Dr. Kerner was hired as a neutral and private custody evaluator to help our family make the right decisions with regards to our children. Dr. Kerner is pleasant and seems approachable during one-on-one meetings. However, he continuously diverted the attention from the issues related to the children to personal matters between my ex-husband and me. He took a detailed history of my background as if he was going to work with me as my therapist! I did mention to him personally that I'd rather talk about the children and how they have been taken care of since they were born, and I how they were cared for now after I had filed for divorce. He did not seem to be taking detailed notes during our one-on-one sessions or recording the sessions. As such, I was not surprised when he attributed quotes to me in the custody report that were factually incorrect. He also attributed quotes to my therapist and our marriage counselor that were faculty incorrect. Further, I believe the quotes he attributed to my children were made up by him to go with the flow of the story that he wanted to tell about the dynamics of our family in his custody report. I know my children quite well and what they would have been comfortable to share with someone whom they barely knew. The words attributed to my children sounded too mature for their age--words that I don't believe they would have spoken to express themselves. I regret very much giving Dr. Kerner permission to speak with my children privately, as I believe his interactions with them and our family created more disharmony and conflict than what we had before his involvement in our family matters.
I would give Dr. Kerner, and his staff, 100 stars if I could. Dr. Kerner worked with my family in a very challenging and complicated custody case. Custody disputes are often long, emotionally draining, weighty, scary, wrought with uncertainly and conflict, and likely one of the most challenging experiences any parent will endure with regards to their child(ren). During such a crisis, people need compassion, caring, understanding, and to know that professionals handling the custody evaluation have it together, can be counted on, and will ultimately make decisions in the best interest of the child(ren). Custody disputes are bad enough, adding the stress of incompetent evaluators could be absolute crazy-making. That is why I strongly recommend Dr. Michael Kerner should you need a custody evaluator. Administratively, his office is run professionally, they respond to communications promptly and with care, they work well with attorneys as well as parents, they are on time with appointments, follow-up with contacts, help coordinate home/school visits, keep you informed about where in the process you are, and most importantly, try their best to complete each evaluation in 60 days. My attorney has clients waiting almost a YEAR for the completion of a basic evaluation! I can not imagine the added stress that would cause in an already strained situation! Dr. Kerner's reports are very thorough, well researched and written, complete, and leave no stone unturned. His recommendations for visitation is fair, unbiased, and always what is truly in the best interest of the child(ren) in question.Dr. Kerner and his staff made going through this stressful experience as manageable as possible. I always felt listened to, trusted Dr. Kerner's observations, and was impressed with his interactions with my young child. Dr. Kerner is an astute man, with significant practical experience and a CV that would impress anyone. More than his work accomplishments, his gentle and approachable nature make him easy to talk to. He was well received by all of those in my family who had the opportunity to speak with him. Dr. Kerner, with his 25+ years of experience in custody work, truly knows what to look for in terms of family relationships. He understands what familial behaviors are most damaging to children and he can identify red-flags in such a way that a less experiences evaluator might miss. Dr. Kerner saw patterns and identified issues without having to be told about them, as his extensive experience gave him so much insight.In all custody situations, there will be one party that will be pleased with an outcome, and one party that will be less than pleased. I was impressed with the compassion that Dr. Kerner showed to me and to my child's father throughout this process. He made no assumptions about us and allowed us to tell him what was going on, from our own experiences. He made a recommendation to the court based on what he saw and learned, not on what I wanted or my former partner wanted, but what was best for our child.Though not the most economical of evaluators out there, he provided the best possible service one could ask for. The adage of "you get what you pay for" rings true here. Dr. Kerner and his staff seem incapable of a half-assed job, and go above and beyond to get it right. If you find yourself in a custody challenge, isn't knowing that the most experienced professional possible will determine and recommend what is truly in the best interest of your child(ren) worth any cost? I think so, and in fact, I can't think of anything worth more.I recommend Dr. Michael Kerner whole-heartedly and without hesitation.