1. Rejecting Binary Resist-Refuse Dynamics Models in Favor of an Evaluative Rubric
Evaluation and adjudication of parent-child contact problems demand an inductive approach to understanding the complex and interwoven variables associated with this dynamic. Binary answers may appeal to litigants’ confirmational biases, zealous advocates, and the pressures of the conventional courts but commonly risk doing grave harm. This discussion will expose the illogical and unscientific foundation of the binary approach as represented by the “5-factor model.” An organizing rubric is introduced to assist evaluators and the courts to better understand and begin to respond to the genuine complexity of human relationships.
Benjamin D. Garber, PhD, Family Law Consulting, Nashua, NH
Allen L. Levy, LPA, Generations A Family Place, Anchorage, AK
2. The Frequent-Flyer Pandemic: Getting the Right Services to the Right Family at the Right Time
Often labeled as “frequent flyers,” every court works with parties that engage in persistent high conflict behaviors that negatively impact children and strain the resources of the court and mental health system. This session, founded in the real-world experiences of the judges and attorneys working with families, will highlight how early intervention and court programs can help families transition through conflict, resulting in better outcomes. Practical tools, strategies, and secrets from the bench will be shared from both jurisdictions.
Hon. Bruce R. Cohen, Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix, AZ
Alicia K. Davis, JD, National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, VA
Hon. Keven M.P. O’Grady, Johnson County District Court, Olathe, KS
Trina A. Nudson, LBSW, JD, My Child Advocate, Olathe, KS
3. Close Encounters of the Technology Kind: Creating a Virtual Courthouse (Judicial Officers Track)
Is your jurisdiction ready for a virtual courthouse? This workshop will include hands-on tools and test-proven strategies that make Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court a leader in innovative technology initiatives. These innovations include a Navigation/Self-Help Center, the CourtConnect App, and a Virtual Help Center, which will provide a self-service portal and live chat assistance. The investment in technological advancements dramatically improved participation rates and helps users resolve disputes more efficiently. This technology provides meaningful access to justice.
Hon. Francine B. Goldberg, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Cleveland, OH
Hon. Leslie Ann Celebrezze, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Cleveland, OH
Magistrate Jesse W. Canonico, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Cleveland, OH
Nicole R. Block, JD, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Cleveland, OH
4. Listening to Child and Family in Parental Coordination: A Systemic Model in Italy
The family is a system made up of subsystems that interact with each other. The parental coordinator, working with the family, intervenes on the different subsystems that compose it. The focus of this work: analysis and intervention on the child subsystem in the interaction with parents, according to the technique of joint design; knowledge and intervention on the subsystem of the families of origin, working both on internal models internalized by the parents that also involve the maintenance/resolution of conflict, and on the role and functions of the families of origin in highly conflictual situations.
Conny Leporatti, Psychologist and Parenting Coordinator, Florence, Italy
5. The Family Court System and Intimate Partner Violence: The Effects on Young Children
This workshop will cover the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on very young children and the effects on caregiver-child relationships. It will discuss best practices when working with children and when working with these families through the lens of infant and early childhood mental health and trauma. The Strong Starts Court Initiative, a specialized, family court-based approach that focuses on strengthening and protecting attachment relationships, will be highlighted as a model that works to build protective factors and mitigate the risks of IPV through its intergenerational approach.
Kate Wurmfeld, JD, Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY
Kiran Malpe, LCSW, Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY
6. Scared of the Courtroom? Tips and Tricks for Effective Testimony
Does being served with a subpoena terrify you? Does the thought of appearing in court make you sick to your stomach? Is testifying the most dreaded part of your work? Then this workshop is for you. Come learn the tips and tricks grounded in the literature of how to handle even the most difficult cross-examination from two seasoned mental health professionals and an experienced attorney.
Christy Bradshaw Schmidt, MA, LPC, Coppell, TX
Tammi Axelson, MSW-IPR, Lufkin, TX
Sandra L. Mayberry, JD, Parks Solar, LLP, San Diego, CA
7. Beyond Diagnostic Labels: Dimensional Thinking for Respectful Interventions
By shifting our thinking about challenging adult clients from categorical (DSM-labeling the person) to dimensional (seeing all behaviors on a continua), we increase accuracy of the real issues in dispute, reduce inter-parental mistrust, and then can design more accurate interventions for reaching agreements that are more feasible, less stigmatizing, and more accountable. This workshop will explore the most common diagnostic labels that surface in custody disputes, which generate stigmatizing attacks between co-parents, and increase practitioner liability for discrimination allegations. Presenters will offer specific language and methods to mitigate these challenges.
Donald T. Saposnek, PhD, Family Mediation Services, Aptos, CA
Daniel Bernstein, MHS, MH Mediate, White Plains, NY
8. Tools and Tips for Engaging Fathers in Co-Parenting Service Interventions
This workshop has been canceled
9. Too Much Conflict, Not Enough Trust and Respect
This session introduces the resilience-focused concepts of trust and respect as essential for co-parenting. Participants will learn how the family law field’s focus on conflict has minimized opportunities to set parents up for successful co-parenting based on building trust in and respect for each other within their co-parent relationships. Participants will learn how these two factors are related to three additional co-parenting factors across gender, sexual orientation, and family structure. Participants will apply the concepts of trust and respect in assessment, parenting plan development, and broader co-parenting work
Marsha Kline Pruett, PhD, ABPP, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Michael A. Saini, PhD, Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
10. Conflict Profiles and the Experience of Child Custody Assessment
The first part of this workshop is based on nationally representative data from the Longitudinal Study of Separated Parents and Stepfamilies in Quebec (LSSPSQ). The diversity of conflict profiles among separated parents who have specifically undergone a child custody assessment will be presented. These results will be elaborated upon in the second part of the workshop through qualitative data collected from parents and professionals describing their experience of child custody assessment.
Elisabeth Godbout,, PhD, Univ. of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
Karine Poitras, PhD, Univ. of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
Fannie Locat, PsyD (candidate), Univ. of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
Simon Carrier, PsyD (candidate), Univ. of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
11. Focused Issues in Family Law Involving Families with Neurodiverse Children
This workshop discusses four commonly occurring issues in family law disputes when there is a neurodiverse (ND) child: proposed relocation; resist/refuse dynamics; parenting plans for ND and neurotypical siblings; and issues in legal decision-making. This workshop will shed light on how assessment and decision-making processes may need to be altered when a child suffers from a developmental, educational, psychiatric, or medical condition of at least moderate severity.
Robert L. Kaufman, PhD, ABPP, San Rafael, CA
Daniel B. Pickar, PhD, ABPP, PhD, ABPP, Santa Rosa, CA
Hon. Michelle Short, San Fernando, CA
12. Children’s Right to Participate: A New Conceptual and Practical Mode
This workshop is designed for family law and mental health professionals working with children in the family law system. A new conceptual and practical model for enabling and listening to children’s voices will be presented. Presenters will provide a multidisciplinary perspective based on family law research, practice, and child developmental psychology, for understanding children as right-bearers and how they can play a meaningful role in decision-making processes.
Stella Laletas, PhD, Monash Univ., Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Darren A Mort, LLB, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
13. Popular Post-Separation Parenting Apps: A Systemic Evaluation
In recent years, a bewildering array of smartphone apps has emerged to support separated parents’ communication and post-separation parenting arrangements. It is difficult for separated parents — and family law professionals — to know which app or app features might best suit their circumstances, needs and budget. The aim of this workshop is to provide family law professionals with a comprehensive and more nuanced understanding of the potential benefits and risks of post separation parenting apps and their features. This research is funded by the Australian Research Council.
Bruce M. Smyth, PhD, Australian National Univ., Acton, ACT, Australia
Jason L. Payne, PhD, Univ. of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Robert Emery, PhD, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Stephanie Hodson, PhD, Canberra & Region, Canberra, ACT Australia
14. Gun Violence and Family Law: What We Can Do to Reduce Risk
This workshop will examine research on the prevalence of firearm ownership, types of firearm violence impacting families, and what courts and family law professionals can do to reduce risk. Presenters will discuss specific firearm-prohibiting orders, relinquishment protocols, ways of having critical conversations with clients and litigants, and developing key parenting time provisions and arrangements that consider the availability of firearms. Panelists will share their national and local court-specific work drafting successful legislation, protocols, and orders, and experiences working with family law courts, prosecutors, and law enforcement.
Julia F. Weber, JD, MSW, National Center on Gun Violence in Relationships, San Francisco, CA
Hon. Mark A Juhas, Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA
Pallavi Dhawan, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles, CA
Hon. Sherrill Ellsworth (Ret.), Giffords Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Los Angeles, CA
15. Judges Meeting Children: Why, How, and When?
Under what circumstances would a judge meet with a child? What is the purpose of doing so? What about the rights of the child, so a meeting can take place while doing no harm? This workshop includes the voices of judges and emphasizes the inherent tensions between the legal system, role of judges, and the needs and rights of children. After addressing “why” participants will be introduced to “how,” with a sneak peek of a meeting with children for the judge’s approach.
Lorri A. Yasenik, PhD, International Center for Children and Family Law, Calgary, AB, Canada
Jonathan M. Graham, LLB, International Center for Children and Family Law, Five Dock, NSW, Australia
Hon. Sherry Kachur, King’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary, AB, Canada
16. Doxxing: Not Everyone is Happy with You in Court
Recent media coverage about judges and other court professionals having personal information (such as their home addresses, information about family members, social security numbers), posted to the internet and social media highlights potential harm. In this presentation, attendees will learn how this is done and strategies for removing personal information from the internet and remaining safe online. Non-technical language will be used throughout the presentation.
Steven Bradley, Our Family Wizard, Tallahassee, FL
17. Codifying Custody Evaluation Standards in Ohio: Will Mandatory Compliance Improve Performance? (Judicial Officers Track)
This workshop reviews the policy and rationale for creating jurisdictional rules for conducting custody evaluations. Presenters will discuss pre-rule status quo and how mandating requirements for evaluators and courts is expected to improve competency. This is an opportunity to learn about problems and solutions from the judiciary’s perspective. Legal standards will be discussed in light of the recent revision of AFCC’s Model Standards as Guidelines. Those considering adopting similar standards in their localities will benefit from the lessons learned.
Hon. Denise Herman McColley (Ret.), Napoleon, OH
Hon. Diane M. Palos, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, Cleveland, OH
Magistrate Serpil Ergun, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, Cleveland, OH
18. The Impact of Systemic Racism on Children, Youth, and Families
Systemic racism — ethnoracial discrimination embedded in legal and other systems — impacts families; however, research suggests family court professionals are often insufficiently trained to address the needs and experiences of people of color. Stress caused by real and anticipated experiences of discrimination affects the mental and physical health of marginalized children and families. Furthermore, trauma and parenting strain are unevenly distributed throughout the population, due in large part to systemic racism. This presentation will help practitioners bridge gaps in their awareness of the impact of systemic racism on their clients.
Lindsey Sank Davis, PhD, William James College, Brookline, MA
19. Shifting the Paradigm: Guidance for Addressing Domestic Abuse
This workshop includes a moderated discussion highlighting the revised Model Code on Family Violence, Family and Children Chapter, including (1) defining domestic abuse, (2) determining best interest of the child, and (3) use of experts in cases involving domestic abuse and parenting time assessments. The workshop describes the step-by-step analysis outlined in the Chapter to ensure family court practitioners and judicial officers recognize effects of domestic abuse on the child, the safety of the abused parent, and the implications of such effects on crafting parenting time orders that reflect the best interest of the child.
Hon. Anne Hirsch (Ret.), Olympia, WA
Maureen Reid, MSW, RSW, London, ON, Canada
Darren M. Mitchell, JD, Takoma Park, MD
Loretta M. Frederick, JD, Winona, MN
20. Text-Based ODR for Post-Judgment Cases: Insights from a Successful Program
Text-based online dispute resolution (ODR) is promoted as an efficient and effective method for helping parents resolve their child-related disputes, but there has been little evidence of its efficacy. This workshop will delve into the experience of one court’s successful implementation of ODR for post-judgment disputes and the findings from an evaluation of its first year. Attendees will gain an understanding of what is needed to start and administer an ODR program, the factors that may lead to its success, and the challenges they may face when implementing their own program
Jennifer Shack, Resolution Systems Institute, Kennebunk, ME
Jennell Challa, JD, 20th Circuit Court of Michigan, Grand Haven, MI
21. Communication Techniques for Helping Co-parents Calm Conflict
Greater peace is achievable when co-parents learn new communication skills. Parents in high conflict interactions often engage in blame, personal attacks, threats, and hostility. When conflicts arise, instead of looking for solutions, the automatic first thought is blame. The BIFF Response and EAR Statement methods are game changers. In this workshop, attendees will learn these two simple yet powerful tools that they can teach parents and use themselves.
Megan L. Hunter, MBA, High Conflict Institute, San Diego, CA
Kevin J. Chafin, MA, LPC, Kansas City, MO
22. From Either/Or to Both/And: How Words Matter
Moving from a win/lose — either/or dynamic to a yes/and dynamic in family court is something that promotes the well-being of families who utilize the family court. This workshop will explore how the language we use and the way we structure litigation narratives impacts how we think about and move towards more child and family centered outcomes in family courts.
Robert A. Simon, PhD, San Diego, CA
Hon. Jane Pearl (Ret.), (Ret.), New York, NY
23. The Legacy of Palmore v. Sidoti: Race and Ethnicity in Custody Evaluations
Can race, ethnicity, and culture be considered in parenting plan evaluations? If so, when? This workshop explores these questions through the lens of the U.S. Supreme Court case Palmore v. Sidoti (1984) and subsequent cases. The presenter will discuss the psychological literature on racial and ethnic identity formation to explore whether parental ability to promote the child’s racial and ethnic identity formation should be considered in a best interest of the child analysis. Finally, this session describes how evaluators can explore parental ability to promote the child’s racial and ethnic identity development.
Chioma Ajoku, JD, PhD, ABPP, Brooklyn, NY
24. The Integration of the Safe and Together Model in Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Judicial Officers Track)
In a world first, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia formed a partnership with the Safe and Together Institute to explore how the internationally renowned Safe and Together Model, developed for the child protection system, could be applied to the family law context. In this presentation, senior court officers and the Safe and Together Model’s founder will outline how the model’s core principles have been embedded into the practice of the court’s report writers, registrars and judges, and the impact this is having on outcomes for children
David Mandel, Safe & Together Institute, Canton, CT
Anne-Marie Rice, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Toowong, QLD, Australia
Janet L. Carmichael , Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia
25. Demystifying Hague Convention: A Comparison of Child Custody and Hague Cases
Hague forensic evaluations share many of the characteristics of child custody evaluations, but also differ in several notable regards. This program will explore some of those similarities (e.g., interview of the parties, gathering of collateral data, psychological testing) and emphasize the differences (e.g., the expedited nature of Hague cases and the potential limitations as
a result for access to all the parties or children). This workshop will focus on Hague Affirmative Defense such as Grave Risk to the Child, Age of Maturity, and Children’s Acclimatization to a new country.
Alberto A. Yohananoff, PhD, New York, NY
Evan D. Schein, JD, Berkman, Bottger, Newman & Schein, New York, NY
Richard Min, JD, Green, Kaminer, Min & Rockmore, New York, NY
Hon. Scott Gordon (Ret.), Signature Resolution, Los Angeles
26. Parent Education Online or Face-To-Face? Experiences of Portugal and Singapore
This workshop presents a group program for parents in parental conflict following a divorce or separation developed in Portugal from the Children in Between (CIB) program. This program is composed of eight weekly sessions of two hours each, in which parents participate, face-to-face or online. Parents are invited to watch and reflect on the CIB’ scenes, perform role-plays and group practices, and use the strategies at home between sessions. Data will be presented and adaptation of the CIB program for use in Singapore will also be shared
Donald A Gordon, PhD, Family Works, Inc., Ashland, OR
Filomena Gaspar, PhD, Univ. of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Nancy NG, MSW, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore
Wong Lilling, MSW, MSW, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore
27. Applying Bayesian Decision Making to Evaluations to Improve Decision Making
Psychology is a science of probability. It can be misleading to report professional psychological opinions as anything other than hypotheses, asserted with varying degrees of confidence. The process of conducting a psychological evaluation, particularly in forensic settings, is foundationally based on generating and testing such hypotheses. Bayesian data analysis provides a useful framework for communicating to courts how collected data and offered opinions relate to relevant research, in a more reliable and defensible manner. The session will discuss using sound evaluative methodology. We will explore whether or not evaluators can use a Bayesian approach to data analysis in order to properly develop, consider, and defend soundly generated professional opinions related to issues of parenting and child custody.
Chris Mulchay, PhD, Asheville Testing, Asheville, NC
Sean B. Knuth, PhD, Charlotte, NC
28. The Shortened MASIC-Online IPV Screening Tool
For years, family law practitioners have struggled with how to screen for intimate partner violence (IPV) effectively but briefly. In response to these concerns, the creators of the Mediator’s Assessment of Safety Issues and Concerns (MASIC) developed a shortened MASIC (MASIC-S), expected to be available online at mediate.com prior to this conference. The presenters will explain how the MASIC-S was developed, how to effectively screen for IPV, and how to use the results for parents reporting high or concerning
levels of IPV.
Amy G. Applegate, JD, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN
Colin Rule, MPP, Mediate.com, San Jose, CA
Fernanda Rossi, PhD, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA
Lily J. Jiang, BS, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN
29. Putting the Person into Focus: Understanding the Modern Divorcing Parent
In this workshop members of the Divorce Education Assessment Collaborative team will present findings from mixed method aggregated data from three divorce education programs, exploring qualitative feedback on most useful content covered, how participants plan to integrate the content of the course into their lives, and areas they needed more information on. These data will then be used to examine (1) cross-program themes that emerge; and (2) how these emergent themes relate to various quantitative
indicators such as participant demographics, intentions co-parent cooperatively, perceived likelihood to relitigate, and utility of the course.
Renee E. Wilkins-Clark, PhD, Univ. of Colorado, Denver, CO
Melinda S. Markham, PhD, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan KS
Emily Becher, PhD, Univ. of Minnesota Extension, St. Paul, MN
Joseph Noble, MA, LMFT, The Bridging Center, Edina, MN
30. Unraveling the Layers of Trauma in Resist and Refuse Cases
This workshop will focus on examining the trauma that effects resist and refuse cases. The workshop will examine the trauma from the perspective of the child, the non-custodial parent, and the custodial parent in these cases. Presenters will look into trauma through the lens from domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse, and high conflict divorce. This workshop will examine how professionals can work with these families in an evaluative process that will examine the family in its totality, and then develop a process to assist these families in moving to an outcome that is in the best interest of the child.
Nolanda Y. Robert, MS, CFCC, Circuit Court for Cecil County, Elkton, MD
Rebecca M. Stahl, JD, LLM, Univ. of Baltimore School of Law, Baltimore, MD