Herring Law Group’s Executive Director, Erin Schaden, recently attended the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ (AFCCnet.org) Conference in Costa Mesa. HLG is a member of the AFCC, which is the “interdisciplinary, international association of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict.” It focuses on “serving the needs of children among those who work in and with family law systems, encouraging education, research and innovation and identifying best practices.” While the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (aaml.org) and the International Academy of Family Lawyers (iafl.com), in which HLG is also involved, focus on all manner of family law concerns, the AFCC narrowly focuses on children, custody and parenting.
The Conference’s presenters included many of the nationally-prominent mental health and parenting/custody professionals with whom HLG regularly works.
Through Erin, we dove deeper into a variety of developing issues and concepts, particularly centering on family law cases involving domestic violence (“DV”). Insights gained include ways to better identify abuse that is not always readily reported by clients, assisting clients who are impacted by DV, coping with DV-related “PTSD” and learning the ways that DV trauma interferes with litigation. With Erin’s input, we are continuing to develop strategies for identifying and better handling survivors of DV.
At the Conference, Erin’s other areas of focus included:
- Respectful communication: its limits and benefits;
- The role of digital media in managing family conflict and parental disputes;
- Drafting and enforcing effective DV court orders;
- The evolution of family law and parenting evaluations;
- Burden of proof issues under the DV Prevention Act;
- Understanding the challenges of blended family relationships;
- Overcoming righteous indignation and accusatory suffering, and
- The opioid crisis, substance abuse and treatment alternatives.
It was an informative few days, providing us updates regarding how DV, trauma and substance abuse affect and -- especially if ignored -- tend to direct family law cases. On the positive side, the Conference also emphasized revised strategies for HLG’s handling of these challenges. HLG remains a strong supporter of the AFCC. We thank Erin for her enthusiastic participation!