The Fight over Your Child: Tisha, Peter, Lisa, Areva

Who's Putting the Kids in the Middle?

Tisha remembers a terrifying incident with Peter. "One night, I locked all the doors and all the windows to the house because I knew when he came home, something was going to be bad," Tisha says. "He tried breaking in through the front door, he started banging on all the windows and knocking on all the doors. Zachary said, ‘Is Daddy going to kill me too, Mommy?'"

"Tisha keeps the kids from me. It's the only way she knows how to hurt me," Peter says.

"I'm not holding them from him," she says.

"She has told my children that I have had ongoing affairs," he says. "I've been talking with my son on the phone, and I can clearly hear her in the background, telling my son things like ‘You need to have your father tell you that [he's] with another woman.' It's just ridiculous. She's a train wreck."

"Peter lies," she says.

"I found explicit e-mails between her and another guy," Peter says. "She winds up calling the cops on me and having me extracted, under Taser guns, with my kids crying out the upstairs window. My daughter isn't talking to me, and she doesn't want to see me because of what her mom has lied to her about."

[AD]"He pulls unbelievable stunts and puts the kids in the middle. My daughter and her cousin were playing at the playground. Peter called the police, trying to file neglect charges. The police came, and they took her from the park. It was very traumatic for her. That was pretty much the icing on the cake, where she just decided she didn't want to see her father anymore," Tisha says. "Zachary is scared of his dad. My son asked if we could go back to court so we could make it so he doesn't have to stay over with Peter."

"My son was coerced by his mother to write a letter to me, saying that he thinks I'm sleeping with another woman. It's disgusting. I cried when I read that letter. I could not believe that someone could stoop that low," Peter says.

Legal analyst Lisa Bloom and civil and family attorney Areva Martin join the discussion to provide an objective viewpoint on this case.


Lisa tells Tisha, "First of all, I'm very pleased you have taken the abuse and the threats that you've been through seriously, because a lot of women in that situation don't, and then we see the fallout. Now, you're right, Dr. Phil. We don't know what happened, because only Peter and Tisha were there, but what we do know is motive. What motive would Tisha have to make up these allegations? She's not going to get any money out of it. In fact, she hasn't gotten any money because you haven't been paying any child support," she directs toward Peter. "Now, as a single mom, that puts an incredible amount of pressure on Tisha. She's working several jobs at once. She's taking care of two kids. And she has to deal with this fear. I think that puts way too much pressure on her, pressure that needs to be eased off by Peter going to some anger management classes, and frankly, getting a job and supporting your kids. I think that would make a huge difference here."

Areva speaks to Peter. "I want to say, first of all, Peter, I applaud you. It's so clear, your passion. You love your kids, and you're doing the right thing, in terms of fighting for your kids. And obviously, from a court standpoint, you've done some things you've got to change. When you go into court, you don't want to go into court battling your wife because the judge, the court, doesn't care about the adult. The court wants to know what's in the best interest of these children? And what's in the best interest of the children often isn't the same thing as what the parents want. So I want you to continue to be a strong advocate for your children, but you've got to do some things to put yourself in a better position to get custody of your kids," she says.

[AD]Dr. Phil addresses the abuse claims, which Peter denies. Peter admits there has been name-calling on both sides, but says he's never thrown items at Tisha. He admits to putting spyware on her computer, but not her phone.

"Have you intimidated this woman?" Dr. Phil asks him.

"Absolutely not," he says.

"Somebody's not telling the truth here," Dr. Phil says.

Lisa asks Peter about a demeaning Facebook message that went out about Tisha and her alleged affairs. Peter denies having anything to do with that.

Areva says this is another example of things the court won't care about. "Walk into court telling the court what you're going to do to be a better parent, what you're going to do, both of you, to put the best interest of these children first. That's all the court cares about," she says.

Peter speaks up. "Can I just say something? I've traveled a long way to be here to talk with you, Dr. Phil, and it's about my kids, and this is cut and dry," he says. He speaks to his wife. "Tisha, you cheated on me. You cheated on me for many years. I filed for divorce three years ago, and you did this three years ago. You filed abuse claims, you filed all this stuff, and then I took you back. Then you started cheating on me again. It's history repeating itself. You're coming out with abuse allegations." He tells Dr. Phil, "This is what is going on. There is no smoke involved. I didn't touch this woman. I was raised by my father to respect a woman. These are my values and morals. I am here for my kids. But I'm not going to sit here and have my good name dragged through the town because she's saying I'm abusing her. It's not true. It wasn't proven â€""

"Peter, I had three restraining orders on you. It has been proven," Tisha argues.

"It's not proven. There's no proof because it didn't happen."

Dr. Phil tells Peter he doesn't seem to want to hear what Areva has to say. "She's telling you what you need to do to prevail in court, but you don't want to hear it because you want to be angry," he says.

[AD]"No. No disrespect to her, it's just that I've heard that before. I apologize," he says to Areva. "I am doing it. I am going to the courts saying, ‘I'm here for the children.'"

Dr. Phil tells Peter he used to work as a litigation consultant, telling people what they needed to do to win in court. "Now, I'm just going to tell you something right now that I just want you to hear me out on. You sent a four-page letter to the newspaper in your town. You asked them to publish it. They said they wouldn't publish it. You finish up that letter by talking about the ‘incompetent family court system.'" Dr. Phil tells Peter that is a bad decision.

Dr. Phil reads part of the letter that Peter wrote to a newspaper, which didn't get published. "You said, ‘My world came crashing down years ago when my children's mother destroyed our family. She chose to deceive, dishonor, tear apart the sacred vows we took when saying "I do." She had extramarital affairs. It was on the front seat of her priority list. I read explicit text messages, along with half-naked pictures from other men. The promiscuous trail of bread crumbs was eventually undeniable. She planned on leaving me and my children for the other man. She put us in debt over our heads. I was manipulated and mentally abused. I was just a convenience to her, someone to be at her beck and call.' It goes on: ‘What am I guilty of?'" Dr. Phil snaps the book closed. "It says not one thing about her fitness as a mother."

Dr. Phil addresses Peter's anger and Tisha's alleged affairs.


"I will tell you that when children live in this kind of emotionally charged situation, they get into a position of writing this kind of letter " where did he learn these things?" he asks Tisha, regarding the letter Peter received from their son, which he read from at the top of the show. "Where did he learn to say, ‘I think you're sleeping with another woman. I think you have a girlfriend.' Did he get that from you?"

She reluctantly says, "Yeah, I'm sure he's heard me say things."

"That's not good."

"I know," she says.

[AD]"That's not good. This means this child is damaged. This child is broken. This boy is going to hit puberty soon, and he's going to start running on all testosterone, and you're going to start seeing some anger, and some bitterness and some frustration out of this young boy, and you're going to start seeing some aggressive behavior out of him. You've got a precious daughter, and you know how girls act out when they are frustrated in this way? They become promiscuous. You'll find them doing self-destructive things in other ways. At some point you have to say, ‘I have a more important agenda.'"