AFCC 15th Symposium on Child Custody

Sessions

Coffee and Rolls for Institutes

7:45AM - 8:45AM


Pre-Symposium Institutes*

8:45AM - 4:45PM

1. When the Deck is Stacked: Sorting Stress from Trauma in Family Court

There can be a blurred line in distinguishing trauma from the extreme stress that can stem from intense, but normal human experience. Presenters in this institute will differentiate between trauma, toxic stress,  and ordinary stress, and will examine interdisciplinary approaches toward assessing clients with extreme emotional  resentations and experiences. Attendees will learn about developmental and cultural factors that are pertinent in building resilience in clients to help them develop coping skills to manage and process their court-involved experiences. The presenters will examine evidence-informed treatment approaches and offer strategies for when and how to refer a client for additional mental health support. Finally, presenters will demonstrate skills for conducting a trauma-informed interview with an interdisciplinary lens to best identify and meet the needs of the client.

Chioma Ajoku, JD, PhD, ABPP, Brooklyn, NY
Ruth Ouzts Moore, PhD, Savannah, GA
Terence Singh, PhD, ABPP, Calgary, AB, Canada
Robin Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Newton, MA

2. Playing Your Cards Right: Meaningful Integration of Test Data into a Parenting Plan Evaluation

Psychological testing is one of the major data collection methods in any custody evaluation. The integration of psychological test data remains one of the most challenging aspects of data analysis. This institute will focus on generating, analyzing, and  integrating psychological test data into the final report, as well as how to use and integrate assessment data on children into the evaluation process and report. This is an advanced institute and participants should have prior knowledge of psychological testing.

Kara Anast, PsyD, Libertyville, IL
Sol R. Rappaport, PhD, ABPP, Libertyville, IL
James Flens, PsyD, ABPP, Valrico, FL

3. Co-parent Coaching as Dispute Resolution

Co-parent coaching is a dispute resolution process that not only helps parents resolve their disputes, but improves the underlying dynamic that supports ongoing functional co-parenting. This institute will present an overview of the Co-Parent Coaching program in Delaware County, Ohio. The pilot program includes three phases of coaching, extensive support for high-conflict parents, and a data collection process for conducting research on the effectiveness of the program.

Amy Armstrong, MSW, Delaware, OH
Hon. Randall Fuller, Delaware, OH

4. The ABC’s and 123’s of a Child Custody Evaluation

Learning to conduct scientifically sound child custody evaluations can be daunting for new evaluators. This institute will detail the process of a child custody evaluation from the court order through the report, emphasizing proper methodology, policies, and procedures in compliance with the AFCC Guidelines for Parenting Plan Evaluations. The presenters will provide a roadmap for conducting evaluations, with and without psychological testing, for families in rural and urban communities on any budget.

Tammi Axelson, LMSW-IPR, Lufkin, TX
Victoria Harvey, PhD, MSCJ, Frisco, TX
Christy Bradshaw, MA, LPC, Coppell, TX

Opening Session

5:15PM - 6:45PM

AFCC Guidelines for Parenting Plan Evaluations: A Shakespearean Tragedy or Much Ado About Nothing?

AFCC’s new Guidelines for Parenting Plan Evaluation are designed to improve practice, protect consumers, and support  children and families. Input from AFCC members was sought throughout the development of the document, and more than 500 comments and suggestions were submitted following the posting of the draft Guidelines. In this session, several Task Force members examine the new Guidelines; discuss how they serve to protect both evaluators and family members; address the role of the Guidelines in meeting the needs of a diverse population of practitioners; and attempt to allay fears of a tragic denouement for evaluators.

Arnold T. Shienvold, PhD, Harrisburg, PA
Kathleen McNamara, PhD, Fort Collins, CO
David Martindale, PhD, ABPP, Saint Petersburg, FL
Aaron Robb,, PhD, LPC-S, Frisco, TX
Andrea Jones, MSW, RSW, Toronto, ON, Canada
Hon. Herman Walker, Jr., Anchorage, AK

Welcome Reception

6:45PM - 7:45PM


Yoga and Mediation

6:15AM - 7:15AM


Coffee and Rolls

7:45AM - 8:30AM


Plenary Session

8:30AM - 10:00AM

Is it Just a Word Game? The Dangers of Concept Creep in Family Law

Concept creep in the field of psychology refers to the semantic inflation of concepts related to the description of harm, such as violence, abuse, bullying and trauma. While the expansion of definitions of harm can identify new, previously unrecognized forms of harm (e.g., cyber bullying expanding from the concept of bullying), broadening these concepts can dilute the intent and measurement of harm concepts, conflate the etiology of harm, and trivialize more severe forms of harm. This panel will introduce concept creep from historical, psychological, and research perspectives to discuss the opportunities and challenges of mutating concepts of harm. The panel will then highlight examples of semantic inflations of harm in family law, specifically addressing trauma, domestic violence, parental alienation, gatekeeping, and attachment

Jennifer Hardesty, PhD, Urbana, IL
Michael A. Saini, PhD, Toronto, ON, Canada
Matthew J. Sullivan, PhD, Santa Cruz, CA
Peter Jaffe, PhD, London, ON, Canada

Break

10:00AM - 10:30AM


Workshops 1-6

10:30AM - 12:00PM

1. Cultural and Religious Factors in Custody Evaluations and Decisions

This workshop presents an interdisciplinary perspective for forensic evaluators, attorneys, and psychologists about the cultural and religious issues that impact custody determinations regarding access, decision making, and possible restrictions on one parent’s conduct when having that access. The presenters will review current case law and explore fact patterns that will highlight the impact of cultural and religious factors on divorce and custody proceedings when a spouse changes the course of their beliefs during the marriage.

Martin E. Friedlander, JD, Brooklyn, NY
Alberto A. Yohananoff, PhD, New York, NY
Hon. Jane Pearl, New York, NY

2. What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go to Their Other Parent’s Home

One of the most complicated and risky situations post-separation occurs when a child resists or refuses contact with a parent. This workshop serves as a guide to parents (for clinicians, the legal profession, and the court) on how to differentiate b etween t hose families in which parent-child contact problems are a potential problem versus when resistance is within the normal range. In this hands-on session, the presenters will develop a tool to assist parents with the identification a nd management of potential consequences and create resources to work with parent-child contact problems.

Leslie M. Drozd, PhD, Seattle, WA
Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Newton, MA

3. Supervised Visitation/Parenting Time: The Who, What, Why, and How

Supervised visitation supports safe relationships between parents and children in family court cases that typically involve allegations and findings of domestic violence and child abuse/neglect. This workshop will explore circumstances that warrant supervised visitation, options for who will supervise and where this will occur, appropriate requirements for parents and supervisors, and considerations for determining how and when supervision can be modified or eliminated. The presenters will offer the perspectives of a judicial officer, mediator, evaluator, and parenting coordinator.

Jennifer E. Joseph, JD, Saint Paul, MN
Mindy F, Mitnick, EdM, MA, Edina, MN
Hon. James Street, Saint Paul, MN

4. Ethics of Hybrid and Online Dispute Resolution with Self-Represented Litigants

Ethical considerations are the cornerstone of fair and effective dispute resolution processes. The switch to virtual, online, and hybrid dispute resolution models have added new ethical considerations and traps for the dispute resolution practitioner. Add in the twist of working with self-represented litigants and the ethical minefield becomes even more precarious. The presenters will explore common dilemmas and facilitate a lively discussion about potential resolutions.
 

Hon. Michael Rust, Oshkosh, WI
Jean Sternlight, JD, Las Vegas, NV

5. Preventing Serious Child Mental Health Crises in Divorcing Families

The incidence of serious mental health crises in children and teens has been declared a national emergency by the Surgeon General. The risk is greater for divorcing families. A new online program for parents and their children teaches evidence-based stress reduction methods. Children’s attention is fostered by seven different child hosts who interact with a wise, kind, animated alien, Orby. Preliminary evidence shows reductions in children’s stress, anxiety, depression and school behavior problems. Other treatments and preventive approaches for child depression and anxiety will be summarized.
 

Donald A. Gordon, PhD, Ashland, OR

6. Preparation is Not a Gamble: Tips for Effective Testimony in Child Custody Cases

All too often mental health professionals do not fully understand the rules of evidence, and the advocacy roles of attorneys. Similarly, attorneys often do not understand the child custody evaluation process, how testing can be utilized, and the basis upon which mental health professionals formulate opinions and recommendations. In this session, a seasoned attorney and a seasoned mental health professional will offer a primer for what each role needs to know about the other, and will share best practices for greater efficacy when preparing for, and testifying in the courtroom.
 

Lawrence Jay Braunstein, JD, White Plains, NY
Sol R. Rappaport , PhD, ABPP, Libertyville, IL

Luncheon

12:00PM - 1:30PM

Rapport, Emotion, and Credibility in the Zoom Room

Use of videoconferencing and other technology seems to have overtaken family law, potentially introducing more efficiency into mediation, custody evaluations, court hearings, and other processes. But what is the impact of switching from in-person communication to videoconferencing or other technology in terms of emotions, rapport, credibility assessments, focus, fatigue and other factors? How can professionals both select and design the most appropriate forum? Professor Sternlight will share insights from her research on the psychology of alternative communication technologies.

Professor Jean Sternlight, Univ. of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law, Las Vegas, NV

Workshops 7-12

1:45PM - 3:15PM

7. Diversity and the Revised AFCC Guidelines: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

The new AFCC Guidelines for Conducting Parenting Plan Evaluations include multiple references to the importance of considering and understanding issues of diversity. Parenting plan evaluators must approach each new appointment with sensitivity to diversity and a willingness to learn what is important to the family from a cultural perspective. The information in this workshop will enhance the skill level and knowledge needed for evaluators to do so, and also benefit the families receiving parenting plan evaluations.
 

April Harris-Britt, PhD, Durham, NC
Andrea Jones, MSW, RSW, Toronto, ON, Canada

8. Mediation for Unrepresented Parents

Is successful mediation dependent on legal representation? Does the fundamental nature of mediation, and the mediator’s role and ethical responsibility change if parents are unrepresented? Is it expected that presentation, participation, and understanding of mediation may be different for unrepresented parents? Is mediation inclusion dependent on representation? This interactive, reflective, and cognitive skills-based session will use scenarios, examples, and discussion to explore these questions.
 

Hon. Nancy Flatters, (Ret.), Calgary, AB, Canada
Larry S. Fong, PhD, Calgary, AB, Canada

9. Stop the Madness: Avoiding Adverse Childhood Experiences and Other Maladies

Must every separation result in ongoing parental conflict, as well as damage to children? Too often, family law professionals intervene too late and struggle to mitigate damage after the process has devolved into litigation. What can we as professionals do prophylactically to avoid or limit the damage to parents and children? This workshop explores how to support early intervention in the separation process, how to use resources such as therapists, mediators, and parenting plan coordinators before litigation ensues, and how to better educate parents and those who work with families in crisis about the multitude of adverse childhood consequences that result from ongoing conflict and litigation.

Michael J. Kretzmer, JD, Angeles, CA
Susan Rempel, PhD, El Segundo, CA
Hon. Mark A. Juhas, Los Angeles, CA

10. Integrated Responses to Complex Families

High-conflict cases use considerable court time and are stressful for all parties involved, including the professionals. These cases can take on a circular pattern, returning to court repeatedly, and there may be multiple assessments and various problems with the implementation of therapeutic interventions. This presentation will examine interdisciplinarian issues within the court process through the lens of a judge, an assessor, and a therapist, and what each of these roles needs from one another to better serve these complex cases.

Alyson G. Jones, MA, RCC
Hon. Patricia M. Bond, Vancouver, BC, Canada

11. My Child Hates Me: Research and Recommendations on Parent-Child Estrangement

Resist/refuse dynamics in families are challenging to legal and mental health profes- sionals while overwhelming the court system. The presenters conducted a qualitative research study on the  experiences of parents who are estranged from their child(ren) to identify how to best help  families with these dynamics. In this workshop, the research findings will be presented and the  application of findings will be explored. The present- ers will also discuss helpful factors for  the relationship repair process, how to keep a systemic approach, and what professionals need to  know when they have a client with a resist/refuse family system.

Erin Guyette, MS, Saint Paul, MN
Steven M. Harris, MA, PhD, Saint Paul, MN

12. The Neuroscience Revolution and the Family Court

This cutting edge session will focus on the use of neuroscience in family court, including brain scans, the value of neuroscientific evidence, critical evaluation of science-related evidence, and limitations. Emerging neuroscience topics relevant to family court will also be discussed alongside Daubert considerations.

Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD, Newton, MA
Hon. Linda Fidnick, Northampton, MA Fidnick, Northampton, MA

Break

3:15PM - 3:30PM


Workshops 13-18

3:30PM - 5:00PM

13. The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Court-Involved Children

Children with court involvement have often encountered adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and are mistrustful of court professionals, as they are uncertain as to what information will be shared and with whom. This presentation will explore the effects of ACEs and court involvement on children’s resistance and mistrust when interacting with court professionals. Emphasis will be given to cultural humility in the trust-building process and providing trauma informed care to ensure that children feel comfortable making disclosures that are necessary when making recommendations and decisions in their best interest.
 

Ruth Ouzts Moore, PhD, Savannah, GA
Susan J. Foster, PhD, Hammond, LA
Jaymie VanMeter, PhD, Chicago, IL

14. Crafting Parenting Plans that Address the Unique Cultural Dynamics of a Family

While education is the key to recognizing the implicit biases that may impact our view of families involved in the custody dispute resolution process, this workshop provides attendees with methods of recognizing and interrupting when our responses to a situation are based on stereotypes and limited exposure. In addition, the presenters will provide concrete interventions for use in parenting plans around racial, ethnic, religious and identity issues that arise with families.
 

Dawn Smith, JD, Tucker, GA
Daniel Bloom, JD, Atlanta, GA

15. Looking Inward: Recognizing and Overcoming Our Biases

Family court practitioners are not immune from biases related to age, gender, race, and other identities, though we may not always be aware of these biases or their influence on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When hidden biases remain unrecognized and unaddressed, they have the potential to compromise the services we provide to children, youth, and families. This workshop will provide an overview of the psychological literature on explicit and implicit biases, empirically supported methods for minimizing their impact, and the limitations of these methods. Personal reflection will be encouraged.
 

Lindsey Sank Davis, PhD, Brookline, MA

16. Child Custody Assessment: New Professional Perspectives from Research

This session is based on insights from recent research on child custody assessment (CCA). The main pitfalls observed in CCA identified through the analysis of 45 complaint files to a psychology licensing board will be described. Individual and group interviews with law and mental health professionals highlight the role of CCA in giving a voice to children and supporting conflict resolution. Communication challenges for professionals, as well as the shortage of professionals are also discussed. All of these results will support reflections about the promotion of best professional practices.
 

Karine Poitras, PhD, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada
Julie Maheux, PhD, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada
Arianne Marois, BA, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada

17. Affairs and Their Impact on Co-Parenting and Parent-Child Relationships

This presentation will explore extramarital affairs and their impact on the divorce process. A focus upon the co-parenting relationship both during and after divorce will include issues of trust, ability to communicate and make child-focused decisions, and the development of custody and parenting plans. The possible impact on children and the parent-child relationships will also be explored, including any contributions to parent-child contact problems.
 

Tamsen Thorpe, PhD, Morristown, NJ
Sharon Ryan Montgomery, PsyD, Morristown, NJ
Marcy A. Pasternak , PhD, Watchung, NJ

18. Conducting Homes Studies Virtually: Developments in Puerto Rico

This workshop will focus on how conducting home studies are reinvented virtually for relocation cases. A proposed model for conducting virtual home studies for evaluating the proposed jurisdiction by the moving parent will be presented using Puerto Rico as context. The model is based on social capital perspective, specifically the ecological comparison component under the Bronfenbrenner’s Ecosystem Framework. Participants will be able to picture how the ecological comparison component can be operationalized through public governmental available apps.
 

Paul-Jesús Fericelli , PhD, San Juan, PR

DE&I Open Forum

5:00PM - 6:00PM

DE&I Open Forum

Please join the DE&I Committee as we host an informal discussion for individuals who identify as members of underrepresented communities to have a safe space to share experiences, provide support, and offer solutions.


Taste of Las Vegas

6:00PM - 9:30PM


Yoga and Mediation

6:15AM - 7:15AM


Coffee and Rolls

7:45AM - 8:30AM


Workshops 19-24

8:30AM - 10:00AM

19. Detecting Children Exposed to Drug Using Environments (Including Fentanyl)

Caregivers in addiction can have impaired judgement, respond inappropriately, and maybe inattentive, violent, and paranoid. Detecting exposure to such environments is paramount to protecting the lives of those under the care of such guardians, especially if they cannot speak for themselves. Infants and toddlers, for example, touch their surroundings and put everything in their mouths, and toddlers may be given illicit substances to make them, e.g., happy or drowsy. Learn how environmental drug exposure testing differs from standard hair drug testing (ingestion vs exposure), how hair compares to other specimens tested, how drugs are incorporated into hair, and why the lookback (window of detection) is up to approximately three months.
 

Joseph Jones, PhD, Des Plaines, IL

20. Implementing Evaluation Guidelines for Novice Evaluators and Their Supervisors

Some commenters have suggested that AFCC’s Guidelines for Parenting Plan Evaluations are complex and too difficult to implement. While detailed, the Guidelines reflect competencies and procedures that most novice evaluators learn in graduate school or their first years of practice as they are building towards working in the sub-specialty area of family law. Whether a novice yourself, or supervising up-and-coming evaluators, this session will help articulate experience, identify areas that need focused study, and utilize the Guidelines to benefit your practice.
 

Aaron Robb, PhD, Frisco, TX

21. Deconstructing Supportive Parenting of Gender Expansive and Sexual Diverse Youth

High-conflict family court disputes involving transgender/gender expansive (TGE) and sexual diverse youth often include claims that an affirming parent is “too supportive” of a child’s identity, leading to undue, negative influence on children. This session will cover psychological theories and gender stereotypes that underscore these cases, discuss empirical literature on supportive parenting behaviors and protective factors, examine longitudinal data from a study examining experiences of affirming parents of TGE youth in the family court system, and provide an empirical approach to examining affirming parenting in the context of best interest standards.
 

Stef Sloan, PhD, Lawrence, KS
Camellia Bellis, MEd, Phoenix, AZ
Katherine Kuvalanka, PhD, Oxford, OH

22. The Art of Parallel Parenting Plans and Disengaging Too Engaged Parents

This session will offer model provisions for parallel parenting plans that are focused on disengaging high-conflict parents and that contemplate the use of parenting coordination and/or co-parenting counseling, post judgment, to create an overall structure, that allows parents to disengage. Further, the model provisions will also be used to discuss how they might be applied in parenting coordination and co-parenting counseling to make this structure more successful in reducing conflict between parents.

 

Simone A. Haberstock, JD, LLM, Saint Louis, MO
Kevin J. Chafin, MA, LPC, Kansas City, MO

23. Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA): What the Research Shows

In child custody cases, one parent may allege factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA) (formerly called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy), to gain an advantage. FDIA is a severe form of child abuse in which a caregiver misleads health care providers about a child’s medical and/or psychological symptoms resulting in the child undergoing unnecessary procedures for a condition that may not exist. Challenges that FDIA presents to the legal and mental health systems will be discussed.
 

Eileen A. Kohutis, PhD, Livingston, NJ

24. Use of Psychological Tests in Custody Evaluations: Experiences from Puerto Rico

Child custody evaluations include a broad range of procedures, suggested protocols, as well as considerations of referrals to mental health specialists for deeper exploration of the persons involved in the process. Best practices for child custody  evaluations suggest each psychological test, as well as interview procedure be selected and implemented considering cultural adaptations, and standardization practices. In this workshop, the presenters will share practical recommendations on do’s and don’ts regarding the application of psychological tests and interview procedures with Latino (specifically Puerto Rican) population. Also, general recommendations regarding the process of incorporation of the results in a forensic report, as well as aspects related to testimony, will be given. These suggestions are based on practical experiences of the presenters as
evaluators and expert consultants in child custody procedures in Puerto Rico.
 

Yaritza M. Lopez, PhD, Juana Diaz, PR 
Eunice Alvarado, PsyD, Guayama, PR
Bianca Perez, BA, Ponce, PR

Break

10:00AM - 10:30AM


Workshops 25-30

10:30AM - 12:00PM

25. Children with Special Needs and Resist-Refuse Dynamics: Unique Vulnerabilities

Children with special needs who suffer from moderate to severe conditions are frequently compromised in their adaptive skills relative to their neurotypical peers. These neurodiverse children are especially prone to being brought into skewed parent-child alignments post-separation, given their less flexible coping skills, and increased or prolonged dependence. This workshop will explore how the neurodiverse child’s deficits in resilience and capacity to manage change, combined with common gatekeeping dynamics often seen in special need’s families, may lead to a greater risk for the development
of risk-refuse dynamics.

 

Daniel B. Pickar, PhD, ABPP, Santa Rosa, CA
Robert L. Kaufman, PhD, ABPP, San Rafael, CA

26. Understanding the Benefits of a Child’s Attorney in Contentious Custody Cases

Children’s attorneys from The Child’s Advocate (TCA), Legal Aid of North Carolina, will present their model to provide direct representation to children in contentious custody cases. The presenters will describe the benefits of this model in cases involving domestic violence, child mistreatment or abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, chronic litigation, children with a disability, gender identity issues, estrangement of a child, or relocation of a parent. The presentation will include reflections and insights from a young adult man formerly represented by TCA at the age of 16, after having been embroiled in his parents’
custody dispute for over ten years.

Suzanne Chester, JD, PhD, Raleigh, NC
Atiya Mosley, JD, Raleigh, NC
David J, Raleigh, NC
Moderator: Peter Jaffe, PhD, London, ON Canada

27. Multi-Party Collaboration in High-Conflict Family Support: Can Technology Help?

Supporting high-conflict families in transition — divorce or other changes — requires recognition of practical constraints on the family and the collaboration of family members plus a range of external service providers: lawyers, financial advisors, social workers, psychologists, school officials, and others. This workshop will discuss the challenges and techniques for identifying constraints, like financial limitations, and managing this multi-faceted collaboration, including a discussion of current and future technology tools that could help the practitioner facilitate reaching family decisions that work for all participants.

Gary R. Doernhoefer, JD, Columbus, OH
Tracy Ann Moore-Grant, JD, Cumming, GA

28. Anti-Social and Psychopathic Parents: Implications for Family Court

Parental antisocial behavior as well as the presence of psychopathic traits in parents are both of significant concern to child protection agencies and family courts. Research has shown the potential negative impact anti-social parents have on the development of children. This session will examine the potential impact of parental antisocial behavior and psychopathic traits on child protection and custody cases in family court and suggest best practice interventions.
 

Robert C. Rowe, PhD, Kingston, ON, Canada

29. Fatherhood Involvement and Child Custody: Tips and Best Practices from the NRFC

When it comes to child custody, fathers can sometimes get the “short end of the stick.” Regardless of visitation rights of dads and their children, fatherhood involvement is essential to the growth and development of children. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), through fatherhood.gov, provides free tips, resources, and guides to co-parent with the child’s mother and provide in-depth details on how fathers can stay involved in their child’s life. The presenters will review existing resources and share ideas for supporting the critical relationships between children and their fathers.
 

Eugene Schneeberg, Fairfax, VA
James R. Worthy, Fairfax, VA

30. SAFeR, Your Winning Hand: Effects of Domestic Abuse in Child Welfare Mediation

Domestic violence pervasively influences all aspects of the family, and is often highlighted in child welfare cases. An analysis of the effects of domestic violence on a family is crucial to family wellbeing. This workshop will enable legal practitioners, focusing on mediators and those that work in child welfare, to understand the unique dynamics of intimate partner violence and how to offer a child protection mediation experience with safer outcomes for survivor parents and their children.
 

Tracy E. M. Shoberg, JD, Saint Paul, MN
Barbra A. Grimmer, Austin, TX

Lunch on your own

12:00PM - 1:30PM


Workshops 31-36

1:30PM - 3:00PM

31. Unsticking the Stuck Client: A Process for Going from Resistance to Resilience

What are you supposed to do with the stuck client who can’t seem to pull themselves from the conflict? The presenter will review a successful “unsticking” process that professionals can use to help clients learn appropriate information about personality disorders; shore up their five “vulnerable values;” self-regulate; employ a counter-intuitive communication plan; and learn to trust themselves differently and more effectively. The workshop includes exercises and strategies professionals can immediately use with clients.

Jennifer L. McBride McNamara, MA, LMFT, Eagan, MN

32. Impacts of Intimate Partner Violence on Children and Protective Caregivers

This workshop will explore the impact of exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) on children’s mental health and social-emotional development. There will be detailed focus on how exposure to IPV can alter children’s representations of their caregivers and change their ways of relating to them. Through clinical vignettes and case examples, the workshop will translate how these impacts, which primarily unfold outside of the courtroom, may manifest in family court proceedings.
 

Neena McConnico, PhD, Boston, MA
Courtney Bailey, LICSW, Boston, MA

33. Getting Ready: Preparing for High-Conflict Cases

While many families successfully navigate the divorce and child custody systems, others struggle due to issues including substance misuse, parental alienating behaviors, and intimate partner violence. These challenges may be compounded by language, physical and mental health barriers, and other access to justice issues. The panelists, a mediator, a social worker, and a judge, will discuss their roles, how the process can be improved for families, how to manage these challenges in the moment, and how to avoid secondary trauma.
 

Ann E. Webb, JD, PhD, Houston, TX
Hon. Janet B Heppard, Richmond, TX
Tasha L. Willis, JD, LLM, Houston, TX

34. Parental Supervision or Parental Engagement? Therapeutic Access: A New Model

This workshop will review the use of therapeutic access as an intervention for use in the context of separation and divorce and with parents whose parenting time requires supervision. Participants will obtain a clear understanding of how therapeutic access differs from other interventions. Case examples will be utilized to examine how therapeutic access generates valuable information about the target parent’s knowledge, ability and receptivity to feedback, as well as increased understanding of the child’s feelings and responses to parental contact.
 

Jane A. Gillespiea, BSW, MSW, Calgary, AB, Canada
Evelyn Wotherspoon, BSW, MSW, Calgary, AB, Canada Wotherspoon, BSW, MSW, Calgary, AB, Canada

35. Growth Mindset: Application in Dispute Resolution

This workshop explores the growth mindset theory. Individuals with a growth mindset believe their intelligence and talents can be developed over time through hard work. We will examine the benefits of a growth mindset and how it can be used as a positive tool to help parties work toward a resolution when faced with challenging family law issues. Discussion includes examples and a simulation. Attendees will learn skills to enhance their practice as a neutral or participant.
 

Julie Mitrovich-King, Magistrate, Painesville, OH
Wendy J. Smither, Mediation Magistrate, Painesville, OH

36. Saying “Gay”: Talking Knowledgeably and Inclusively About LGBTQ+ Issues

As backlash against LGBTQ+ people grows, professionals must proactively embrace a supportive family law community. In this session, the presenters review the seminal cases and current legal developments shaping the conversation around LGBTQ+ people in the US. They will share actionable, practical ways law practitioners can be forwardthinking, affirming and inclusive as they welcome LGBTQ+ clients, children or families into their offices (virtually or in-person) and courtrooms.
 

Heather R. McCabe, JD, Fulton, MD McCabe, JD, Fulton, MD
Emily L. Russell , JD, Fulton, MD