Couple At War Over Parenting Styles, On Brink Of Divorce (Full Episode) | Paternity Court

Couple At War Over Parenting Styles, On Brink Of Divorce (Full Episode) | Paternity Court


You may be seated. Hello, Your Honor.
This is the case of
Johnson v. Johnson.
Thank you. You’re welcome. Good day, everyone. Mrs. Johnson, you’re here
today on the verge of divorce because you claim
your husband of seven years is forcing you to
choose him over your
12-year-old son, Elijah. You state that
you have separated
multiple times over the past five years
of your marriage. You have petitioned the court
to order Mr. Johnson into
family counseling because you say,
if he will not agree,
you plan to divorce him. Yes, Your Honor. Now, Mr. Johnson, you admit
that your marriage is
at its breaking point, but you argue that
it’s because your wife
undermines your authority and allows her 12-year-old
son to disrespect you. JASON:Yes, Your Honor.JUDGE LAKE:You claim
you were on the streets
since you were
14 years old and you fear
your stepson is
on the same track. Absolutely. You are countersuing
Mrs. Johnson asking
the court to order her to take
anger management classes. Yes, Your Honor. Now, Mrs. Johnson,
let me start with you. How does Mr. Johnson
treat your kids? He shows plain favoritism. He… I’m angry. I just want my kids
to feel equal. I want my oldest son
to feel loved. When you say
he shows favoritism,
explain to the court. How? Okay, for an example,
I put my kids in baseball. He would participate
in our son Ethan’s, and he would never
participate in Elijah’s. That’s not true.
That’s not true at all. That photo right there was
Elijah’s birthday and I took ’em to the go-karts
and he was supposed
to meet us after workand didn’t even show up.My son was so upset,
he sat there and cried because nobody came
to his birthday party. He wasn’t upset that
I didn’t come. He was upset
that his cousins
didn’t come from Florida. It had nothing to do with me. He has cousins in Florida
that he doesn’t see a lot,
that’s where it was at. Now, give me more
specific stories of how you feel he treats
the children differently. We went on a trip
to Gatlinburg. It was just the four of us
and we had a great trip. And then, um, it all
just kind of dwindled down. My son, um, we took
like a safari ride and he said, “Me and Ethan
will ride on this one “and you and Elijah
can ride on that.” And it just hurts my son’s
feelings because he
never shows that extra step to where… She doesn’t enforce me
as a father figure. I’m the father that’s there. I shouldn’t have to because
he’s been in his life
since he was two years old and he should take that
extra step on his own. If I’ve been there this long
why not respect me for it? You see noticeable differences
on a day-to-day basis as to how he treats both boys? Yes, I do. He doesn’t
take an extra step in, like as far as going
to the PTA meetings
or uh… Did I? In the beginning? COURTNEY: Yeah,
in the beginning,
but things have changed. A lot has changed. You can’t expect
different results when you’re not willing
to make a change. He undermines me at home.
What is he gonna do there? He’s 12, you’re 33. Exactly, discipline your son. Now, Mrs. Johnson,
in your statement
to the court, you said your son
asked you, “Mom, why can’t I
have a dad, too?” Yes. JASON: He does have a dad. I’m there for him.
I potty-trained him. I’ve taught him how
to ride bikes. I’ve played
video games with him. JASON:I’ve tried
so many times.
COURTNEY: This was
years ago, though. Mr. Johnson, but do
you show favoritism? Do you, to your
biological child? No, I don’t. Yes, he does. He does. He will go
in our son’s room
that we have together, and he will go in there… He’s my son. I’m not
going to be disrespected
and then deal with it. At one point in time
I would go to work and I would
work nights and they would have like
movie night and all this
other fun stuff and then… And you would lay out rules
for him to do and he
never does ’em. COURTNEY:He put it to a stop.My son refuses
to come home when me
and Mr. Johnson are together. I have a letter
from my son right here.
I’ll read it. All right. “My name is Elijah.
I’m 12 years old. “I don’t want my mom
and Jason to be
together anymore. “I don’t like Jason at all.
I don’t like being around him. “I don’t ever want
to see him again. “He hurts my feelings
because he does stuff
with my brother “and don’t wanna do
stuff with me.” (AUDIENCE EXCLAIMING) Why? I don’t care. JUDGE LAKE: Jerome,
please hand me that letter. JASON: There are so many
different points of view. Mr. Johnson,
I have to ask you, do you have any idea why
Elijah would feel this way? Elijah’s disrespectful
to me, to her, to everyone. (ALL ARGUING) When you say
he’s disrespectful, first
give me some specifics. What do you mean? She told him…
We got a new place together. I’ve started remodeling
the entire place. She told him specifically
to clean up after himself,
he is 12 years old. I cleaned the entire house. Five minutes later
he destroyed it.
There was food everywhere. I asked him, “Pick up after yourself.
I shouldn’t have to do it.
You’re 12 years old.” He told me, “You do it,
you’ll have to deal with her
when she gets home.” He knows I can’t have
the house like that ’cause
then me and her are gonna fight
over a dirty house. And I’m not gonna
fight over a dirty house. You know what happened?
I cleaned it. So now, Mrs. Johnson,
let me ask you, are you undermining
his authority? JASON: Absolutely. Does Elijah feel like
he doesn’t have
to listen to him? He knows he don’t. I feel like I have to choose
between my son and my husband. I feel like that. I do, because
when I do go to work, I have to take my son
to my father’s house. My son is not my
father’s responsibility. JASON: Well, I’m sorry.
You don’t discipline him. When he does those things,
do you think he gets
grounded? No, she’ll go buy him
a video game,
a phone, an iPod. Listen, this is concerning
to me because when I hear
a 12-year-old child, you know, to say they don’t
want their parents
to be together anymoreand that he doesn’t like
his stepfather at all…
That’s ’cause
all we do is argue. Well, it’s oddly funny,
he day before I left,
he didn’t say that. You know, this court is about
empowering families, helping them understand
how to be better families, and respect one another. Exactly. He knows
I’m not his father. I hear you,
Mr. Johnson. What I’m trying to get at
is whether
you respect Elijah. It ain’t just me though.
He disrespects everybody. He disrespects his brother,
he disrespects me,
his mother. He talks back. She fights with him
constantly over
the simplest things. “Clean your room.
Listen, don’t talk back.” It’s always an argument. “Take the dog out.
Feed the dog.” Whatever it is,
he cannot do it. He cannot be disciplined.
She won’t discipline him. And instead of
disciplining him,
she babies him. JUDGE LAKE: Okay. Okay and when
me and him are left alone,
with me, him, and my other son and they’re fighting for
about two hours straight,
nonstop, she comes home,
I tell her what happened, I tell her that
they’re not listening and instead
of disciplining the kids,
she fights with me. He’s the one acting like
he’s 12 too. And I don’t always… I’m trying to teach
this boy to be a man. How specifically are you
trying to teach him
to be a man? If he’s 12 years old,
can he pick up after himself? Can he listen to his mom?
Can he respect his elders? So learning how to do chores,
clean up after himself… Respect. Respect. Yeah, but you gotta
give respect… I did give respect
for many, many years. I get told, “Oh, you don’t
go to his baseball games.” He hates me. So, now you two are
separated because of this? Right now. Yep. I mean, I love Jason
with all my heart. I do. JASON: I love her, too. And I would love for us
to work and to be
a happy family. We don’t see eye to eye. But at the point
it’s at right now, I just don’t know
if that’s ever going to happen because so much
has happened,
so many… How do you want me
to be a father
but not do fatherly things? JUDGE LAKE: Mrs. Johnson,
you’ve brought
a witness today. Could you please
stand up, sir?
Mmm-hmm. State your name
for the court. I’m Rick Amolsch,
Courtney’s father. Mr. Amolsch, thank you
so much for joining us today. Please, talk to the court
about what you’ve witnessed
and what your understanding is in terms of the favoritism
or Elijah’s disrespect, as Mr. Johnson has put it,
to him and all people. JASON: Everybody. RICK: I see
Elijah being left out on
a lot of things, so… JASON:Left out of what?Father-son…
Um, ice cream. Uh, you ask Ethan
to pick up your room, it’s like, (IN ANGRY VOICE)
“Would you pick up your room? “What’s wrong with you?
Why don’t you…” JASON: So why aren’t we here
for the way you talk to Ethan? You know, talk to him
like a human being, not like an animal
that did something wrong. Doesn’t it…
Wait, wait, wait, wait. You’re his grandfather? Yes. JASON: Doesn’t that go
for both kids though? Wouldn’t that go
for both children,
not just Elijah? Like when Ethan, my son,
he does the same thing,
he babies Elijah, “Oh, it’ll be okay.
Oh, it’ll be okay.” You yell at him. Your daughter will admit it. So, now, you’re saying
that Mr. Amolsch yells at… JASON: He’s way more
aggressive with Ethan
than he is with Elijah.With Elijah, it’s,
“Oh, it’s okay.”
Pat him on the head.
Do you think he’s
overcompensating
for Elijah because he feels like
you leave him out? Jason is so firm
with Ethan that… I am firm with him.
I don’t want bad kids. I come from the streets.
I don’t wanna raise kids
that are gonna wind up there. I don’t want them to be 15
and say, “I’m gonna pick them streets
instead of my mom and dad.” I did that. It didn’t work. So, your fear is,
“If I don’t keep a tight rein
on these boys…” JASON: They’re gonna walk. They’re not gonna go
to school, they’re not
gonna get an education, they’re not gonna respect
you, him, me, nobody. So it is your purpose
in life as the father
in the house to give them
that discipline. You’re saying you’re
molding them… Absolutely. Yeah, but how is he showing
them when he’s not working
a steady job, when he, I mean, you know,
the thing about it is that… I got no education
and I do work. Jason sits there and one of
our biggest arguments
is financial problems. And he’s like,
“I help you and its 50-50
with both of us.” But it’s not.
Jason pays half of the bills. And that’s about it. Every once in a while… Lot of men I hear
ain’t doing that. His mom helps more
with the kids than he does as far as
getting school clothes and stuff like that. JASON:
Is that a bad thing? So, you’re saying he needs
to focus less on molding
the children and more on providing? Both, no.
I think it needs to be both. He needs to do it
all the way around. So, Mr. Amolsch,
I wanna ask you, what do you think should
happen in this relationship? You’ve witnessed this,
you see the relationships
they have with the children
and the climate
in their marriage. What do you think
should happen here? I think that they should
finalize and get a divorce. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) I think that would
be the best… You really feel like there’s
no saving the marriage? I feel like that’s
contradicting, you know. No, I don’t feel like
there is. From what I’ve seen
over the years, no. Um, if you don’t
keep a job… If he does get a job,
he loses it. And Elijah… It’s gonna take
a lot for those two to get
to respect for one another. JUDGE LAKE:And you don’t feel
like he’s setting a good
example for your grandson?
He ain’t in the home.
He don’t know what I do. We lived with my dad
from February till July. We lived with my father. And so, he does have
a good intake of what we
went through. JASON:
She needs anger management.
She can’t handle them kids. I do need anger management. Thank you so much,
Mr. Amolsch,
for your testimony. It was enlightening.
You may have a seat. I’ll be the first one.
I do need anger management. I am angry and I’m upset and I just feel like
I’m just ready to explode because with my whole
family situation, though. He called me himself
and couldn’t handle him
one day. Now, how is it just me? So you’re saying,
Mr. Amolsch called you and said
he couldn’t handle Elijah. Absolutely.
He called me… We made an agreement
for Elijah to go there
’cause we don’t get along. He called me, and was like,
“It’s just too much
for me, too. “I can’t take it either.
Courtney has to work tomorrow. “You guys are gonna have
to figure something out.” COURTNEY: Yeah, but my dad
also had plans. You know what I’m saying?
My dad is retired. I… My niece was there.
She is 11 and my son is 12. He had plans, so they
still have to be under some
kind of supervision. You know, I’m a little
concerned because I feel like this child is being pushed here or there,
everywhere, ’cause
no one can handle him or he’s so “disrespectful,”
and I’m not saying that children, um,
can’t be disrespectful. I’m my son’s
number one advocate. But most kids around 12 years old
are a lot to handle. He’s twice the 12-year-old… That’s a really tough age.
I can remember being
12 years old. Does it happen to you
when it’s just you and him? JUDGE LAKE: Uh, are you
all interviewing each other or am I trying to figure out
what’s going on
in the marriage? Because my thing is all
of a sudden you get in here and you wanna talk
to one another. If you were talking more
to one another at home then you wouldn’t be
standing right here. JASON: That’s our problem. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) So, now, maybe this is another wonderful
thing aboutPaternity Courtis we allow people
to talk to one another even though they’re talking
over the judge. Continue. Exactly. What else do you all
want to say to one another? My mom treats all the kids
like they’re hers. Elijah’s not hers, but she
treats him exactly the same. Exactly the same.
There’s not a Christmas,
a birthday… COURTNEY: And me
and his mother have
a great relationship… JASON: A great relationship.
Why can’t… Outside of Jason. You know, if me and Jason
aren’t getting along
or whatever, me and her,
we still talk. Granted, sometimes
it’s a little hard
to talk to her when he’s there
and we are arguing because I feel like it puts
her really in the middle. Okay, let me move on
to the defense witness. Mrs. Phelps-Shultz, if you
please could stand up. Thank you. You’re the defendant’s
mother. Yes, I am. JUDGE LAKE: Thank you so much
for joining us today. Please enlighten us
on what you know
about this situation. Well, there is a lot
of disrespect going
around altogether. (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Okay, it’s just not
coming from one party, it’s coming from everybody. You got the whole
family involved here. Courtney’s
a good-hearted person. She tries to please everybody
and she goes out of her way
to please me. You know, when I’m just
the mother-in-law. But she does that.
She’s a pleaser. But you’ve got to set
limits for your children. You cannot be best friend
with a eight, seven,
you know, 10-year-old. You can’t be best friends
with these guys. You know, a lot of us
parents know that. You’ve gotta set a boundary. And bless her heart, the correcting part
just doesn’t come easy
for Courtney, and, you know,
and Jason feels
the authority figure. Elijah’s disrespected so… I agree with Rick on one
thing and one thing only. I don’t think it can be, uh, fixed between Elijah
and Jason unless a third party
comes in and does it. Thank you very much, ma’am. I understand your point.
Thank you for that. Thank you very much.
You may have a seat. I’ve set up…
Elijah has been
in counseling for years. I feel like when
he’s around, my two boys,
they fight even morebecause he has like
this kinda hatred…
JASON:So it’s my fault
they’re disrespectful.
Ethan’s disrespectful too.
He’s an 8-year-old.
He’s disrespectful. So, Mrs. Johnson,
that’s why you’re here. You want the court to order
your husband to take
parenting classes. Yes. What about anger management
for her? I mean, I wish that
he would do it on his own. I wish that it didn’t even
have to lead to this,
that he… You are just as guilty
as me in every situation. So while he’s trying to put
me out here like I don’t do
nothing for my son. He’s just as disrespectful
as Elijah, I’m saying it. JUDGE LAKE: You know,
I’m listening to this… It’s crazy. And I am certain
that parenting classes
could help you both. And what I’m feeling like
is that the issues between
the two of you
in your marriage, some of which are caused
by the parenting issues, others, financial issues
and such, professional issues, they’re all getting
clogged together and ultimately the children
are the ones suffering. I agree. And parenting classes will help you learn how
to navigate through this. I’ve brought up
parenting classes. There’s gotta be more
than that. You stated to the court,
Mrs. Johnson, that if Mr. Johnson
failed to agree to these
parenting courses that you were going to
divorce him. I was gonna petition
the divorce, yeah. JUDGE LAKE: Now, Mr. Johnson,
having heard what we’ve
heard thus far, will you go? Mr. Johnson, having heard
what we’ve heard thus far, it is this court’s opinion and advisement
that you both enter parenting
classes together. Will you go? I’ll do whatever it takes
for my family. JUDGE LAKE:
That’s great to hear. Let’s face it.
It’s not always an easy job. No, it’s not. But you all have to get
on the same page on the job. I feel like you two are
on two different planes
when it comes to parenting. We’re not even
in the same book. Everyone’s parenting styles
are different. As for the anger
management request, you countersued and petitioned
this court to order that Mrs. Johnson
go to anger management. Absolutely. Earlier in your testimony,
Mrs. Johnson, I remember
distinctly hearing you say, “I do need anger management,
’cause I’m mad all day.” COURTNEY: I am. You remember that? And I feel like I’m gonna
explode and I need to figure
some other coping skills or something because
I get to the point where
I just wanna hurt ’em all. JUDGE LAKE: Yes. (CHUCKLING) And more wives
need to be as brave, to stand there and say, “I might have on my
Superwoman cape most days, “but some days
it’s choking me.” (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Right?
“And I need a little help. “I need to figure out how
to do these things, “or I feel like I’m gonna
explode on everybody.” COURTNEY: I do. So you are consenting
to take those
anger management courses? Yeah, yes. Wonderful. I realize that there was
a petition for divorce,
we’ve seen. Yes. I’m going to take a risk
and just ask. Now that we’ve consented
to the anger management
and the parenting courses, is it safe to say that
we’re going to work
on this marriage? Yes. Yes. Wonderful. So we won’t
be needing this, right? BOTH: Right. Fantastic! (AUDIENCE APPLAUDING) Court is adjourned! From this point,
we’re gonna co-parent and talk amongst each other on
how to discipline rather than
lashing out at each other. From this point,
I agree with that. I think that I’d like
to try to work with her more.

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