Why Two Men Are Fighting Over Who Will Raise Terminally Ill Woman’s Children

Adriane was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer two years ago and says that when she is gone, she wants her husband of eight years, John, to raise her two children, age 13 and 14, instead of their biological father, her ex-husband, Rick. She and John claim that Rick is a drug addict who steals from his children and refuses to pay child support.

“Rick is a lying, lazy, deadbeat dad,” Adriane says. “My final wish in life is that the kids would be able to stay with John, that he would be able to raise them, and that they would not be raised by Rick.”

Rick denies Adriane and John’s allegations, says they are out to get him, and he’s tired of them alienating him from his children. “John, basically, brainwashed my kids against me,” he says.

John says Adriane’s children, whom he has raised for the last eight years, “mean the world to me” and he’s ready to do what it takes so the kids can remain with him. “Rick needs to understand that what’s best for these kids is for them to stay with the family that’s raised them and the father who has cared for them since they were children,” he says.

Rick admits he struggles with addiction, but says, “For the last four years, I’ve been addicted to pain pills, but even during that, I always put my kids first.” And, he says he plans to get custody of his kids, although he has seen them infrequently since he divorced Adriane nine years ago. “If it comes down to John wanting to take this to court, I’ll fight tooth and nail … I don’t want my kids to be with a guy that I don’t like,” he says.

Watch their story in the video above, and on Thursday’s episode of Dr. Phil, hear why Rick says he questions Adriane’s diagnosis. Can Dr. Phil help this family come to a compromise when it comes to the best interest of the children –- check local listings here.

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