(ASPECT™) Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody™

by Marc J. Ackerman, PhD and Kathleen Schoendorf, PsyD

(ASPECT™) Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody™

by Marc J. Ackerman, PhD and Kathleen Schoendorf, PsyD
Benefits Offers a practical, standardized, and defensible approach to child custody evaluations, consistent with APA guidelines
Ages For parents of children between 2 and 18 years
Admin time Varies
Scores A clear-cut Parental Custody Index for each parent, plus three scale scores assessing parent's appearance, social interactions, and psychological and mental functioning
Publish Date 1992
Qualifications Level C required.
About Qualification Levels
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About This Product

Picture of (ASPECT™) Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales for Parent Evaluation of Custody™


The ASPECT is a clinical tool that will facilitate objective child custody recommendations. It draws information from a variety of sources, reducing the likelihood of examiner bias. It applies the same evaluative criteria to both parents. It incorporates standard assessment tools that many clinicians already use, and it yields a quantitative score that gives you an objective basis for child custody decisions.

The Complete Picture

Consistent with APA Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations, the ASPECT requires the user to employ multiple methods of data gathering. The clinician must answer 56 yes-or-no questions, based on information from the following sources:

  • The ASPECT Parent Questionnaire. Each parent completes this self-report inventory.
  • Interview with each parent—with and without the child. The Manual provides basic questions and guidelines.
  • Test data. Scores are obtained from tests routinely used for child custody evaluation. 

A convenient Short Form, the ASPECT-SF, is ideal for clinicians who don’t have time to administer all the tests required. It eliminates ASPECT items based on responses to the MMPI, Rorschach, Draw-A-Family, WRAT-R or NEAT, and WAIS-R. Yet it predicts judges’ orders as accurately as the full ASPECT, so you can use it with confidence.

A Custody Index for Each Parent

For each parent, the ASPECT produces an overall score—the Parental Custody Index (PCI), which guides custody decisions. The PCI tells you which parent is more effective—and how much more. If neither parent is effective, the PCI will reflect that, too.

Research has shown 90% agreement between ASPECT recommendations and custody decisions made by judges, in cases where there was a significant difference between the ASPECT scores of the mother and the father. In addition, the ASPECT has differentiated situations in which one parent should obtain full custody from those in which joint custody is appropriate. And it has proven effective in identifying parents who need supervision during child visitation.

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2/8/2012 3:14:56 AM
by Jane Doe