What the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Has to Do with Divorce

Stressed man listening psychologist's analysis. Male patient lying on sofa during psychotherapy session.

NY & NJ divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at the NY & NJ law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Mr. Goldhamer was named by the prestigious Superlawyers.com as a “Super Lawyer” in 2014 for his work in matrimonial and estate law. Paul keeps busy with teaching, lecturing, charity work and as a guest on a wide range of media outlets.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as DSM-5,  is a published book describing mental disorders. It has been used as the “bible” for recognizing mental disorders. But it has been subject to severe criticism in the last 25 years, sometimes for excluding disorders and sometimes for including what may be in the normal range of human conduct. “Normal” cuts a wide swath.

Published first in 1953, it has gone through 8 reiterations, starting from a small pamphlet and growing to a 1000 page tome. Some diseases do not make it into the book and some work their way in over the years.

Big pharmaceutical  companies sell drugs that are cures to diagnosed illnesses. Insurance reimbursement is often contingent on conditions having a recognized diagnosis. Many psychological professionals disagree on the value of some of the diagnoses. The DSM always rears its head in custody cases. Let’s face it…no 2 adults parent the same way and often one parent objects to the other’s parenting style. Sometimes the objector is too rigid and imagines issues. Sometimes, a parent’s conduct is actually unsafe.

We at KGG help parents work out custody arrangements. Sometimes we must fight in court for our clients with skills acquired over 4½ decades.