did bite the firework, and it exploded on Kayla's leg, that is a serious burn. That was a severe second-degree burn that needed medical treatment."
 
Gina hands Dr. Phil the doctor's note from Kayla's visit and a receipt for medical treatment. Dr. Phil asks Chrissy to read her note on the back of the paperwork. "‘Kayla was treated at the time. If you can tell, there was no kind of infection, so advise me if you decide to do this.' I said, ‘I'm not going to pay for any additional visits.' They were to notify me if they were taking her to the doctor, and let me know ahead of time."
 
[AD]Dr. Phil wants Chrissy to see how her actions could impact her regaining full-time custody of her kids. "What you're saying is rather than try to mediate something that everybody can get behind and be excited with, you're going to rely on the court system to give you what you want?" he asks.
 
"I have to," Chrissy says. "Unless I give my children up, I have no choice."
 
"I'm telling you that if you continue down this course, and you turn this matter over to an attorney ad litem and a court-appointed forensic psychologist … you're just flipping a coin about what's going to happen with your children. I'm telling you, you have a better chance of making a deal that you can be at peace about by coming to the table with the spirit of conciliation."