Washington Chapter Seminars

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Seminars and Conferences     

A primary function of WA AFCC is to provide annual educational conferences and membership meetings. Networking opportunities and task force activities will be part of this process along with giving those in attendance valuable Continuing Education credits (CLE, CME hours). Additional training events will be scheduled at various locations throughout the year. Check back often for updates to the training schedule. To view details of past conferences, link here

Mark Your 2015 Calendar for March 7th when we will be bringing you our Fifth Annual WA AFCC Conference. 

Shared Parenting Predicaments: Washington's Policy and Practice Concerns



Plenary sessions will be held with several top experts in the field.  Among these notable presenters are attorney J. Herbie DiFonzo, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law at Hofstra University and author of two books including Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in 20th Century America. He is the co-reporter and editor of the AFCC special issue on Shared Parenting which emerged from the AFCC Think Tank (Family Court Review, April 2014). He will address Shared Parenting: Research, Policy and Practice.

Plenary Session I:  Shared Parenting in the 21st Century: How Law and Culture Shape Child Custody      (8:45-10:15   1.5 hr)

In this lecture, Professor DiFonzo will focus on the most significant — and disturbing — development in child custody determinations in a generation. The formally gender-neutral “best interests” standard is under attack across the United States, triggered by a father’s rights movement calling for a presumptive 50-50 division of child custody upon divorce. Bills have been introduced in many state legislatures that would replace the individualized child custody decision with a mathematical formula. Professor DiFonzo will discuss the problem and propose a solution drawn from the increasing use of “parenting plans” devised by the divo  rcing parents themselves. These homemade custody resolutions, frequently constructed with the help of mediation and other techniques to avoid litigation, provide methods for sharing custody more in keeping with child development findings in psychology and less likely to lead to further litigation.

 Learning Objectives: Attendees will learn –

a. How the history of child custody affects the current policy debate and legal choices

b. Understanding the interplay between the "best interest" standard and legal presumptions

c. Parenting Plans—what they are and how they can change the culture of divorce, nationwide and in Washington State

J. Herbie DiFonzo, J.D., Ph.D. is a professor of law who has taught at Hofstra University since 1995. He serves on the faculty of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law. He was born in Buenos Aires and raised in New York City. Professor DiFonzo received a JD, PhD and an MA from the University of Virginia. He served for six years as a federal prosecutor, followed by another decade of law practice (family, civil, and criminal) before becoming a full-time faculty member.

 Professor DiFonzo teaches courses in family law, civil procedure, and alternatives to litigation. He has written two books: Intimate Associations: The Law and Culture of American Families, co-authored with Ruth C. Stern, and Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in Twentieth-Century America. His eclectic interests have also led him to publish articles on forensic evidence, collaborative law, and medical marijuana. In 2004 Professor DiFonzo gave the Peter E. Herman Prize for Literary Excellence Lecture titled “Unbundling Marriage: Interpreting the Legal and Cultural Changes in Family Structure.”  In 2006 he received the Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award for his work on improving family law teaching.  In 2014, he delivered the Hofstra University Distinguished Faculty Lecture, Dilemmas of Shared Parenting in the 21st Century: How Law and Culture Shape Child Custody. He is serving this year as a Law School Research Fellow, working on a project to provide dispute resolution services to unrepresented parents in New York. 


Also on the agenda is Mindy Mitnick, Ed.D., M.A. who will present on the Special Needs of Never Married Parents.

(Mindy Mitnick, Left; Christine Coastes, Right) 

We are excited to have Christine Coates, J.D., a renowned expert on Parenting Coordination, Mediation, High Conflict and ADR who will present on Parenting Coordination and Other Innovations for High Conflict Cases.

Plenary Session II: Special Needs of Never Married Parents  (10:30-12:00   1.5 hr)

Never married parents are appearing before the Court on matters of custody and parenting time in increasing numbers.  This program is intended for attorneys, mediators, evaluators, and judicial officers.  We will identify how family law professionals can help this diverse group navigate the system towards successful resolution of their disputes.  The workshop will provide potential solutions for conflicts experienced by this heterogeneous demographic.  We will focus on interventions tailored to the roadblocks to resolution typically seen in this group of parents, including ADR and evaluations.  


 Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

a.    Identify the similarities and differences in the group of never married parents

b.    Apply research to inform practice with these parents

c.    Understand the components of a successful co-parenting relationship in this population

 Mindy F. Mitnick, Ed.D., is a Licensed Psychologist practicing in Minneapolis.  She received a Master of Education from Harvard University and a Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota.  She specializes in work with families in the divorce process and with victims of abuse and their families.  Ms. Mitnick has trained professionals throughout the country and abroad in identification and treatment of child abuse, the use of expert witnesses in child abuse and divorce cases, effective interviewing techniques with children, interventions in high-conflict divorce and the impact of psychological trauma.  She has been a speaker for the National Child protection Training Center, National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, National Association of Counsel for Children, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and numerous statewide multidisciplinary training programs.  Ms. Mitnick has written and taught extensively about the assessment of child sexual abuse allegations during custody disputes.  Ms. Mitnick served as a member of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Task Force on Child Witnesses and as a member of the AFCC Task Force on Court-Involved Therapy.  She is serving her second term on the Board of Directors of AFCC.

Plenary Session III: Perspectives on Parenting Coordination and Other Innovations for High Conflict Cases (1:15-2:45   1.5 hr)

Parenting coordination is a relatively new process of ADR in family cases, having been introduced in the late 1990s.  The parenting coordination process has spread throughout North America and other countries and has become a popular intervention with post-decree, high-conflict families. As an early proponent and developer of the process and chair of AFCC’s Task Force on Parenting Coordination that published Guidelines for Parenting Coordination, the presenter will provide an overview of the evolution of parenting coordination, including current models of parenting coordination, best practices, and challenges. Creative and innovative interventions for high conflict families will also be highlighted, with suggestions for effective integration by practitioners. 

Learning Objectives

a.  The participants understand the most common models of parenting coordination.

b.  The participants recognize the best practices and challenges of serving as parenting coordinator.

c.  The participants are introduced to the dynamics of high conflict and recent innovations in interventions with high-conflict families. 

Christine A. Coates, M.Ed., J.D., an experienced family law attorney since 1983, now emphasizes alternative dispute resolution in domestic relations and has been a mediator for over 30 years.  A former president of AFCC, she chaired the Task Force on Parenting Coordination that developed AFCC’s Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators.  The co-author of two books, Working with High Conflict Families of Divorce (2001) and Learning from Divorce (2003), she is a frequent and popular national trainer and speaker on alternative dispute resolution. She has been honored for her advocacy for children, contributions to the legal system and to the field of alternative dispute resolution, including AFCC’s John Van Duzer Distinguished Service Award and its President’s Award, as well as the Association for Conflict Resolution’s John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award.  Ms. Coates also serves as adjunct professor at the University of Denver.  

Break Out Afternoon sessions will include speakers 

such as Dr. Carl McCurley, Manager of the WA State Center for Court Research who has published data on the Residential Time Patterns in Washington custody cases. He will present on Parenting Plans in Practice: Best Available Evidence.

(Dr. Carl McCurley, left; Paul Battan, J.D., middle; Alyson Jones, M.A., right)

Also on hand will be local attorney Paul Battan, J.D. presenting on the Interface between Family Law and Criminal Law. And rounding out the sessions will be a panel presentation by Alyson Jones, M.A., et al from Vancouver, BC entitled Moving Families Forward: A Coordinated Re-Unification Response to Parental Alienation, Estrangement, and High Conflict. 

Breakout Sessions     (3:00-4:30   1.5 hr)

Session A: Parenting Plans in Practice: Best Available Evidence.

The presentation covers the source data for and results from the Washington State Center for Court Research's series of Residential Time Summary Reports, launched in response to a request contained in legislation from the 2007 session. Data collection relies on self-report from parties filing dissolution petitions; although the data is the best currently available, it has important limitations and improvements to the data collection process will be recommended.  Results from 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2014 reports will be presented, showing the distribution of residential time allocated to mothers and fathers, allocation of residential time in cases where one parent is reported to have one or more risk factors (having committed domestic violence, abuse or neglect of children, substance abuse, or mental health needs), residential time as it relates to representation of parties, and the use of dispute resolution.  

Learning Objectives:  Attendees will learn--  

a. Why the report series is produced  

 b. How data is collected, and who reports on residential time (by court, and the percentage of reports submitted by mothers or by fathers)  

 c. The results of analysis of the most recent data  

Carl McCurly, Ph.D. is the manager of the Washington State Center for Court Research. He has worked with the Center’s team of dedicated professionals since 2006 in close conjunction with courts to launch research projects and performance reporting programs aligned with the priorities of the judicial branch.  For example, the Center has designed, developed, and deployed performance reporting for both juvenile probation and children in foster care, and is working to develop state-wide, court-level reporting for multi-system involved youth. With Carl’s leadership the Center has formed long-term, cooperative, and productive working relationships with university, non-profit, and government researchers on topics ranging from children charged with status offending to creating, validating, and revising risk and need assessment instruments.  Before arriving in Washington, Carl was a researcher at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, where he worked on topics related to juvenile problem behaviors, including violent offending, violent sex offending, domestic violence, and substance use. Carl has extensive experience with the analysis of survey data and data from official sources, such as courts and law enforcement agencies, and has taught classes in public policy, public administration, and research methods at the university level. He received a B.A. in Government (University of Texas) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (Indiana University).  


Session B:  Interface Between Family Law and Criminal Law

Family law attorneys and mental health practitioners dealing with parents involved in custody disputes will confront situations where clients may engage in behaviors or have questions about acts which fall in the “convergence zone” of contested issues in civil domains and criminal activity as defined by prevailing Washington statutes. This workshop will afford participants an opportunity to consider a large number of such  circumstances (e.g., checking spouse’s email, installing keystroke monitor, calling a child and inadvertently talking to one’s ex-spouse when protective orders are in place). In addition to presenting a summary of many applicable RCW  references, there will be an emphasis on shared experience and discussion in this session.

Learning  Objectives: Participants will --

a. Receive a table of applicable criminal laws that could become an issue in a family law legal practice, a counseling practice, or for family law investigators.

b. Become alert to common actions which can prompt multiple jurisdiction concerns.

c. Share in a discussion of thorny issues which may be avoided with proper guidance from counsel or from therapists.

Paul Battan, J.D. has practiced law since 1983 in private practice in Olympia. Since 1985 he has focused on family law as a solo practitioner. Paul has served on the board of the Thurston County Bar Association, as the association=s President, as Family Law Section Chair, and Guardianship Roundtable Chair. For three years he served as Thurston County court commissioner for mental illness commitment hearings. He is a contributing author to one chapter of the Washington State Bar Association=s Family Law Deskbook. He served as the WSBA Family Law Executive Committee=s legislative liaison for one year.


Session C:  Moving Families Forward: a Coordinated Re-Unification Response to Parental Alienation, Estrangement and High Conflict Family Situations.

Alyson Jones, MA RCC , Saba Golchin, MA RCC, Rebecca Smyth, MA Candidate, and Rob Croezen, MSW RSW

It is widely recognized that parental alienation, estrangement and high conflict are some of the most difficult family situations for both lawyers and mental health professionals to deal with. The reality is that regular family therapy often does not work in these situations, and not everyone can afford a residential program. This workshop is designed to assist professionals in understanding family fractures and how to reunify a family when there has been a rejection of a parent, or attachment disruptions. The Family Forward Re-Unification Program is unique, but the workshop will demonstrate how the structure and model can be utilized by other professionals in this field.

The presenters will explain why a coordinated team approach is essential when dealing with complex family situations, and the workshop will provide a communication protocol that assists in time and cost efficiency in these cases. The presenters will provide practical tools regarding how to respond to family fractures. The structure of the team approach will be outlined and the different roles of the team members will be explored in a practical and informative manner. This highly coordinated and structured model provides a solution to these challenging and often heart-breaking cases.

Moving Families Forward Workshop Outline (90 minute workshop)

Introduction of Panel and Program; Overview of the Impact of Parental Conflict on Children

Information regarding Parental Alienation and Estrangement

The Family Forward Reunification program

Reality Checks when Dealing with High Conflict, and the implementation of a Coordinated Treatment Program

Structure of the Family Forward Program

Steps of the Program

Questions and Discussion

Learning Objectives:

a. Participants will become familiar with a non-residential re-integration model for parental alienation, estrangement and high conflict.

b. Participants will gain an understanding of a transparent communication protocol that creates containment and movement in highly challenging cases.

c. Participants will gain practical tools on how to respond to all family members within a family system that is experiencing an attachment disruption.

Alyson Jones, MA, RCC, will serve at the session coordinator. She is the Clinical Director and the visionary at Alyson Jones & Associates. She enthusiastically leads one of the largest counselling centers in the province of British Columbia and approaches her work with passion and commitment. She enjoys contribution, connection and community. Her work as clinical director, counsellor, public speaker, parent educator, teacher and author enables her to touch the lives of many.

Alyson has developed her MORE philosophy through many years of practice and practical living. She is a highly respected Child and Family Therapist who has been featured in the media sharing her extensive knowledge. Alyson is a public speaker, Facilitator and Strategic Coach who does presentations and workshops for both the public and professional audiences. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Adler School of Professional Psychology where she teaches graduate students in psychology.

As a Registered Clinical Counsellor who specializes in therapy for children, adolescents, families, individuals and couples. SShe assists families in developing problem solving techniques, and also specializes in enhancing the attachment between parent and child. A main focus for Alyson is the issue of separation and divorce. She is  a trained Parent Coordinator, Mediator, Collaborative Law Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She works to assist families in reducing conflict and working towards a healthy resolution for the entire family. Alyson believes that people are immensely creative and guides them to use this strength in their efforts towards growth and transformation. She creates a safe place for children to grieve any feelings of loss, build self-esteem and regain a sense of control in their lives. She also guides parents through this challenging time and has helped many families adjust to this difficult life transition.

Details of her co-presenters is available at Alyson Jones and Associates website address (http://alysonjones.ca/our-therapists)


Be Sure to Mark Your Calendar for the Event

Saturday, March 7th 2015


Here is a glimpse at what we did in March, 2014 at our Fourth Annual Conference

Frontiers of Family Practice 

The was held on Saturday, March 15, 2014 

at the Washington Athletic Club. 

The Program was approved for up to 6.0 hours of Continuing Education Credit for attorneys, mental health professionals, and psychologists. 

A few weeks before the conference, persons who  registered for the Conference were be able to download copies of the handout materials. WiFi was available at the conference and attendees received a thumb drive with PDF copies of handouts as part of our effort to Go Green. There were no other handouts distributed at the conference.


WA AFCC 4th Annual Conference    Frontiers of Family Law    

Saturday March 15          Program Overview

 8:00 to 8:30              Registration  

8:30                             Opening Remarks

8:45 to 10:15             Plenary Session I: Phil Stahl (and Stacy Heard)

10:15 to 10:30           Break

10:30 to 12:00           Plenary Session II: Leslie Drozd

12:00 to 1:15             Member Lunch Buffet, others welcome

1:15 to 2:45                Afternoon Sessions            A - C

                                     A         Rybicki, Benjamin, McGlothin       Reducing Bias

                                     B         Jennifer Keilin and Jennifer Wheeler     Using a Sex-Pert

                                     C         Mark Baumann        What Drives Conflict

2:45 to 3:00                Break

3:00 to 4:30                Afternoon Sessions                        D - F

                                    D         Phil Stahl and Leslie Drozd            Relocation Issues

                                    E         Jeff Lee          Child Sexual Abuse Risk Assessment

                                    F          Fainsilber Katz, Wheeler, Hutchins-Cook    Shared Parenting

4:45 to 7                   Meet the Speakers at the Top of the WAC, Fund-Raiser Reception and Silent Auction (extra fee required)


Detailed Program Description

Plenary I                  Deconstructing Child Custody Evaluations

8:45-10:15                 Philip Stahl, Ph.D., and Stacy Heard, J.D.  

                                    Child custody evaluations are subject to sources of error, bias and distortion. Even the best constructed parenting evaluations may have weakness which detract from the practical utility of the recommendations and findings. Methodological problems, omissions in data collection, inadvertent bias factors, and failures to establish a logical nexus from the data to the recommendations can yield inferior results for the Court. This presentation will offer an outline of common sources of error and omission and provide a combination of scientific, forensic mental health, and legal perspectives on the topic. This session is designed to serve the needs of attorneys, court personnel, guardian ad litem and mental health providers.

Learning Objectives:

1. Gain appreciation for array of sources of error in custody evaluations

2. Develop tools for challenging assumptions and methods of parenting evaluations done by guardian ad litem and by mental health providers

3. Learn tell-tale signs of bias, overbroad conclusions, and faulty assumptions in how custody evaluators present their findings


Plenary II     Using Decision Trees in Complex Custody Evaluations

10:30-12:00   Leslie Drozd, Ph.D.

 Recent interest in cognitive error and flawed decision making have prompted the development of checklists and tools to reduce human biases and inadvertent error from disrupting the process of conducting child custody evaluations. In a field where many levels of complexity and competing hypotheses must be critically examined and judiciously studied, the use of decision-tree methods is a valuable asset for streamlining the collection and integration of data into cogent findings which lead to logical conclusions and recommendations. This presentation will be of interest to attorneys and judges who can use the checklists to evaluate the quality of custody evaluation reports. Mental health providers who conduct evaluations will find this presentation to offer a working model for improved investigations.

Learning Objectives:

1. Improved understanding of what constitutes preventable errors in child custody evaluations

2. Gain appreciation for transparency and clarity afforded by decision-tree tools

3. Acquire sample decision tree tools for complex cases


Noon: Member Meeting and Luncheon (Non-members encouraged to participate, extra fee required; others, lunch on own)


Concurrent Afternoon Sessions A-C       1:15 to 2:45   (1.5 hour each)

 Session A    Minimizing Confirmatory Bias in Custody Evaluations

G.H. Andrew Benjamin, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP; Daniel Rybicki, Psy.D., DAPBS; and Dennis J. McGlothin, Esq.

 The presentation will focus upon Washington moving toward a uniform procedure that minimizes confirmatory bias and the participant’s perception of bias in custody evaluations.  The presenters will discuss the AFCC guidelines, WAC 246-924-445, and effective testimony regarding these guidelines and administrative regulations.  Each presentation is expected to last 20-25 minutes and then there will be a 15 – 30 minute panel discussion that follows.  The panel will discuss, among other things, why consistency in the custody and parenting evaluation fields amongst all professionals who perform custody and parenting evaluations may be desirable.  These reasons include:  Assisting judges and fact finders in giving appropriate weight to custody and parenting evaluations; assisting peer review of custody and parenting evaluations; increasing each participant’s perception the procedures were fair and unbiased; and to actually minimize confirmatory bias in preparing an evaluation.  The panel will also answer questions the attendees may have.

Learning Objectives:

1. Learn the guidelines and regulations for custody and parenting evaluations.

2. Understand the policy considerations leading to the guidelines and regulations.

3. Discuss the pros and cons of moving toward a more uniform parenting evaluation procedure.


Session B    Using a Sex-Pert

                        Jennifer Keilin, M.S.W., and Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D.

Parenting evaluations often address complicated sexual issues, including allegations of sexual addiction, problematic sexual boundaries, and other sex-related concerns that may impact parenting, increase risk to children, and/or simply unnerve the evaluator. Learn common types of sexual issues that arise during evaluations, the types of services a psychosexual expert offers, including consultation and psychological evaluation, and when and how to best use a psychosexual expert during a parenting evaluation.

Part I: Introduction; Who we are and what we do; Sexual behaviors potentially relevant to parenting evaluations.

Part II: Psychosexual experts: What they can (and cannot) do for you; What is “sex-pertise”? Psychosexual assessment; Considerations for risk management.

Part III: Case examples; What would you do?

Learning Objectives:

1. Increase knowledge of various sexual issues that present during parenting evaluations

2. Learn about various services provided by psychosexual experts          

3. Learn when and how to refer a parent for further evaluation by a psychosexual expert


Session C:    Brains on Conflict: How the Science of Danger and Relationship Inform Conflict Resolvers

Mark Baumann, J.D.

  Conflict is deeply impacted by neurobiopsychological drives designed to protect us from danger and also stay in relationship. These systems are described particularly by Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, (perhaps the most important theory most have never heard of, describing the battle of the fight-flight-freeze system vs. Social Engagement System), Patricia Crittenden’s adult attachment theory, Jaak Panksepp’s 7 core emotional/affective drives, and the connection between rejection and aggression. This workshop will summarize the science and review the significance for conflict resolvers (lawyers/mediators/judges/GAL’s/parenting professionals). Flowing out of the science and understanding of what drives conflict are three key concepts guiding what legal professionals can do with the information. We will explore the concept of professional equipoise, the crucial elements of connecting and listening, and provide a 4-step process for helping people resolve perceived danger, stay in relationship, and integrate their body-brain functioning to enhance problem solving skills. A detailed case study will be presented along with some quick experientials. This workshop is informed by the presenter’s experience working with and applying Bill Eddy’s material and additional graduate credit certificates training in interpersonal neurobiology (one year program).

 Learning Objectives:

1. Understand how danger and relationship drive conflict and impact need, often preconsciously

2. Define danger and relationship

3. Gain tools for reducing danger and increasing safe feelings, and for managing relationships, to promote neural integration and optimal problem solving



Afternoon Break  2:45- 3:00




Concurrent Afternoon Sessions D-F       3:00-4:30       (1.5 hour each)


Session D   Updates on Relocation Assessment: Mental Health and Legal Perspectives, Regional Guidelines and Larger Body of Research Informed Paradigms

Philip Stahl, Ph.D., Leslie Drozd, Ph.D., and Stacy Heard, J.D.  

Washington relies upon language in RCW 26.09.520 and related case law to determine best interest plans for relocation cases. The presenters will summarize recent developments in relevant research on relocation outcomes as a starting point for their discussion of competing models and paradigms for conducting relocation assessments. Information in this workshop will be relevant to mental health providers and guardian ad litem who conduct such assessments. Attorneys and judicial officers will find the information useful from both a legal perspective and from the perspective of consumers of psychological research.  

Learning Objectives:

1. Identify recent changes in case law pertaining to relocation issues

2. Gain better understanding of research on outcomes of relocation across the spectrum of developmental stages

3. Acquire resources and tools for integrating legal findings and psychological data in relocation cases


Session E    Challenges of Risk Assessment in Custody Cases Involving Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse 

Jeff Lee, Ph.D.  

Child sexual abuse allegations in custody battles are difficult because they present unique challenges to the evaluator and attorneys.  Often, the evaluator is asked to assess and opine a level of risk and recommendations to, ideally, prevent offenses.  Given the many limitations of current risk measures and the difficulty of assessing sexual abuse allegations, these challenges can be very difficult.  This presentation will address the many obstacles an evaluator and attorney should consider, provide critical information (e.g., base rates) to consider when evaluating such allegations, provide a model for conducting such evaluations, and provide safety considerations for parenting plans.

Learning Objectives:

1. Attendees will be able to identify the many limitations of sexual risk assessments

2. Attendees will understand the base rates and relative risk associated with specific types of sex offenders

3. Attendees will be able to compose a parenting plan with appropriate safety recommendations based on the alleged perpetrator’s level of risk


Session F    The Pros and Cons of Shared Parenting: Current Research and Implications for Practice 

Lynn Fainsilber Katz, Ph.D., Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D., and Wendy Hutchins-Cook, Ph.D., ABPP

When parents separate, children typically enter into new living arrangements with each parent in a manner determined by parents and with recommendations and decisions by attorneys, therapists, evaluators and the courts.  Increasingly, legal and mental health professionals are considering parent’s requests for equal or near equal parenting time.  Shared parenting is a controversial topic in family law, with strongly held and divergent opinions.  The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with an overview of issues involved in determinations of shared parenting.  In the first part of the workshop, participants will learn about current research related to living arrangements after divorce, father involvement and their associations with child psychosocial adjustment.  Typical shared parenting arrangements will also be discussed.  In the second part of the workshop, a new framework of shared parenting that includes attention to both residential time and the parental relationship will be outlined.  Implications of this new framework for the best interests of the child and impact on parents will be discussed.  In the third part of the workshop, the pros and cons of shared parenting will be described.  Special issues related to infants and overnights, adolescents, high conflict families and special needs children will be outlined.


Learning Objectives:

1. To obtain up-to-date knowledge of current research on shared parenting and its association with child adjustment. 

2.  To understand the role of residential time and the parental relationship in the determination of a shared parenting schedule, and the implications of these aspects of shared parenting for parents and the best interests of the child.  

3. To understand the pros and cons of shared parenting, and special circumstances related to infants and overnights, adolescents, high conflict families and special needs children.


4:45 to 7:00   Meet the Speakers at the Top of the WAC – Social event, fund-raiser with silent auction. Extra fee donation required for entry, two drinks, appetizers.


Conference Faculty

Philip Stahl, Ph.D. Philip Stahl, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist based out of Maricopa County Arizona, though his work takes him all over the country for over 30 years. Dr. Stahl is a practitioner, teacher, and author, specializing in high conflict families of divorce. He has served on numerous committees and task forces designed to improve the quality of work in his field. In addition, Dr. Stahl teaches judges, attorneys, psychologists and other mental health professionals about issues affecting families and children.  Dr. Stahl is on the faculty of National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Most recently, Dr. Stahl, along with several co-faculty, has developed and begun to teach a course titled Modern Divorce Advocacy through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. As an approved provider of legal specialist education (family law) for the California Bar Association, Dr. Stahl also provides ongoing training and continuing education workshops for psychologists and attorneys.  

Stacy Heard, J.D. is a family law attorney who practices in Seattle, Washington. Stacy has served clients for nearly 20 years as an attorney and includes an additional 7 years of prior experience as a paralegal. She is a skilled litigator and negotiator who is well-respected for her intense advocacy, strong work ethic, pragmatism, and compassion in family law matters. She prides herself on providing caring counsel to clients while, at the same time, being a skillful and effective advocate. She has become increasingly active in conducting seminars and training events for attorneys and other professionals in the field. She has presented at functions sponsored by the American Bar Association Family Law Section and she has been a valuable professional asset to the Washington Chapter of AFCC where she serves on the Board. She has been recognized by WSBA for her pro bono work and she was named a “Rising Star” by the Washington Law and Politics for three years in a row.

Leslie Drozd, Ph.D.
Dr. Drozd is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist in Newport Beach. She is the editor of the International Journal of Child Custody and co-editor with Kathryn Kuehnle of Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court (Oxford University Press). She has co-edited other books on relocation, psychological testing, and child sexual abuse and written chapters on domestic violence, treatment of trauma, alienation, and unification therapy. Dr. Drozd has been a child custody evaluator for over 20 years, trains other evaluators, serves as a consultant to attorneys, and as a testifying expert in family law matters. She has helped write the Association of Family Conciliation Courts Model Standards for conducting child custody evaluations and for those parenting plan evaluations involving allegations of domestic violence. She also works clinically with families in the various stages of divorce including co-parenting therapy, family therapy, unification therapy, and parent coordinator. Dr. Drozd has spoken at conferences on these topics in America, Canada, and Europe. Most recently she was honored by the international Association of Family and Conciliation Courts with the John E. Van Duzer Distinguished Service Award for recognition of outstanding achievements in the filed.

Dr. Drozd is a well-known expert on family violence, abuse, and alienation - especially in high conflict divorce cases. She has spoken for the AFCC (international, national, and state conferences) as well as at conventions held by the American, California, Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo Psychological Associations, Alliant University and California School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, University of California, Irvine, and Harvard University doctoral program in the School of Public Health. She is the co-author of a bench book for judges in how to deal with domestic violence in child custody cases. She has served on a joint task force and she has spoken at a national convention of the American Bar Association and the American Psychological Association on issues of alleged abuse, neglect, and endangerment.

Daniel Rybicki, Psy.D. is licensed in four states and provides forensic psychological services including parenting evaluations and psychological testing. He has conducted over 350 full child custody evaluations. Dr. Rybicki also has expertise in high conflict cases and relocation cases. He has extensive experience with cases involving domestic violence and alienation concerns. He holds a diplomate in Forensic Psychology from the American Board of Psychological Specialties and is currently serving as the Founding President of the WA AFCC Chapter. He conducts professional training seminars often for legal professionals and mental health in both family law and dependency court matters.

G. Andrew Benjamin, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP  is a past president of the Washington State Psychological Association and a frequent presenter at local and national conferences. He has authored books on conducting child custody evaluations and on law and ethics. He is the founder of the PETP parenting evaluation training program in Washington State.

Dennis McGlothin, J.D. is the founding partner of the Seattle law firm of Olympic Law Group PLLP. Mr. McGlothin and his firm practice in the areas of family law, real estate litigation and commercial litigation. A frequent lecturer on a variety of litigation topics and adjunct family law professor at Seattle University, he is a member of the Seattle-King County Bar Association (member, Family Law Section), as well as the Florida and Washington State Bar Associations (member, Litigation Section), and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (member, Commercial Litigation Section), the Florida Bar and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. He is also a volunteer court-appointed special advocate for children. Mr. McGlothin received his B.S. degree in Business Administration with high honors, and his J.D. degree with honors from the University of Florida.

Mark Baumann, J.D. is a lawyer, mediator, and judge pro tem. He has practiced law for 25 years and now specializes in high conflict family law. In 2013 Mark completed a one year graduate credit certificate program in interpersonal neurobiology at Portland State University. He was the only lawyer in this program. His focus in the training was on how to apply the science of relationship and neurobiology to conflict. Prior to that he researched and applied Bill Eddy’s high conflict concepts to the practice of criminal and family law. He was the first associate of Bill Eddy’s High Conflict Institute.

Over the last fifteen Mark has been working to understand and apply principles of psychology, attachment, neuroscience, negotiation, and mindfulness to helping parties resolve conflict, whether in litigation or mediation. He am a member of and frequent contributor to the WSBA FL section Yahoo Group, providing suggestions to problems based on the perspective detailed in his presentation. He is a board member of the WSBA ADR section, and developed a high school peer mediation program. He has have developed several training programs, including one on applying attachment to family law. His full resume is at www.markbaumann.com/resume.

Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington, with specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of human sexual behavior, including sexual offense behavior.  She received pre- and post-doctoral training in criminal and civil forensic evaluations of adults and juveniles.  She has worked in institution-based treatment settings in Washington State, including Echo Glen Children’s Center, Twin Rivers Sex Offender Treatment Program, and the Special Commitment Center.  She is currently the President of the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and also serves on the board of the Washington State chapter of the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts.  She has published numerous articles and chapters on a variety of psychology topics, including forensic psychology, sexual behavior, and couple therapy.  Currently, Dr. Wheeler maintains a private practice in clinical and forensic psychology in Seattle, WA.

Jennifer Keilin, MSW, LICSW received her masters in Social Work from the University of Washington. She has specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of substance abuse. She received post-graduate training in civil forensic evaluations of adults. She has worked at community-based and institution-based treatment settings, including Echo Glen Children’s Center. She has worked at DSHS Children and Family Services, investigating and intervening in child abuse and neglect cases. Currently, Ms. Keilin maintains a private practice in clinical and forensic social work in Bellevue, WA.

Wendy Hutchins-Cook, Ph.D., ABFP/ABPP, received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Washington in 1983. She received Board Certification in Forensic Psychology in 2006 from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Hutchins-Cook serves on the Clinical Faculties of the University of Washington Department of Psychology and the Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Hutchins-Cook is in private practice. She is regularly appointed by the court as a parenting evaluator, and testifies as an expert in child and family matters. She presents regularly for the King County Bar Association and is co-author of the current Title 26 Guardian ad Litem Manual, 2009.

Lynn Fainsilber Katz, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in Child Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington, and Associate Director of the University of Washington’s Child and Family Well-Being Center.  Dr. Katz has 24 years of experience working with children and families on issues relating to marital conflict, parenting and family relationships.  She has been conducting research on the effects of marital and family conflict on children’s adjustment.  Dr. Katz has written extensively in the area of marital conflict, and has authored numerous publications including Domestic Violence, Emotion Coaching and Child Adjustment; Buffering Children from Marital Conflict and Dissolution; and Patterns of Marital Conflict Predict Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior.  Her book on parenting, Meta-Emotion:  How Families Communicate Emotionally, received widespread attention both locally and nationally.  Most recently, she developed a parenting intervention for survivors of domestic violence.

Dr. Katz is nationally recognized as a leading expert in the area of family relations.  She has received over $10 million of funding from the National Institutes of Health for her work on domestic violence, parenting, childhood aggression, adolescent depression and family adjustment in the context of pediatric cancer.  She has lectured extensively on the effects of marital conflict on children, and on parenting qualities that buffer children from marital dissolution.  She has also taught courses on child and adolescent behavior disorders and on children’s social development at the University of Washington.

Dr. Katz received her B.A. in Psychology from McGill University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She has a Parenting Evaluation Certificate from the Parenting Evaluation Training Program at the University of Washington, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Washington.  Her private practice focuses on parenting evaluations in child custody disputes, and supporting parents and children through the divorce process.

Jeff A. Lee, PhD is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in Washington (PY 60229346) and Oregon (2242). He is trained in both scientist-practitioner and scholar-practitioner models from which he provides empirically and theoretically informed assessments, consultation, and psychotherapy.  His primary focus is forensic evaluations including violence risk, sex offender, parenting capacity, competency, insanity, and mental state evaluations for both adolescents and adults.  He adheres to national, state, and empirical literature guidelines when conducting, conceptualizing, writing, and testifying.  He began conducting sex offender evaluations during his second semester in graduate school, his dissertation addresses when to trust self-reported symptoms from the severely mentally ill and his graduate internship specialized in parental risk assessments and the treatment thereof. His background consists of both treatment and assessment of infants, children, adolescents, and adults in individual, family, couple, and group treatment modalities.  Although he has experience in treating many different psychological concerns, he has specialized training and experience in group therapy, sex offender treatment (adult/adolescent), and substance addiction treatment (adult/adolescent). Dr. Lee has worked closely with community services such as judges, attorneys, probation officers, DSHS/DHS case workers, school administrators, physicians, teachers, mental health professionals, and clergy throughout his career. Areas of forensic specialties include the assessment of violent offenders, sex offenders (incest, rape, pedophilia, child pornography, treatment completion, and variance of risk), severely mentally ill, parental risk, substance abuse, and domestic violence.  He is certified in administering the Static-99R, Stable-2007, and Acute-2007 and utilizes the PPG when appropriate.   Dr. Lee operates as the Director of the Clackamas office and is available at both the Vancouver and Clackamas offices.



Registration includes program materials, training and refreshments. Members will be holding a lunch meeting and mingle (buffet lunch served). Tickets are available for non-members to join the lunch meeting, otherwise lunch is on your own. Register early for savings. Class size is limited, so sign up soon. 

Program materials will be distributed on-line and by way of USB flash drive as PDF documents. Session materials will not be distributed in print form at the conference. High speed wireless internet is available at the Washington Athletic Club for a fee. 

Parking fees are not included. There are several public lots nearby and a parking facility used by the WAC is about a half-block north on Sixth. Public transportation is also available.

Lodging: Please make your own travel arrangements. A limited number of rooms are available at the WAC for WA AFCC attendees. Other major hotel chains such as the Sheraton are within easy walking distance. 

Who Should Attend?  Attorneys, Guardian Ad Litem, Judicial Officers, Psychologists, Mental Health Professionals, Researchers and Treatment Providers involved with Family Law and Dependency Court custody matters. 

Link for Online Registration 


 Link for Registration Form


Registration Information:

AFCC members receive a discounted rate and will be granted access to the member meeting and mingle at noon which will have a buffet luncheon served. Non-members may purchase a ticket for the luncheon at an extra charge. There are discounted rates for early registration and for various categories of registration – including lower rates for full time students, full time court personnel, and court personnel. Persons working with DSHS may request a 10% discount by contacting the program office directly. Full-time student rates require proof of full-time student status.


Continuing Education Credits:

The Washington State Bar has approved this program for up to 6.0 hours of Continuing Legal Education (Activity ID: 355804). WA AFCC is an approved provider(#1975-312) for continuing education credits under the guidelines set forth by the NASW-WA chapter. Up to 6.0 hours of Continuing Education Credit is available with this program.

Attorneys wishing to have their CE credits reported to the WSBA for CLE certification will be required to pay a fee to cover administrative and reporting costs. AFCC members will be charged $10 for this reporting fee. Non-members will be charged $15.

The training program offers 6.0 hours CE credit for psychologists. The program has been reviewed by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  AFCC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. AFCC maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

AFCC will provide a certificate of conference attendance for a processing fee of $10 for members and $15 for non-members. The certificate will verify attendance at conference sessions and may be used to apply for continuing education credits with the registrant’s accrediting institution.

All persons registered in advance will be able to pick up a certificate of attendance at the close of the conference. They will be required to fill out and return a verification of attendance form which will be signed by one of our staff. These certificates are provided with conference registration. However, only those persons paying the additional certificate fees noted above will have their CLE hours reported directly to the WSBA or receive a copy of the AFCC signed certificate.


Audio Recording: Conference sessions will be recorded and MP3 downloads of the sessions will be available after the conference through VWTapes.com who will offer both immediate MP3 downloads and CD formats. Information will be posted on our website for access to these and other conference recordings. You may also go to VWTapes directly at http://vwtapes.com/wa-afcc.aspx to purchase recordings. No personal audio or video recording of sessions is permitted.

Special Needs: If you have special meal requests or other special needs, please note this on the registration form. The WAC meeting facilities, its guest rooms, common areas, and transportation services are in compliance with public accommodation requirements of the ADA.

Cancellation Policy: Transfer of registration to another person may be done at any time prior to the event without a fee. All requests for refunds must be made in writing. Written notice of cancellation received by fax or postmarked by February 25, 2014 will be issued a full refund minus a $25 service fee. Written notice after February 25th will have the service fee deducted and the balance will be issued as a credit for future WA AFCC conferences, publications, or membership dues. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received after March 12, 2014.


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