For over 25 years, New York licensed psychologist Dr. Marc T. Abrams has focused his career on helping children and families who experience conflict and/or psychological distress. During the last two decades, he has refined his work to assist children who are placed in the center of a contentious divorce. Dr. Abrams is frequently appointed by The New York supreme court and family court systems to serve as a neutral custody evaluator for families facing divorce. In this role, Dr. Abrams utilizes a variety of methods to evaluate the parents and children involved in the custody dispute. The courts incorporate his conclusions and recommendations when determining what is in the best interest of children.
Dr. Abrams conducts each evaluation in a fair and impartial manner. He reaches his conclusions and writes his reports based on the evidence he has gathered during the evaluation process. No preference is given to the paying client, the attorney, or the judge involved. He is neither a mother’s advocate nor a father’s advocate. Instead, he serves as a child advocate, and that is what forms his decision.
As one of the most experienced custody evaluators in Westchester county, Dr. Abrams has evaluated over 1,000 individuals. He has observed all types of psychopathology in individuals and in families. He has conducted evaluations ranging from situations where both parents were well-functioning people who could not agree to those where one parent’s highly-dysfunctional or psychotic pathology severely impacts the family dynamics. He has also conducted evaluations that involve moderate or extreme acts of parental alienation as well as high levels of domestic violence. Additionally, he has observed verbal, emotional, psychological, and/or physical child abuse.
Dr. Abrams is well-versed in cultural and cross-cultural issues, as well as educational and developmental disabilities. He has a comprehensive understanding of how cultural issues can impact family dynamics and psychological functioning. He also has a deep understanding of how a child’s educational or developmental disabilities can impact day-to-day parenting and parenting decisions. Dr. Abrams’ insight into these subjects is utilized in his interviews, reports and conclusions, when necessary.
The evaluation process involves extensive psychological testing and clinical interviews with each parent. In addition, Dr. Abrams will see each parent with their children and conduct separate interviews with the children, when appropriate. During his private interviews with the children, Dr. Abrams creates a comfortable environment that allows them to openly discuss their experiences and concerns.He is experienced in identifying if a child was coached by a parent or appears reluctant to discuss matters that are important to them.
Dr. Abrams has been called upon to testify in court during custody trials. He is known for his successful defense of his evaluation, report, and conclusions. Additionally, Dr. Abrams is frequently hired to review custody evaluations conducted by other professionals in the New York area. Lawyers will also enlist his expertise to assist in the examination or cross-examination of another custody evaluator, and testify if necessary.
In addition to his work as a forensic custody evaluator, Dr. Abrams consults with law firms on a variety of issues that intersect law and psychology. He also consults with financial planners regarding long-range financial planning for individuals with mental health issues. Similarly, Dr. Abrams conducts private mental health evaluations and consultations regarding psychological functioning and its impacts on daily life.
Dr. Abrams has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and is a very dynamic and engaging speaker. He has given presentations on parenting, raising difficult children, managing children during high conflict and high stress periods, and conflict resolution.
Prior to his work as a custody evaluator, Dr. Abrams had a private practice, where he specialized in psychological evaluations. He also served as an educational advocate for parents of children with special needs, and provided psychological treatment for children, teenagers, and adults. He conducted his first custody evaluation in 1994 and became a full-time custody evaluator in 1998. Dr. Abrams served as a member of the New York State Psychological Association’s Committee on Ethical Practices for a decade.
Dr. Abrams completed his postdoctoral fellowship in child clinical psychology at The Center for Preventive Psychiatry in 1991. He earned his PhD in clinical psychology from United States International University in 1990 and a masters of arts in clinical psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1985. Dr. Abrams has a bachelor’s of arts in psychology from Muhlenberg College.
To point out the obvious, anyone who conducts a Google search of Dr. Abrams and his work will undoubtedly find a series of reviews, mostly ranging from bad to scathing. So why do the courts continue to hire him for custody evaluations? Frankly, working as a custody evaluator makes more enemies than friends.
A divorce is a highly personal legal battle. And, in a high-conflict divorce, custody is one of the most hotly-contested topics of that battle. When parents argue over who will raise the children, a custody evaluator is assigned. Their recommendation of which parent is best suited to make decisions in the children’s best interest doesn’t please everyone. On a good day, one parent will be happy with Dr. Abrams’ report. On a bad day, both parents will be unhappy with his conclusions.
In general, those who are satisfied with the custody evaluation results focus on the work of raising their children, while those who are furious with the report vent their frustrations online. Some will even go further and file ethical complaints or license complaints against the psychologist. In fact, conducting custody evaluations is the second most frequently cited reason for why psychologists and psychiatrists are ethically disciplined or lose their license. (The first is inappropriate relationships with clients.)
With over 20 years of evaluations behind him, Dr. Abrams has a record of conducting himself in a highly competent and ethical manner.
Contact Dr. Marc Abrams
Whether it’s scheduling a private consultation or requesting a speaking engagement from Dr. Abrams, we look forward to hearing from you. You can reach us at the information below or fill out the contact form. Dr. Abrams will respond promptly.