Season 6

Episode 613: “A House Divided”

Episode 613:  “A House Divided”
Original Air Date:January 23, 2000
Written by::Rosanne Welch
Directed by:Bethany Rooney
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


John Eli Marienthal
Martin Peter Onorati
Janet Judith Hoag
Phil Stephen Caffery

Andrew, on assignment as a sixth-grade teacher, resides over a parent-teacher night at the school. A simple game the parents play turns into a scene when a divorced couple, Martin and Janet, argue over who better knows their son, John. Eleven-year-old John is humiliated in front of his classmates, but quietly hides his grief as Tess and Monica watch, unseen. As Andrew builds a relationship with John, he begins to understand the tug-of-war that is John’s life. John lives with his mother and her new husband Phil, and spends the weekends with his father. When Martin and Janet do have to deal with each other, their communication is riddled with subversion and insults.

One weekend while John and Martin eat pizza at a local restaurant, they run into Andrew and Monica, who describes herself as an “advocate”– someone who helps people. When Janet arrives at the restaurant to deliver John’s homework another fight erupts, and John decides that he would like to enlist Monica’s services–to help him divorce his parents. Shocked, Andrew insists that what John really needs is a break from his parents so they spend the day at a museum exploring John’s love of dinosaurs. At first, John begins to feel better, but when he returns home to find his parents in the midst of another fight, his desire for a divorce becomes stronger. The next day, a process server delivers a subpoena to Janet and Martin. At the family court, Tess presides as the court judge. After it becomes clear that Janet and Martin cannot control their outbursts, she orders a time-out. Andrew agrees to let John stay with him for a few days, but first has to overcome one problem– he must find an apartment!

At the next court date, Monica takes the parent’s depositions. Janet decries Martin’s lack of responsibility, while Martin argues that he tries his best with the limited visitation he has. Finally, Tess wants to hear from John himself but he refuses to testify, afraid that Tess will require him to choose one parent over the other. Tess calls a recess and takes the parents to her chambers where she relates to them the story of King Solomon and the two mothers. Two women claim to be the mother of one child and insist that Solomon pick the real mother. Unable to decide, Solomon suggests they cut the child in two, giving equal parts to both women. One woman thinks this is a fine idea, but the other, the real parent, insists that the child be given to the other woman rather than be harmed.

Tess tells Martin and Janet that real parents don’t make their children suffer. Meanwhile, Monica and Andrew talk to an upset John, telling him that God has answered his prayers by sending him three angels. After a pep talk, John is ready to take the stand. He tells his parents that he is afraid that they will stop loving him, the way they stopped loving each other. Finally, understanding the pain they have caused, Janet and Martin commit to working on their relationship. Judge Tess gratefully dismisses the case.


(); ?>