During a custody evaluation, you may be asked to fill out the Ackerman-Schoendorf Scales of Parent Evaluation of Custody Test or ASPECT form.
The ASPECT form consists of 68 questions, similar in nature to the questions asked in the Parenting History Survey (PHS). The ASPECT literature states that
"ASPECT produces an overall score, the Parental Custody Index (PCI), which guides custody decisions. It not only tells you which parent is more effective; it also tells you how much more effective that parent is. If neither parent is effective, the PCI will reflect that, too."
In other words, the ASPECT form is a test, as the answers to the ASPECT form are 'graded' by a clinician. The ASPECT literature makes clear reference to this:
"In addition, ASPECT differentiates situations in which one parent should obtain full custody from those in which joint custody is appropriate; it has also proven effective in identifying parents who need supervision during child visitation. Consistent with APA Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations, ASPECT requires the clinician to answer 56 yes-or-no questions based on information obtained from the following sources: the ASPECT Parent Questionnaire; interview with and observation of each parent with and without the child; and scores obtained from tests routinely used for child custody evaluation and an IQ measure for the child (these tests are not included in the ASPECT kit)."
The ASPECT is often given as a "take home" test, however it is not intended for it to be administered that way. Dr. Ackerman, in Psychological Experts in Divorce Actions 3rd Ed states that "The ASPECT forms do not need to be filled out in the sight of the examiner. However, the forms MUST be filled out in the examiner’s office. Forms must not be taken home by the parent.". If the test administrator offers to let you take the forms home, this may raise serious questions as to his/her standards of methodology.
Normally you are given as much time as you need to complete the ASPECT test (within reason). Showing the questions here, therefore, does not give you any "edge" in taking the test nor does it allow you to cheat in any way- they are provided here in order to familiarize you with the kinds of questions that you will need to answer. If you are given the ASPECT form as part of your evaluation, take your time in answering the questions, and answer them truthfully and as completely as you can.
Hobbies, Skills, Interests:
When were you married, divorced, widowed separated?:
Have you ever served in the military? If, yes, where did you serve?
Has a close friend or family member died in the past two years?
Please state your highest completed level of education:
Is your work satisfying? If not, why?
What do you remember about the first time you used alcohol? Have you ever been treated for alcohol or drug abuse?
Where were you born and raised?
Education and occupation of Parents:
If either of your parents are deceased, how old were you at the time of death?:
What is your current ages? Ages of brothers and sisters?:
While you were growing up, did you have any problems with any of the following?
Have you ever been sexually assaulted?
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
Religious Affiliation (optional):
Major causes of stress in your life at this time?:
If currently in therapy, what are your goals:
List any current medical problems:
If you are currently taking any medications, please identify then and state the reason for taking each one:
Have you been previously married?
Previous marriage information:
Why are you seeking custody or physical placement?:
What would be the ideal custody and visitation arrangement for your family?:
How would it affect you if the other parent received custody or primary placement?
Joint custody involves shared decisions about each of your children's education, religious upbringing, medical treatment and related issues. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of a joint custody arrangement for your family?
In question 26, you identified the ideal custody arrangement. What elements of your ideal arrangement would you be willing to negotiate?
How is each of your children performing in school?
Identify each child's interests, fears, skills and problem areas:
For each problem area, describe the solution that you feel would be most effective:
What are your strengths as a parent?
What are your weaknesses as a parent?
What are the other parent's greatest strengths and weaknesses?
From which sources do you draw information concerning child rearing?
If you are having difficulty with your child or children, to whom do you talk?
What are your current child care arrangements?
What are your future child care arrangements?
What would be the living arrangements of your child or children if you received placement?
What comments or concerns does the other parent have about the way you handle your children?
Did the mother experience postpartum depression following the birth of one or more of the children?
For each of your children, specify when he or she learned to walk and talk, when the child was toilet trained, any unusual childhood illnesses, and any eating or sleeping problems:
Identify the special needs of your children at this time:
What are the specific needs that each of your children will have next year? In 3 years? In 5 years?
Who provided your children with sex education?
Who taught your children about oral hygiene?
Who taught your children about general hygiene?
How, do you feel, will the divorce affect your children?
What has each of your children been told about the divorce?
What has each of your children been told about living arrangements?
What, do you think, are the wishes of your children regarding custody placement?
What is the bedtime routine of your children?
List the ages and sexes of the friends and relatives with whom your children come into regular contact:
How often do you allow your children to have friends in the home?
All children misbehave from time to time. For each of your children, list a misbehavior and how you handled it:
How often do you find you have to spank your children?
List the name of each teacher and each child's grade level, favorite subject, and most difficult subject:
Over the past year, what school events have you attended?
How often does each child need help with his or her homework?
How does each child know you love him or her?
If the children are currently living with you, how often does the other parent visit?
If your children are not currently living with you, how often do you visit?
In an average month, how much time do you spend discussing the children, or related issues with the other parent? Do you find this amount of time sufficient?
What are your concerns or worries when your children are with the other parent?
In the past month, how often have you been angry with the other parent? Briefly state the source of that anger.
When you and the other parent disagree about something pertaining to your children, how is the disagreement resolved? Who usually wins?
What resources are available in your community to help you as a single parent?