All times Pacific Standard Time

Pre-Conference Institutes

9:00AM - 5:00PM

1. Advanced Training in Parenting Plan Evaluations

This institute is designed for those who have attended AFCC’s child custody evaluation online training program or nother introductory training program of twelve hours or more. Part one of the institute will focus on report writing, with participants working in small groups and developing recommendations from a custody evaluation report. Part two will explore trial practice, and presenters will lead an in-depth discussion and practice on preparation and testifying in court. If you wish to attend this program and have not met the training criteria, you can purchase the previously recorded AFCC training to view in advance. Contact AFCC at 608-664-3750 for further information. 

Handouts will be distributed in the room

Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Newton, MA
Merlyn N. Hernandez, JD, Law Offices of Merlyn Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA
Arnold T. Shienvold, PhD Riegler, Shienvold & Assoc., Harrisburg, PA

2. Ethics Bootcamp: Difficult Questions for Mental Health Professionals

Ethical reasoning in the context of court-involved services involves perils and complexities that are unique when compared with other forms of professional engagement. This practical, nuts-and-bolts institute for therapists, evaluators, mediators, parenting coordinators, and consultants will first offer a general model for reasoning about ethical dilemmas. Then, an interdisciplinary panel will examine difficult ethical challenges, including role conflicts and issues related to competence, consent, record keeping, diversity, confidentiality, and assessment, among others. Active involvement in the dialogue by the audience will be encouraged throughout the day.

Handouts will be distributed in the room

Jeffrey P. Wittmann, PhD, Child Custody Forensics, Albany, NY
Frank W. Davis, Jr., PhD, Berkeley, CA
Lyn. R. Greenberg, PhD, ABPP, Los Angeles, CA
Shely Polak, PhD, AccFM, McKenzie Clinic, Richmond, Hill, ON, Canada

3. Transformative Co-parent Education and Interdisciplinary Cooperation

Multidisciplinary professionals seek to inform their practice to reduce the harmful impact of co-parent conflict. When professionals work cooperatively, guiding parents with effective processes and practical resources, parents often moderate conflictual behaviors, lessening stress in the family, conserving finances, and laying the groundwork for ongoing conflict management and even trust building. This presentation will provide conceptualization of the complex family systems approach; discuss “family problems” versus “family law problems;” identify useful processes that create and support the family system and individual health; provide practical resources and parent education programming; and identify meaningful metrics of program effectiveness and present data supporting that effectiveness.

Handouts will be distributed in the room


Anthony J. Ferraro, PhD, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS
Kevin J. McGrath, JD, McGrath Dispute Resolution, Prior Lake, MN
Joseph Noble, MA, LMFT, The Bridging Center, Edina, MN
Mindy F. Mitnick, EdM, MA, Uptown Mental Health Center, Edina, MN
Lori L. Thibodeau, MA, The Bridging Center, Bloomington, MN

4. Parent-Child Contact Problems: The Intersection of Policy and Practice

Reunification services used in response to certain parent-child contact problems are some of the most controversial of all therapeutic and legal interventions. Highlighting the significant polarization between some factions of family law professionals, some are advancing legislation, including Kayden’s law, which would restrict the authority of judges to order some reunification services. This institute explores this polarization, the related policy and legislation, and then focuses on how practitioners can address concerns about reunification programs and services. Presenters will examine effective child-centered approaches to the complex challenges that parent-child contact problems create for practitioners, policy makers, children, and families.

Handouts will be distributed in the room

Matthew J. Sullivan, PhD, Santa Cruz, CA
Hon. Ramona A. Gonzalez, La Crosse, WI
Michael J. Kretzmer, JD, Summers, Levine & Kretzmer, LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Loretta M. Frederick, JD, Winona, MM

5. Finding the Perfect Fit: Domestic Violence and Parenting Plan Institute

Domestic violence is accepted as a relevant factor in child custody disputes, and it pervasively influences many aspects of the family. An analysis of the context and impact of domestic abuse, and a tailored parenting plan that properly accounts for the abuse, is crucial to family wellbeing. This institute will increase participants’ understanding of the dynamics of abuse, its impact on children and the family, and better enable practitioners to screen for abuse and develop family-specific resolutions and recommendations. It will also include annual updates on court practices, case law, and social-science research. This session meets the requirements of California Rule of Court 5.230, domestic violence training for court-appointed child custody investigators and evaluators.

Handouts will be distributed in the room

Tracy E.M. Shoberg, JD, Battered Women’s Justice Project, St. Paul, MN
Anadelle Martinez-Mullen, JD, Battered Women’s Justice Project, MSP
Hon. Monica Wiley, San Francisco, CA
Leslie M. Drozd, PhD, Seattle, WA

6. Judicial Officers Institute: The Most Gut Wrenching, Complicated Questions for Family Law Judges

This institute explores ongoing challenges for judicial decision-making: how exposure to adversity and trauma, intimate partner violence, and substance use disorders impact family court cases. Judges will learn to understand parental behavior through an intergenerational trauma lens and support children’s relationships with their protective caregivers. We will offer strategies for response when confronted with insufficient mental health expertise, biases and assumptions, and vicarious trauma. Finally, we will propose how to enhance court response using principles from innovative programs that can be applied to individual judicial practice.

Handouts will be distributed in the room

Hon. Mark A. Juhas, Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA
Marsha Kline Pruett, PhD, ABPP, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD, Newton, MA
Kate Wurmfeld, JD, Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY


10:30AM - 10:45AM

Lunch on your own

12:00PM - 1:30PM


2:45PM - 3:00PM

Opening Session

8:45AM - 10:00AM

Polarization in Intimate and Civil Life

We live in a time of political polarization not seen since the Civil War, and it’s invading every aspect of life, including marriage and co-parenting after divorce. Our country and world need new attitudes and skills for managing political and ideological differences. Based on the presenter’s work with Braver Angels, a nonprofit working on depolarization, this keynote will describe the sources of polarization and ways to address it in our personal, professional, and civic lives.

There are no handouts

William J. Doherty, PhD, is a professor at the University of Minnesota, a family therapist, co-founder of Braver Angels, and chief architect of the Braver Angels workshops.


10:00AM - 10:30AM

Workshops 1-10

10:30AM - 12:00PM

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
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 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 Service, Aptos, CA
Dan Berstein, 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

AFCC Luncheon

12:00PM - 1:30PM

Workshops 11-20

1:45PM - 3:15PM

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. Dianna Gould-Saltman, Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, 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.

There are no handouts

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.

There will be given out in the workshop

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.

There are no handouts

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.

Handouts will be posted after workshop

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


3:15PM - 3:30PM

Workshops 21-30

3:30PM - 5:00PM

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.

There are no handouts

Hon. Jane Pearl (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.

There are no handouts

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
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.

There are no handouts

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 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,, 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

Meet the Professional Development Committee

5:00PM - 6:30PM

Workshops 31-40

8:30AM - 10:00AM

31. Kayden’s Law Reframed

The Violence Against Women’s Act includes a provision related to Kayden’s Law that provides a financial incentive for states to pass legislation restricting judges from ordering some reunification services. Specifically, reunification services must provide evidence of safety, effectiveness, and therapeutic value and may not cut off a child from a parent with whom the child is
bonded or to whom the child is attached. This workshop will explore the possible unintended consequences of this legislation from a judicial, legal, and clinical perspective, and apply the existing research to use a multifactorial conceptual framework to decide, present, evaluate or treat a case where an argument will be made to apply a single factor model.

Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, ABPP, Newton, MA
Lawrence Jay Braunstein, JD, Braunstein & Zuckerman, Esqs., White Plains, NY
Shely Polak, PhD, AccFM, Mackenzie Clinic, Richmond Hill, ON, Canada

32. Working with Cultural Evidence: A Practical Framework for Judges and Lawyers

This presentation demonstrates a practical, five-step framework for the presentation and consideration of cultural evidence. The presentation of the framework is preceded by a brief discussion of how cultural interactions might productively be understood as a foundation for understanding cultural evidence. It is the intention of the presenters that this framework will guide legal counsel in optimally formulating the presentation of cultural evidence, while also assisting triers of fact in considering cultural evidence
presented before them.

Terence Singh, PhD, ABPP, Lionheart Psychology Group, Calgary, AB, Canada
Andy Hayher, QC, Vogel Lawyers, Calgary, AB, Canada

33. Child Protection Mediation with Indigenous Families

Indigenous families involved with child welfare are entitled to services aligned with Indigenous values and philosophies. This does not, however, eliminate the availability of mainstream options. All forms of dispute resolution remain an option, based on the needs of the family. This workshop will review how to utilize child protection mediation through a culturally diverse lens with an emphasis on Indigenous families. Using case examples, we will discuss how child protection mediation and Indigenous approaches can work collaboratively to better service Indigenous families with a focus on growth, healing, and other measurable outcomes.

There are no handouts

Paul Brown, BSc, Peterborough, ON, Canada
Meghan Milson, BA, Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, Bobcaygeon, ON, Canada

34. Evaluators as “Endangered Species:” Can We Protect and Indeed Restore Them?

There is a marked and alarming aging out in the ranks of parenting plan evaluators. This interactive workshop will first seek to locate the root causes behind the shrinking numbers of practicing parenting plan evaluators, taking a hard look at structural and other concerns that must be squarely addressed if any real change is to be possible. Then, using a design theory approach, the facilitators and participants will, together, begin the work of trying to develop practical, workable solutions to remedy this grave situation.

Brian J. Burke, LLB, Burke and Co. Family Law Litigation and Advocacy Group, Toronto, ON, Canada
Irwin S. Butkowsky, PhD, Toronto, ON, Canada
Deborah C. Link, MA, LMFT, Ascend Family Institute, Bloomington, MN

35. Coping with Child Abduction, Relocation, and Contact Problems in Court

This workshop will explain the need for immediate judicial action on any case where contact between a child and parent has been or is likely to be reduced or disrupted. Drawing on research and experience in Israel, presenters will demonstrate how courts should, and can, give priority to such cases by instituting swift procedures, offering social service and mental health assistance, and training of judicial officers and court staff. The presenters will also suggest judicial approaches that might reduce bias and inappropriate heuristics thereby avoiding harm to children and their parents.

Hon. Philip L. Marcus , (Ret.), Jerusalem, Israel
Hon. Assaf Zagury , District Court, Kibbutz Ginegar Israel

36. How to Get ODR to Work for You

If you are getting started in online dispute resolution, this is the workshop for you. This practical and interactive workshop is designed for both experienced on-line mediators and those just getting started. Presenters will explore technology, existing obstacles, and provide on-the-spot assistance. Participants will also discuss the future of ODR and what software should be incorporated in preparation for what lies ahead.

There are no handouts

Clare E. Fowler, EdD,, Eugene, OR
Colin Rule, MPP,, San Jose, CA

37. Guidelines to Evaluate Evidence of Parent Education Program Effects

Parent education programs hold promise for protecting children after parental divorce. However, the family law community needs a comprehensive set of guidelines for courts to use to evaluate which programs have been shown to accomplish the goal of protecting and promoting the well-being of children. This session will discuss the promise and challenges of parent education programs to accomplish their goals, review how other national agencies have described the level of evidence of programs to illustrate how the AFCC community may develop such guidelines for family courts

There are no handouts

Karey L. O’Hara, Karey L. O’Hara, PhD, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ
Irwin N. Sandler, PhD, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ

38. The Velvet Revolution: International Family Court Reform (Judicial Officers Track)

An international panel of presenters will discuss the ways in which their family justice systems are being transformed to be more humane and child focused. Learn what resources are available to families and children in their jurisdictions to ameliorate the experience of divorce and separation.


Hon. Yarni Loi, Family Justice Courts, Singapore
Amy Shee, LLM, PhD, National Chung-Cheng Univ., Taiwan
Hon. Linda Fidnick, AFCC President, Northampton, MA
David Pringle, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

39. The Way We Were, the Way We Are, and the Way We Should Be

As a multidisciplinary professional organization, AFCC has been the catalyst for innovation, new ideas and reform in family law. Over the years, AFCC has examined the way our courts and our professions deal with family law and families in crisis. With collective experience of well over 60 years as judges and as lawyers, the panel of four former AFCC Presidents, possess a rich knowledge of AFCC and the evolution of family law over those years. The objective of this program will also be to think forwardly and consider where family law should be in the future.

There are no handouts

Hon. George Czutrin, Superior Court of Justice, Toronto, ON, Canada
Hon. Dianna Gould-Saltman, Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, CA
Magistrate Richard Altman (Ret.), Hicksville, OH

40. Advanced IPV Screening for Mediators, Arbitrators, and Parenting Coordinators

Leading experts in the research and practice of the use of family dispute resolution in intimate partner violence (IPV) cases share the latest research, case law, tips and tools to help professionals achieve best practice standards when helping to resolve cases involving IPV, particularly those in which there are serious safety risks and power imbalances arising from family violence.


Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, PhD, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN
Amy G. Applegate, JD, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN
Hilary Linton, JD, LLM, Riverdale Mediation, Toronto, ON, Canada
Abi Ajibolade, LLB, The Redwood, Toronto, ON, Canada


10:00AM - 10:30AM

Plenary Session

10:30AM - 12:00PM

Asking the Difficult Questions

Resolving parenting time disputes has evolved over the last 60 years into a complex process that requires professionals to possess a nuanced understanding of non-adversarial and hybrid dispute resolution processes, intimate partner violence, shared parenting plans, developmental needs of children, social science research, parent-child contact problems, substance misuse, definitions of family, culture, sex and gender, and access to services. This expert panel will engage in lively conversation to examine the many difficult questions that have emerged over six decades of family law and dispute resolution practice, efforts to address these challenges, and the future of practice, policy and research.

There are no handouts

Moderator: Robert E. Emery, PhD, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Chief Judge Abby A Abinanti, Yurok Indian Reservation, Klamath, CA
Gitu Bhatia, PsyD, Los Angeles, CA
Charlene Depner, PhD, Center for Children, Families and the Courts, San Francisco, CA
Loretta M. Frederick, JD, Winona, M
Joi M. Hollis, LPC, PhD, Family Center of the Conciliation Courts, Tucson, AZ
Amy Holtzworth-Munroe, PhD, Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN
Lorie S. Nachlis, JD, Nachlis, Cohade, Lopez-Whitiker, San Francisco, CA
Arnold T. Shienvold, PhD, Riegler, Shienvold & Assoc., Harrisburg, PA
Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD, Newton, MA
Katrina Volker, MAOL, Our Family Wizard, Minneapolis, MN

Lunch on your own

12:00PM - 1:30PM

Workshops 41-50

1:45PM - 3:15PM

41. Case Management Reforms, Risk Identification, and Dispute Resolution in Australia (Judicial Officers Track)

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has recently embedded several world-first initiatives and case management reforms designed to enhance the court’s response to intimate partner violence while creating opportunities for early dispute resolution. This session explores how the courts are creating safe and productive environments for the resolution and determination of disputes and the innovative ways in which registrars and court child experts are being utilized to facilitate outcomes that are child-focused, and trauma informed.

There are no handouts

Hon. Tom Altobelli, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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

42. Intensive Family Intervention for Parent-Child Contact Problems: Risk and Benefits

This session will explore the nuts and bolts of planning and implementing a multi-day family intervention for families with an intractable parent-child contact problem. All logistical aspects will be addressed and discussed, including screening, pre- and post-coaching, treatment components, staffing, venues, and after-care. Risks, liabilities, and benefits will be explored via specific case examples.

Sharon Ryan Montgomery, PsyD, Morristown, NJ
Marcy A. Pasternak, PhD, Watchung, NJ
Carole Blane, New York, NY

43. Family Resolutions Specialty Court: Always Looking to Do It Better

The Family Resolutions Specialty Court (FRSC) of the Probate and Family Court of Hampshire County, MA, is an innovative problem-solving specialty court with an on-going quality improvement process that includes input from participants and court-related providers including family consultants, judges, attorneys for parents and children, mediators, and FRSC policymakers and  researchers. This panel of FRSC team members will discuss the court’s process and integration of feedback and self-assessment into program and professional development designed to increase participants’ satisfaction and benefit from the FRSC process.

There are no handouts

Miriam Krell Bourke, JD, Family Resolutions Specialty Court, Northampton, MA
Laura Pearl Spivak, MSW, Family Resolutions Specialty Court, Northampton, MA

44. Harm Reduction: Avoiding Anchoring Bias and Binary Approaches to Parent-Child Contact

The presenters will highlight the benefits of the increase in protection for abused spouses and children and explore the pitfalls of anchoring bias within the context of parent-child contact problems. Suggestions will be provided on how to protect against anchoring bias by introducing a multi-lens approach based on social science research that identifies a myriad of potential influences on parent-child contact problems, with the goal of preventing harm.

Leslie M. Drozd, PhD, Seattle, WA
Michael A. Saini, PhD, Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

45. Child Sexual Abuse Allegations in Custody Disputes: The ABA Judicial Model

Adjudicating Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) When Custody is In Dispute, is an ABA judicial training program to address the most vexing and difficult aspects of dealing with CSA in the family courts. These issues perplex even the most experienced participant trying to figure out what really happened. It is intended to provide cutting-edge information on CSA allegations occurring in child custody matters for the attorney, mental health professional and others involved in the adjudication of these cases.


Seth L. Goldstein, JD, Law Offices of Seth L. Goldstein, Monterey, CA

46. Living in Their Shoes: What Works in Supporting Military and Veteran Families?

This workshop provides the opportunity to consider complex family dynamics — couple relationships and parent-child relationships — in the context of the unique set of stressors facing military families, which are not experienced by their civilian counterparts. Drawing on international research evidence, the presenter will address complex questions and ascertain the effectiveness of support and intervention programs for military-connected families. The workshop explores challenges in supporting military families, including related to military–trauma and parental mental illness and their impact on parent-child relationship and co-parenting.

There are no handouts

Gabriela M. Misca, PhD, Univ. of Worcester, Birmingham, United Kingdom

47. A Lasting Impact — How Court Leadership Implements Diversity in Family Court

California has developed an array of mediation models to meet the needs of family court users. Court leaders recognize the need to incorporate an intersectionality framework to address fairness for a range of race, gender, and socioeconomics in the courts. This court-centered session will present the complexities of California’s families and describe how court leadership addresses diversity challenges as transformational opportunities to increase court personnel competencies and enhance court services. The session will highlight statewide initiatives and local court activities which create a lasting impact for California’s most vulnerable families.


Jacquetta M. Adewole, MA, LMFT, Family Court Services, Orange County, CA
Nadine Blaschak-Brown, MA, Judicial Council of California, San Francisco, CA
Hon. Carlos M. Cabrera, San Bernardino, CA
Wanda McWhirter, MSW, Judicial Council of California, San Francisco, CA
Joe Navarro, MS, LMFT, Family and Children Services, San Bernardino, CA

48. Mediating Fast or Slow? Pacing Court Mandated Mediation

While most parties resolve parenting disputes privately, others are drawn into court. Meanwhile, court-appointed mediators face efficiency pressures due to reduced court resources. When should mediators go at a slower pace with parties? This workshop is focused on a brief history of rising efficiency pressures within court systems, professional practice, and public expectations in resolving parenting disputes; case examples in which bucking this trend has proven useful; and identifying underlying factors that indicate when taking more time is beneficial and when more time is not only inefficient but counterproductive.

Alexandra L. Crampton , PhD, MSW, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee, WI
Casey A. Holtz, PhD, Milwaukee, W
Graham Wiemer, JD, MacGillis Wiemer, LLC, Wauwatosa, WI

49. You’re Making Our Child Sick! Children’s Somatic Complaints Amid Parent Conflict

Parental conflict over the causes and management of a child’s physical complaints can endanger a child’s health and increase risk of resist-refuse dynamics. Medical conditions may end up being missed or poorly managed while dysfunction within the family escalates. Judicial officers may hear conflicting reports, recommendations, and interpretations of medical instructions. Interdisciplinary communication and cooperation, along with clear court orders and a structured approach to problem solving, are essential. Issues and models for effectively managing these cases will be discussed.


Lyn R. Greenberg, PhD, ABPP, Los Angeles, CA
Kathleen McNamara, PhD, Fort Collins, CO
Betsy E. Weisz, MD, Oak Tree Pediatrics and More, Thousand Oaks, CA
Hon. Roy L. Paul (Ret.), Signature Resolution, Los Angeles, CA

50. Child Abduction: The Role of the Best Interests Analysis in Determining Jurisdiction

This workshop will look at how courts assume jurisdiction when a child has been wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence. When contemplating the harm and return analysis, the factors taken into account differ depending upon whether or not the receiving state is a signatory to the Hague Convention or not. Presenters will explore how Canadian courts have elevated the role of the best interests of the child as part of a holistic approach in making such determinations.

Fadwa Yehia, LLB, Jamal Family Law, Oakville, ON, Canada
Fareen L. Jamal , LLM, Jamal Family Law, Oakville, ON, Canada
Max Blitt, QC, Spier Harben, Calgary, AB, Canada


3:15PM - 3:30PM

Workshops 51-60

3:30PM - 5:00PM

51. Contact for Under 6’s: The Voice of the Child in Court Ordered Access

This workshop has been canceled

52. Domestic Violence Court: The Balance Between Change and Accountability (Judicial Officers Track)

The St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court (Missouri) provides IPV victims and perpetrators with an opportunity for court-supported compliance with orders of protection, as well as orders for batter’s intervention; substance abuse and mental health treatment; and the surrender of firearms. This model offers victims the assurance of safety, compliance and change after the entry of an order of protection, and perpetrators the opportunity to make long term changes in behavior. The overall goal is a reduction in intimate partner violence in the community.

M.J. Crawford, MAEd, Family Court of St. Louis County, Clayton, MO
Jessica Meredith, JD, Family Court of St. Louis County, Clayton, MO
Hon. Jason D. Dodson, Family Court of St. Louis County, Clayton, MO

53. How to Embed Parent Training into Dispute Resolution — The Scottish Experience

This workshop reports on how New Ways for Families, a training and coaching program for high conflict separated parents, was introduced in Scotland. Pre and post standard surveys and interviews were conducted to evaluate the pilot program. Evaluation results alongside details of how the training was launched by the charity, Shared Parenting Scotland, will be presented. They show how a widely promoted training program can be used to help separated parents to avoid conflict, communicate better and avoid taking court action.

Ian Maxwell, BA, Shared Parenting Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland

54. Assessing Risk of Harm in International Child Abduction and Relocation Cases

Three experienced international family law practitioners will examine the risk of harm in international abduction and relocation and engage in an analysis of international child abduction and relocation cases. The panelists will discuss risk of harm assessments and the effective and admissible use of mental health professionals. The workshop will provide a comparative perspective between the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as Europe, in these complex cross-border family law cases.

James A. Netto, The International Family Law Group, London, England
Christopher C. Melcher, JD, Walzer Melcher & Yoda, Woodland Hills, CA
Leah Ramirez, JD, Markham Law Firm, Bethesda, MD

55. Child-Inclusive Family Mediation Step-By-Step

Family mediation is one of the tools that courts can use to resolve parental conflicts over children. Mediation providers may be required by law to take the best interests of the child into account when the subject of the conflict concerns the rights of a minor child. This workshop will focus on illuminating the necessary steps of such family mediation on two levels — conceptual
and practical. Video demonstrations of working with a child in mediation will be presented.

Robin Brzobohaty´, PhD, Mediation and Education Center, Brno, Czech Republic
Martina Cirbusová, PhD, Mediation and Education Center, Czech Republic

56. Parenting Plan Evaluations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Despite myriad workshops and trainings, guidelines, and publications related to parenting plan evaluations, many evaluators struggle to understand this complex work. In this workshop, the presenter will identify good forensic evaluation practice, as well as provide examples of defective work, biased evaluations, and fatal flaws to help participants use the new AFCC Guidelines on Parenting Plan Evaluations and understand ways to improve the quality of their work.

Philip M. Stahl, PhD, ABPP, San Diego, CA

57. Helping Clients with Mental Health Issues Involved in High Conflict Divorce

High conflict divorces can be incredibly stressful for clients. When clients do not have an adequate support system and/or appropriate coping skills, mental health issues may surface. How do court professionals foster resilience in such cases, especially when the client may be reluctant to seek mental health treatment for fear that the court may pathologize their behavior and use their mental health treatment against them? This presentation will discuss strategies to help empower clients experiencing psychological distress and mental health issues and foster resilience.


Ruth Ouzts Moore, PhD, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Savannah, GA
Susan J. Foster, PhD, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Hammond, LA

58. Pandemic Grant Development of Arizona’s Online Parent Education Course

Arizona Superior Court, Pima County, through a Pandemic Response and Recovery grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI), converted its Conciliation Services in-person mandatory parent education course into an online, self-paced e-Learning program. Grant funds were used in the design, pilot launch, and evaluation of the process to convert the course from in-person to an on-demand, virtual platform. Arizona Administrative Office of the Court has adopted the program as the statewide default for mandatory parent education programming in English and Spanish, enhancing access and convenience to parents, post pandemic. This workshop is focused on the development of the program and the application.


Joi M. Hollis, LPC, PhD, Arizona Superior Court, Pima County, Tucson, AZ
Mayela Cano, MEdB, Arizona Superior Court, Pima County, Tucson, AZ

59. Systemically Addressing Both the “In” and “Out” Parents in Resist/Refuse Cases

How do professionals work with each parent in resist-refuse cases to approach the problems systemically? What are the specific differences between the “in” and “out” parents? How do we bring parents to look at the bigger picture for their children? This workshop will discuss research on the “in” and “out” parents, a recent study of interviews of “out” parents, and the use of information to approach working with both parents. Five psychoeducation handouts for parents will be provided to utilize with resist-refuse cases.

Erin Guyette, MS, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

60. From Middle Earth: What Could be New and Safer for Tamariki?

Aotearoa New Zealand, by virtue of its isolation, has often had to be innova tive in the way the community works, and the way that services are developed and delivered. The family court is no different, and now more than ever, everyone working in the family justice system must be working harder and better to bring new and safe practices for our Tamariki children. By hearing from three different family justice professionals, a judge, psychologist and mediator/parenting coordinator, participants will take a journey that stimulates, encourages, and challenges practice so we’re all more fit and ready for the work at hand.

Hon. Jill Moss, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Timothy McMichael, Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Kathleen B. Orr, Kathleen B. Orr, MA, Hamilton, New Zealand

Workshops 61-70

9:15AM - 10:45AM

61. The AFCC Guidelines on Parenting Plan Evaluations and APA Guidelines on Child Custody Evaluations

Members from the AFCC and the American Psychological Association Task Forces will share perspectives on key similarities and differences between the 2022 revisions of the respective guidelines. For example, similarities exist in the discussion of competencies and best practices regarding policies and procedures while there are differences in the focus on sc ientific evidence, issues of diversity, and knowledge of the law. The presenters will also address the implications of how guidelines for a guild with
oversight and disciplinary authority differ from guidelines for an organization without that regulatory authority and how those issues might affect the public perception and welfare.

April Harris-Britt, PhD, ABH Center for Behavioral Health, Durham, NC
Arnold T. Shienvold, PhD, Riegler, Shienvold & Assoc., Harrisburg, PA
Helen T. Brantley, PhD, Chapel Hill, NC
Eric Y. Drogin, JD, PhD, ABPP, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

62. Are Brief Focused Assessments the Future? Why Courts Want Them and Why We Aren’t Using Them

A recent national survey reveals that judges view child custody evaluations as too costly, time-consuming, and lengthy. These results indicate that a new approach is needed to provide the courts with the required information to make appropriate decisions in the children’s best interest. Brief Focused Assessments (BFAs) appear to provide a solution. This workshop will explore the history of BFAs, the professional’s qualifications to conduct them, the proper protocols, and how we can all work to help this needed concept
have a robust future in our field.

Ken B. Perlmutter, PhD, Palo Alto, CA
Christy Bradshaw Schmidt, MA, LPC, Coppell, TX

63. Bias in the Family Court? Ageism and Why It Matters

Our population is aging, and older adults are having children, caring for children, and battling over children as they get older. So, why aren’t we asking: Have our family courts made necessary adjustments to be sensitive to the needs of older adults? What accommodations and services are provided to younger but not to older family members in court actions? And why does this matter? Be part of the solution to end agism in family courts as time marches on for all of us.

Linda B. Fieldstone, MEd, Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination, Miami, FL
Sue Bronson, LCSW, Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination, Milwaukee, W

64. Can the Clarity and Transparency of Visuals Create Better Co-parent Outcomes?

Can professionals improve co-parent education by using visual learning theory to create better co-parent outcomes? Can professionals give coparents a roadmap, in advance, of the custody dispute resolution process, and, its various aftermaths, especially for their children? Considering the extreme stress of co-parents entering the custody dispute process, can professionals do more initially to help them see — and want to make — the right choices? This interdisciplinary panel will ask and affirmatively answer critical difficult questions that have not been asked widely, or if asked, have not been answered.

Karen A. Rhyne, JD, Michel & Rhyne, Irvine, CA
Kristina Vellucci-Cook, PhD, Aliso Viejo, CA
Terry McNiff, JD, San Diego, CA
Hon. Shawna Schwarz, San Jose, CA

65. Understanding and Assessing the Impact of Complex Trauma on Parenting Capacity

The long-lasting impact of adverse childhood experiences — particularly prolonged experiences of abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, and systemic, multigenerational oppression and marginalization — is now widely recognized. However, how this impacts capacity to parent, and how it is appropriately assessed, interpreted, and mitigated within family law is not as well understood, particularly when working with culturally diverse families. This workshop will examine the impact of complex trauma on an individual’s capacity to parent. Commonly used psychometric assessment tools in correctly identifying complex trauma in culturally diverse populations will be reviewed. The workshop will discuss differential diagnosis, including the personality disorders vs PTSD. Lastly, the impact of trauma symptoms on parenting and recommendations for intervention and remediation will be discussed.

There will be given out in the workshop

Koreen E. Martfeld, PhD, Enhanced Counselling, Assessment, and Consultation, Edmonton, AB, Canada

66. Domestic Relations Hearing Officer Program in the Circuit Court of Cook County

Family law courts are seeing an increase in cases, especially those involving self-represented litigants. This workshop will describe the effectiveness of Cook County’s Hearing Officer program that utilizes attorneys who assist the court in a quasi-judicial capacity to help expedite cases in a less adversarial setting with a goal of reaching agreements, narrowing issues, and providing the court with a detailed recommendation especially on matters involving self-represented litigants.

Robert M. Stokas, JD, LLM, Circuit Court of Cook County, Markham, IL
Hon. Erika Orr, Circuit Court of Cook County, Markham, IL
Hon. Pamela E Loza, Circuit Court of Cook County,, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, IL
Nairee Hagopian, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, IL

67. Working with Neurodivergence and Reunification

Presenters will provide case examples and discussion to support expansion of skills in reunification cases involving neurodivergent adults and children. Resistance within these cases can be of utmost challenge. This presentation will include a review of characteristics of neurodivergence and their impact on the resistance. The presenters will examine the currently supported interventions and evaluate the effectiveness on cases with the added element of neurodivergence. This workshop will also include a discussion of evidence-based practices that have shown to be successful with the neurodivergent population across all age groups and backgrounds.

There are no handouts

Jamie C. Niesen, MA, MS, Niesen Resolution Services, Worthington, OH
Sara Lewis, MEd, Hilliard, OH

68. Treating and Preventing Children’s Mental Health Crises with an Online Program

Mental health resources cannot meet the needs of children’s accelerating anxiety and depression. An online program featuring children combines live action with animation. The program teaches emotional literacy, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and stress reduction with evidence-based methods. Camera equipment was delivered to seven kid hosts and their parents and was directed through Zoom. Animation by a leading Disney animator empowers them to deal with negative emotions. Preliminary data will be presented on the program’s impact on children’s mental health and use of the program in a law practice.

There are no handouts

Donald A. Gordon, PhD, Family Works, Inc., Ashland, OR
Merlyn N. Hernandez, JD, Law Offices of Merlyn N. Hernandez, Los Angeles, CA

69. Reaching Our Greatest Potential: 5 Essential Questions to Ask Ourselves

Confidence is trust in yourself. The more we know ourselves, the more we trust ourselves and, in turn, the more others trust us as conflict resolution professionals. Reaching our greatest potential begins by defining and embracing our own core values, beliefs, strengths, and purpose. As a result, we become more authentic, effective, courageous, mindful, successful, trusted, and confident. Grounded in self-awareness, we support families to achieve their best possible outcomes. This dynamic workshop invites you to answer “5 Essential Questions” to confidently navigate the most challenging situations facing family conflict resolution professionals.

There will be given out in the workshop

Michael Aurit, JD, Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation, Scottsdale, AZ
Karen Aurit, MA, Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation, Scottsdale, AZ

70. Navigating the Family Justice System in Singapore — Transforming Access to Justice (Judicial Officers Track)

With increased emphasis on enhancing access to justice, the Singapore Family Justice Courts have taken significant steps to review its processes and specialist services in order to help court users especially litigants-in-person, navigate the difficult court journey. The workshop will share details on improvements and enhancements made in that regard. Support programs and counselling/therapeutic interventions tailored towards different types of court users will also be shared.

Meng Chung Lee, MSc, MBA, Family Justice Courts, Singapore
Sophia T. Ang, MS, Family Justice Courts, Singapore


10:45AM - 11:00AM

Workshops 71-80

11:00AM - 12:30PM

71. Witness Prep: Working from the Inside Out

Traditional witness preparation often fails to make a client more likable and, therefore, believable. As a jury consultant, having worked on several hundreds of trials and with witness preparation for plaintiff’s civil cases, the presenter will discuss the potential benefits of effective witness preparation for clients in divorce cases, where the outcome depends greatly on how the client is perceived by child evaluators and judges. This workshop will review the pitfalls of traditional witness preparation and
focus on how to help a client be a more likable, calm witness.

Jessica Brylo, JD, MA, Trial Dynamics, Littleton, CO

72. Intimate Partner Homicide and Other Risks: Prediction and Prevention

Family law cases with domestic violence have a high risk of danger. For the abused spouse and the children, the risks span behavior from stalking and legal harassment to physical violence and homicide. For the abuser, the risks include arrest and incarceration, restricted custody and visitation, and possible injury or death if the abused defends themself. Decision-makers struggle with accurate evaluation of risks, both underpredicting and overpredicting. The handling of domestic violence cases varies widely from county to county and state to state. Interventions will be presented and critiqued.

Nancy Kaser-Boyd, PhD, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Studio City, CA
Sara Boilen, PsyD, Sweetgrass Psychological Services, Whitefish, MT

73. All Hands on Deck: Building a Child Coping Program for High Conflict Divorces

Post-separation/divorce interparental conflict is a major stressor for children. Decades of research indicates that exposure to conflict increases children’s risk of mental health problems, yet there are no documented child-focused programs that evidently reduce its harmful effects. Presenters will present a multi-phase research project conducted in partnership with members of the family law community to identify essential components of a “Coping with Post-divorce Conflict” program that courts will adopt, providers will refer, parents will support, and children will enjoy.

There are no handouts

Karey L O’Hara, PhD, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ
Colleen Sullivan , MS, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ
Michele M. Porter, PhD, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ

74. The Child’s Court-Appointed Attorney: Teamwork or Tension in High Conflict Cases

In high conflict cases the court frequently appoints an attorney to either represent the child or the child’s best interest. The evaluator, therapist, court-appointed attorney, and litigants’ attorney can work together to improve outcomes and expedite results. The presenters will discuss their roles, expectations, and collaboration. Several case studies will be presented. Benefits, pitfalls, outcomes and legal implications will be discussed. Practical application includes what is needed from the other professionals and how to avoid confirmatory bias.

Benjamin J. Albritton, PsyD, ABPP, Southwest Clinical and Forensics, Dallas, TX
Keith M. Nelson, JD, Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, Anderson, Dallas, TX
Milfred “Bud” Dale, PhD, PhD, JD, Topeka KS

75. Bringing Out the Best in All of Us: A Coaching Mindset for High Conflict Cases

Coaches are specifically trained to trust themselves, trust the coaching process, and trust the clients. So how do we trust clients that are entrenched in conflict? They appear unable to look at their own contribution to the problems, get stuck in their narratives and weaponize blame. In this workshop, participants will explore a coaching mindset and try on a professional role with a new definition of “helping.” The presenters will share stories to demonstrate how co-parent coaching serves the parties and professionals alike with the coaching mindset.

Hon. Randall F Fuller, Delaware County Common Pleas Court, Delaware, OH
Amy Armstrong, MSW, Center for Family Resolution, Worthington, OH

76. Intro to Personality and Co-Parenting Typologies as a Conflict Resolution Tool

This workshop introduces two typologies; the Enneagram Model that defines nine major personality types, and the five co-parenting relationship types described by Dr. Constance Ahrons in her book, “The Good Divorce,” based the results of her 20-year longitudinal study. These typologies affect conflict resolution styles and provide a useful framework to better understand parental conflicts during and post-divorce. In this interactive workshop, participants will identify their own personality type and will gain insight about working with clashes that stem from interpersonal differences and different types of co-parenting relationships.

Terri Breer, JD, Breer Law Offices, Irvine, CA
Galit Sneh Lurie, Lawyer/Mediator, Zichron, Yaacov, Israel

77. Five Years of Parenting Coordination in Italy: A Culturally Driven Approach

Parenting coordination is increasing around the globe and a culturally driven approach is needed to comply with family policies, family law and justice structures, and welfare systems different in each country. Informed by the five years of experience with the Italian Association of Parenting Coordination’s integrated model of parenting coordination, a scheme of questions and topics as well a proposal for an action plan will be presented.

There will be given out in the workshop

Elena Giudice, PhD, Italian Association of Parenting Coordination, Milano, Italy
Sabrina Ritorto, Rho, Italy

78. Bias in Forensic Evaluations: The Team Approach Versus the Single Evaluator

Forensic evaluators fall prey to many biases, such as confirmation bias, and tend to ignore bias as a problem for themselves, even when educated about the problem. Little research has been conducted on the advantages and disadvantages of teams collaborating on evaluations. A team approach may be susceptible to different biases (like groupthink), but it may also provide strategies to combat bias. This workshop will discuss sources of bias as well as practical strategies for remedying bias with either a single or team approach to forensic evaluations.

Julianne Ludlam, PhD, KKJ Forensic & Psychological Services, Durham, NC
Katrina Kuzyszyn-Jones, PsyD, KKJ Forensic & Psychological Services, Durham, NC
Lisa Foss, MA, KKJ Forensic & Psychological Services, Durham, NC

79. International Investigation of Best Practice in Parenting Coordination

This session explores best practices in parenting coordination (PC) in the US, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, South Africa, Singapore, and Australia. This workshop will include an overview of the presenter’s research on the practice of PC; legislation, court rules, and regulations; including the voice of the child in the process; co-parenting conflict analysis and interventions; decision-making power of the PC; and a study of the competencies necessary for the PC role.

Handouts will be posted after workshop

Anne-Marie Cade, LLM, Divorce Right, Caulfield, VIC, Australia

80. Creating Parenting Plans for the Major World Religions

Parenting plans offer arrangements tailored to the needs of children and families, and religion often plays an important role. Presenters in this workshop will discuss holiday schedules, dietary issues, and other matters that should be considered when structuring parenting plans for members of the Jewish, Jewish Orthodox, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist faiths.

Tracy Ann Moore-Grant, JD, Patterson Moore Butler, Cumming, GA
Neena Saxena, JD, Patterson Moore Butler, Cumming, GA
Stephanie Robins, LCSW, Robins Family Therapy, Alpharetta, GA