Child Custody Evaluations

Our areas of expertise include but are not limited to:

Child custody evaluations/ Custody Determination

Custody evaluation (also known as “parenting evaluation”) is a legal process, in which a mental health expert evaluates a family and makes a recommendation to the court for a custody, visitation or parenting plan. When performing the custody evaluation, the evaluator is expected to act in the child’s best interests. The evaluation may include testimonies, psychological tests, child–parent observations, additional evaluations by other professionals, etc. The parties may be requested to provide some documents to the Evaluator.

Termination of parental rights evaluations

Every State, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes providing for the termination of parental rights by a court. Termination of parental rights ends the legal parent-child relationship.

Termination may be voluntary or involuntary. Birth parents who wish to place their children for adoption may voluntarily relinquish their rights

Evaluation of adults in matters of parental rights

The objective of a parental responsibilities evaluation is to assess one’s parental responsibilities and conduct a thorough evaluation for custody purposes.

Evaluations of allegations of physical, emotional or sexual abuse and neglect

Our experts will evaluate a child who has allegations of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and neglect. These evaluations will look at personal, family and outside stressors that are contributing to the abuse pattern, or creating a high risk situation for abuse to occur, and to develop treatment recommendations to eliminate the abuse that is identified. Recommendations are child-centered and may include interventions to remove the abuse and if necessary could include removing a child from parental care, removing a parent or other adult from the household, supervised visitation, discontinuation of visitation, changing parental custody, treatment for the child or the abuser or both, and a plan for family reunification.

Evaluations for posttraumatic stress disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, including but not limited to, sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life.


Meet Our Specialists

Please contact us at 301.327.1764 or by email at forensics@potomacpsychiatry.com to schedule an expert consultation with our experienced professionals.

Dr. Guillermo Portillo

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Guillermo Portillo, M.D. is a board certified forensic psychiatrist with experience in civil and criminal cases, cases related to employment issues such as fitness for duty evaluations as well as expertise in evaluating impaired professionals. As a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Portillo is an expert in the area at the interface of psychiatry and the law. He also provides consultations for diagnostic clarification and assessment of psychopharmacologic and therapeutic interventions for appropriateness.

Dr. Portillo currently has an academic appointment as an adjunct clinical faculty member at Temple University Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science where he has lectured on forensic and emergency psychiatry. Additionally, Dr. Portillo is able to provide services and consultation in both English and Spanish.

View complete curriculum vitae for Guillermo Portillo, M.D.


Dr. Mark A. Novitsky Jr.

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Mark A. Novitsky Jr., MD is a Dual Board Certified Child and Adolescent/Adult Psychiatrist with experience in clinical and forensic practice. Dr. Novitsky uses a variety of psychotherapy techniques, as well as medication management when necessary, in the treatment of children and adolescents. He highly values an ongoing collaborative relationship with parents. His psychotherapy techniques include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy, and parent management training.  Following his training in child psychiatry, he sought out formal Cognitive Therapy training with children and adolescents through “The Beck Initiative”, sponsored by The Aaron T. Beck Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. Aaron Beck first created CBT.

View complete curriculum vitae for Mark A. Novitsky Jr., MD