Report: #678477

Complaint Review: David J. Mann, Ph.D.

  • Submitted: Tue, January 04, 2011
  • Updated: Thu, May 31, 2012
  • Reported By: Bob — Mission Viejo California USA
  • David J. Mann, Ph.D.
    26302 La Paz Road, Suite 201, Mission Viejo, CA
    United States of America

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My child custody case went to Dr. Mann and I was very nervous after reading the reviews here and elsewhere. Nevertheless, I decided that I would be as honest and forthright as I could at every step of the process and hope for the best. For almost two years, my ex had been refusing to let me see my kids more than one weekend per month and would only let me speak to them between visits on my ex's cell phone. My ex filed in court and gave to Dr. Mann hundreds of pages of declarations making the most horrible allegations against me of everything from sex addiction to bipolar disease to alcoholism. None of the allegations were true but those kinds of allegations are often enough to freak out judges and evaluators. I guess nobody wants to be the one holding the bag if they turn out to be true.

Dr. Mann tested us both (MMPI and parenting tests), interviewed us separately, interviewed us separately with the children and together. He had two meetings with our children and had my ex bring them to one and me bring them to the other so that he could see, among other things, if the children were being coached by my ex (or by me for that matter). The MMPI is a really weird test but I figured the best way to go was to answer as honestly as I possibly could even when I thought the answers might not reflect well on me.

His office manager is friendly. Dr. Mann himself is a bit quirky though no more than any other mental health professional I've ever met. He is friendly but definitely maintains distance. He pulled no punches with me which made me uncomfortable at times, though I did get legitimate insights about myself from some of his comments to me.

In joint sessions with my ex, he was definitely more sensitive toward my ex and my ex's allegations than he seemed to be with me which made me uncomfortable at times. On a couple of occasions I felt that he called me out on some really minor issues while tiptoeing around my ex's issues. On at least one occasion I walked out thinking that he was going to go my ex's way. In retrospect, however, I think he knew that my ex would not accept straight forward contradiction or criticism and would not accept any recommendation he might make if my ex felt that my ex's allegations were not fully heard and considered. In other words, he created some theatre for my ex at my short term expense in an effort to keep my ex on board and ultimately more likely to accept his recommendations.

Dr. Mann personally interviewed everyone who could support or refute the allegations my ex made, including indirectly asking the children in several ways on several occasions. He also addressed more and more directly with time my ex's issues with my ex and over time got my ex to agree that my ex might be part of the problem.

Finally, he prepared a detailed report that included a detailed description of the allegations, the results of his investigation regarding the allegations and my ex's own issues. His recommendations were different from what my ex or I wanted but which were reasonable and fair.

After my ex and I went over the report with our respective attorneys, we agreed to accept the recommendation which was essentially 50-50 alternating weeks (Dr. Mann doesn't think in terms of percentages but I know that if you're reading this review it's what you really want to know).

Since that time our once intractably bitter relationship has become quite cooperative. We are now able to communicate regularly and, although we have differing views and parenting styles in a variety of areas, we are able to compromise to present a united front to keep the children from manipulating each of us by playing us off against each other. The children are happier, are noticeably less stressed and are doing better in school and in life.

I certainly can't speak to the experiences of others but I can make the obvious observation that most people who bother to post reviews are those that are unhappy with the outcome of the process. While the outcome in my case was not exactly what I, my ex or our even our kids wanted, the outcome does seem to be in the best interests of the children which is, after all, the point of the entire exercise.

He did charge us more than the original estimate and he did send us a final bill that was beyond even his revised estimate. All in all, however, if we had gone to him in the beginning, we could have paid him double what he charged us and still saved a ton of money in attorneys's fees.

One last thing. In the other reviews I noted that some people have commented that Dr. Mann thinks he is judge, jury and/or God and that whatever he says goes. In my case he was very clear that his recommendation usually carried significant weight but was not always followed by the court which I felt to be an accurate assessment of the effect of his recommendations.

All in all, I'd have to say that I would highly recommend Dr. Mann to anyone who is open to putting aside their own issues and focusing on their kids. The really tragic thing is that California law is designed to create custody conflicts and destroy children and families by awarding money in the form of support to one parent based on the amount of time that that parent can keep the children away from the other parent. I am certain and without doubt that if support were simply based on the number of children and the parties' relative incomes without regarding to custody time share the number of custody battles would be reduced by 90%, resulting in healthier, happier children of divorced parents. But that's another issue for another forum.


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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/04/2011 11:05 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Socially Awkward

AUTHOR: Thomas - ()

I can't complain about the 730 report Mr. Mann wrote as it was favorable to me. But he really does appear socially awkward and is very odd. He's probably one of those men who decided to study psychology to figure out what was wrong with himself. He is aloof and certainly considers himself to be above the rest of us. In my case, he evaluated my son's medical records and commented on his medical condition and the prescription drugs he was taking as if he were a medical doctor. After reading the other reviews, I too was kind of nervous about him, and especially after sitting alone in the same room with him. Creepy. I wasn't sure what he might write in the report. But in the end, and fortunately for me, my ex pissed him off and things ended up going my way. If you want him to write a favorable report, just tell him what he wants to hear.  Don't let him know if you have traditional or conservative ideas about how to raise kids. That was another of my ex's mistakes. Mr. Mann is one of those new-age kooks, so use lots of flowery talk about utopian ideals. And tell him how a child is his/her own little adult and should never have a timeout/punishment for bad behavior, after all, they're just being themselves and showing their individuality. Overall, Mr. Mann is not that bright and can be outsmarted if you keep your cool and your story straight. Ask lots of questions to let him think he's smarter than you and appear really impressed and feign wonder when he answers them. He loves that.
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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

dr mann

AUTHOR: squirty56 - (United States of America)

Mann is a complete boob. A very dangerous one though. A person who feeds off the corrupt courts and preys on the vulnerable. Dr Mann is crude, demeaning and pompous. Those are his good points. A truer tinker charlatan you won't find. A bottom feeding windbag of a w***e. His complaints are voluminous and all ring true. The Attorney General should investigate him as a racketeer. Why are there so many complaints? His defenders on here are probably him or an associate. He is a scatterbrained idiot who does not even know who he is talking to and mixes up his cases. Mann is a poisonous vermin ridden wreck. Avoid him at all cost.
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#3 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Johnny Softlips - (U.S.A.)

The bottom line here is that dozens of court ordered parents who worked with Dr. Mann were shocked by his God-like behavior, waste of time and running up on the bills and his horrendous and misguided recommendations to the court. He mixed my case with another family's case and was sifting through a large binder for almost 20 minutes with one of my witnesses before he figured out that he was looking in the wrong case information.

I can understand that some people may be upset with the outcome, regardless of it being correct or not, but Dr. Mann is NOT normal and he is scary, pompous, one-sided, dim witted and mixes up cases. He spent an hour trying to hit on my girlfriend and asked her zero questions about my experience as a father or  how I was around our kids. His report was filled with errors, whacky observations and completely unfair recommendations. This is not what you want to happen to you when going through a highly serious issue such as child custody.

By the way, the original posting here is obviously being done by someone in the Dr. Mann camp (possibly a friend or a PR person as indicated before).

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#4 Author of original report

Child custody reports are confidential by law but here's what I'll do

AUTHOR: robear - (USA)

I just created a hotmail account. and if you have the courage to find you how real I am and how real my case was, you send me an email.  If YOU are real, I'll respond with what information I can.  I'm waiting!
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#5 Author of original report

The haters are definitely out

AUTHOR: robear - (USA)

It's like politics here.  Everybody seems to want to post negative reviews and when one person posts a positive review he is accused of everything from being a liar to a plant.  The fact is, based on the vitriol in most of the responses to my post, I'm not surprised that you did not like Dr. Mann's recommendation.  You seem unable even to accept that there may be legitimate differing opinions. 

Of course it is no coincidence that I live in Mission Viejo!  His geographical proximity was one of the original reasons I agreed to stipulate to him as the evaluator.  

I love the comment that says I must be very forgiving after being called an alcoholic and bipolar.  First, I am forgiving, second, the comment is a non sequiter as it was not Dr. Mann who called me those things but rather it was my ex and it was Dr. Mann who was able not only to see through those false claims but to bring my ex around to admitting that they were not actual concerns.

The fact that you cannot accept the fact any positive feedback regarding Dr. Mann in a case you known nothing about involving people you know nothing about indicates that Dr. Mann may have seen something in you that led him to believe that you might not be the parent you'd like to believe you are and his recommendation may well have been the best one for your children.  There is way too much hate in your objections to my positive experience with Dr. Mann.
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#6 General Comment


AUTHOR: Vavre - (United States of America)

I believe that this comment is a total hoax and challenge this comment to be actually verified with legal documentation. And when I say documentation, I mean documentation that is defined as actual evidence in the CCC. A lot of these website users are the Dr.'s themselves who want to "balance out" all of the negative comments.
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#7 Consumer Comment

More Info Please

AUTHOR: James Guarda - (USA)

Yowsa! Let me say how sorry I am that you had to go through all that for custody! That sounds brutal and emotionally wrenching. I too am deeply concerned after reading online reviews of Dr Mann- we are currently scheduled to use his services per my attorney's recommendation. My ex-wife and I are in a bitter custody battle for my two daughters. If it not too much trouble- could you please contact me at I have a few questions that only you can answer.
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#8 Consumer Comment

Not buying any parent would read these reviews and roll the dice!

AUTHOR: Angela - (United States of America)

“David J. Mann, Ph.D. “Dr.David Mann, David Mann Only unhappy people post here Internet”

You lost me with your caption--only to post what appears to be a very satisfied review—contradicting yourself.

 Quite frankly, anyone reading the reviews that are looking for a custody evaluator --would likely not take a chance with so many unhappy people.  Unhappy not necessarily  because of the end results—after all posts indicated that high-conflict divorce/custody disputes were resolved amicably after spending thousands on this unethical guy's “recommendations” to the courts.  I actually have another friend going through divorce and couldn’t remember the custody evaluators name/contact info so that I can tell her who NOT to use for her custody evaluation.

Fortunately, I was not directly engaged in the custody dispute in which Dr Mann was hired to evaluate.  I was however-- interviewed as witness for one of Dr Mann’s clients-- and very close to the children involved.  He definitely presents himself as someone with a “god-complex”--- and asked me NOTHING on my perceptions, observations, opinions, or experiences.   He literally spent the time boasting about how many of these cases he has had—showing me binders --and asking me personal questions about my work, etc.,   I was blown away at the complete waste of time—it was clear that he scheduled (and no doubt billed) the time but did not make any use of it.

From what I understand he charged approximately 15K for the evaluation and he didn’t address a solitary issue that the court ordered him to investigate!   As a result-- his “recommendations” were essentially deemed useless --forcing the real issues (child abuse) before the court in trial to determine.

An “expert” is usually someone highly qualified (above the average shrink) to identify not only psychological issues but the dynamics (cause and effect).  Dr Mann stated to me in our meeting that “I don’t believe in cause and effect”. Read that on another complaint, must be his “tagline”—and how convenient?!  People just fight –even a decade after a divorce for no reason?  This belief seems to be in direct conflict with what he is hired to do—determine causes of conflict and the effects on the parties involved.  His incompetence only escalated the conflict and abuses that occurred— all  under the nose of this mental health professional.

And I agree—he is not only odd but rather quite creepy.  The office was extremely small, very dingy, musty, and in dire need of some deep cleaning and decorating. It certainly doesn’t present a very successful, professional, or comfortable environment but rather a government subsidized office. 

That in itself demonstrates that his only clients are all “court ordered evaluations” and not an added service in a successful mental health practice.  

I don’t know what motivated this  glowing review— but I can only hope the many “ bad raps” made Dr Mann step back—and step up to the plate.  Of course, he  has proven himself unethical hence--I question the validity of the review.

Either way—with so many mental health professionals (with better credentials than him) to choose from, why would anyone roll the dice with this guy in lieu of the multiple bad reviews? 
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#9 Consumer Comment

Is this for real?

AUTHOR: Bill - (United States of America)

Wow, a better document could not have been produced by a publicist.What amazing forgiveness by someone being accused of being an alcoholic, bi-polar, and sex addict.There is also an amazing knowledge base of the legal system and psychological testing.It is almost like it was written by an attorney or an expert evaluator.Surely, this will be great publicity for Dr. Mann in setting right an amazing man, wrongly accused.

She also must have significant training in psychotherapy to assess Dr. Manns skills in manipulating her ex-husband.She states:In other words, he (Dr. Mann) created some theatre for my ex at my short term expense in an effort to keep my ex on board and ultimately more likely to accept his recommendations.Then she goes on to show her own amazing expertise by saying: I did get legitimate insights about myself from some of his comments to me.I was most impressed by her ability to know what Dr. Mann was doing in his private sessions with her children.She states:Dr. Mann personally interviewed everyone who could support or refute the allegations my ex made, including indirectly asking the children in several ways on several occasions.I was a little concerned that this complaint may have been written by a professional website to restore incompetent, arrogant, self indulgent, professionals reputations when I saw:All in all, I'd have to say that I would highly recommend Dr. Mann to anyone who is open to putting aside their own issues and focusing on their kids.But I had to dismiss that.

Even Dr. Mann and publicity sites would not manipulate the information of parents and children going through the most torturous time of their lives.A time of life that results in an increase of suicidal attempts for both boys and girls going through this; as documented in a study out of Toronto University published in the January 2011 issue of Psychiatry Research.No one could be that disturbed and desperate. No one would be so self-deceptive as to place their career, greed, and omniscience over the pain and suffering of the people coming to them for help; over the children who only want to be with and love their parents.

Thank you for clarifying that all those who are complaining, are misguided and deserved what the incredible Dr. Mann recommended; because they were not able to put aside their own issues and focus on their kids.Thank God that Dr. Mann is there for the children.

What an incredible coincidence that the author of this report is from the same community where Dr. Mann has his office. Mission Viejo. This must be a great place to live.
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