Jared says his ex-wife, Chandra, is a deadbeat mom who has failed to pay her court-ordered child support. Chandra claims Jared has been emotionally abusive since their divorce five years ago and that he’s determined to ruin her life with her current husband, Jason. With their children caught in the crossfire, can these exes stop pointing fingers and learn how to peacefully co-parent?

Bitter Battle

Chandra and Jared divorced five years ago, and Jared was recently awarded primary custody of their two children, ages 12 and 9, after a year-long custody battle. Jared says Chandra is “a deadbeat mother” who is six months behind on her $150-a-month court-ordered child support. “She’s only paid $50 toward the total balance,” he claims.

Chandra says Jared has been emotionally abusive to her since their split and that her children are now caught in the crossfire of a bad divorce. “Jared has said that I don’t help the children with their homework, that I don’t spend time with them and that I’m abusive to them,” she says, adding that he has also called her derogatory names via text messages and emails. “I honestly think that Jared wants to destroy my life.”

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“My goal is for the kids to have a great relationship with their mother, to feel loved, to feel wanted, and to feel supported within their household,” Jared says, adding that he’s willing to do “whatever it takes” to reach that goal.

“I want to co-parent with him. I want my children to have both their parents and to have somewhat of a normal existence and normal life,” Chandra responds.

Dr. Phil lists the derogatory names Chandra says he has called her. How does he defend his actions?

Jared explains why he’s called the police on Chandra and her new husband, Jason, four times in the past five-and-a-half years.

Is Chandra paying child support?

Why was Jared awarded primary custody?

Jared accuses Jason of abusing his two children and tying a dog collar around Jared and Chandra’s then 5-year-old son’s neck, as a form of punishment. How does Jason respond to the allegations?

Dr. Phil asks Chandra if she falsely accused Jared of sexually abusing their children. She admits that she told a mediator she believed some of his interactions with their daughter were “inappropriate as far as her age and what he was doing,” but she denies accusing him of sexual abuse. “I might have insinuated,” she confesses. She says she does not fear that Jared will sexually abuse their daughter.

Dr. Phil tells the group that they’re behaving childishly. “When y’all sit down and watch this, I really wonder if all of y’all are going to be proud,” he tells them.

Chandra breaks down and tearfully says, “I hate who I’ve become in this.” She continues, “I just want the fighting to stop.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that, because let me tell you, you may be a lot of things here, but a pure-out victim is not one of them,” Dr. Phil tells Chandra, adding that both she and Jared have ownership in the situation. “At some point, somebody has to say, ‘What’s really best for the children here?’”

See what causes Dr. Phil to grow frustrated and say, “I am so done.”  

Settling their Dispute

Dr. Phil suggests to Jared that he step up and be the “hero” his children need. “When you’re with these two, then you can take the children out of the middle by being cordial,” he tells Jared. He also says that the children can share any information they want — good or bad — with counselors, in his absence, if something unhealthy occurs while they’re with Jason and Chandra.

“That’s already taken place,” Jared responds.

“If what you’re saying is true, the system will take care of that,” Dr. Phil tells Jared. “What you need to do is make sure you don’t put your children in the middle in the meantime.” He turns to Chandra and Jason and says, “If those children, in his absence, are reporting to independent professionals that you two have a chaotic situation that is unhealthy for them, then you have an access problem for those kids, and it’s going to shrink to the point that is first going to go to supervision-only and then to nothing.”