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Who’s Presenting at 2010 AFCC Conference

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These are supposedly the “stake-holders.”    This list should be posted at every family court facilitators, mediators, parent educators, guardian-ad-litem’s and anyone else’s doorpost, so at least the general public KNOWs what the good ol’ boys and girls’ clubs are specializing in, and where the interbreeding (sorry, “collaboration”) really is.

If I had more time, I’d highlight uses of the words “alienation” or “conflict” etc. 

I think that the deliverables are in exact inverse proportion to the claims. 

The web is full of angry men and women both, at this venue.  This one appears to be from a father, and HE doesn’t like supervised visitation, either.  This deals with a professional whose credentials turned out to be spurious, and more.  Check out the rest of the link too — why not?

Supervised Visitation Centers And Monitors

The lack of results from the psychological evaluation is often an excuse to not correct unfair and unjust custody situations for extended periods of time. The judges pretend they can address these problems by ordering “supervised visitation” in which a parent is watched and often videotaped while with their children. They must use supervised visitation centers or monitors approved by the court at rates often well in excess of $50 per hour to see their children. While some of these centers vary rates based upon income of the parent, it is as if the rates are chosen to consume the parent’s entire income. A order for 5 to 10 hours of supervised contact per week is not unusual. The cost per hour typically is anywhere from $30 to $100 (or more) per hour depending upon the supervising party and the parent’s income.

It’s not unusual for supervised visitation for a parent to cost several thousand dollars per month, leaving the parent with having to decide between having money to live, money to fight the court battle, or money to pay for seeing the children. Often there’s simply not enough money to pay for any more than one of these, unless perhaps the parent is blessed with relatives who are willing to help. The San Diego family law system is happy with that option when it occurs. It gives them hundreds of thousands of dollars more to swallow up, feeding a monster that is hurting many people.

Crime Rewarded by Family Law Courts

Litigants in this system often feel that in San Diego family law courts, crime pays. The courts reward the crimes of false accusations against good parents. Government agencies such as the police and CPS frequently involve themselves in these cases, too. When they can’t find any criminal activity, they virtually never go after the falsely accusing party. Instead, they sometimes punish accused parents without a trial or due process by helping to deprive them of custody for months or years and to financially and emotionally destroy them.

THIS one, I suspect, is probably female (I may know by whom).  She’s nailing conflict of interest, especially financial, among other things:


Nothing can change until it is first, accurately described.

There is assault, battery, attempted murder and murder.

There is Not domestic violence.

Family law is where criminals are detoured around the criminal justice system, in favor of, “anger management classes.”

Also a link worth reviewing….  It gives names, numbers, details, and principles.


I just had an idea today.  Since, everyone is so upset with the family law courts (except those making a living in them, or around them, who assert the real danger is not enough money going to them….  yeah, right ), why don’t we start a campaign something like this (men and women both):

“BOYCOTT THE FAMILY LAW VENUE.  FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELVES.”  (Whether by conversation or weapon, or bribes, the results could hardly be less devastating to families and society than what we have going on currently).  You could call it something like:

“Yes Family Violence IS a Private Matter.”  or “Keep your extortion, bribes and fraud local.”  Of course, certain categories of professionals would then flood the job market, driving wages down.  Anyhow, it’s an idea…..

Things are already being settled “behind closed doors” anyhow — how many parents, devastated financially and emotionally, can actually afford to attend these conferences?  And they are the ones we most need to hear from.  I’ve talked myself into a few; the powerpoints and refreshments were nice, and as far as I can tell have not made any significant changes in court practices.

The other thing women might want to consider boycotting is simply giving birth.  That would simplify matters also, at least for them… 

Well, I realize this was a very bitter comment, above.  Anyhow, we still ought to review some of these personnel.


Battered women in custody battles in particular should review the types of people, and do some further research, whether or not you can attend.  I think WHo’s Who in this field is simply important to know.  Now’s your chance to read carefully.

I hope to update this post later today or tomorrow; this is a simple paste for now:

Alphabetical order (some bolding was lost in the paste….)

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
AFCC-CA Annual Conference
The Challenge of Diminishing Resources in Family Law:
A Clear and Present Danger to Our Children.
February 12-14, 2010

Rhonda B. Barovsky, LCSW earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1982.  Before working at Family Court Services she worked at two different shelters for battered women, at San Francisco Rape Treatment, and was the Director of the San Francisco Juvenile Sex Offender Treatment Program, which she founded in 1986.  Ms. Barovsky worked at the Contra Costa County Family Court Services for nine years and was the Director of the San Francisco Family Court Services in 2001 before starting her private practice.

Lynette Berg Robe is a certified family law specialist, certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, in private practice in Studio City, California. She is a member of the Board of AFCC California, and she has served on the Family Law Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association since 1998. She also served on the State Bar Family Law Executive Committee for three years from 2006-2009 and was editor of the Family Law News during 2007-2008. A graduate of UCLA Law, where she served on the law review, she offers services in her law practice in all aspects of marital dissolution, paternity matters, premarital and other agreements, including mediation and collaborative law.

Steven F. Bucky, Ph.D.
California School of Professional Psychology / Alliant International University San Diego
(1972 – present)

Steven Bucky, PhD, is a full professor, the Director of Professional Training, Chair of the Ethics Committee, Executive Director of the Addictions Institute and was the Interim System wide Dean at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.

Dr. Bucky was on California Psychological Association’s (“CPA”) Board of Directors from 1996 to 2000, on CPA’s Ethics Committee from 1990 to 1997, Chair of the annual convention from 1999-2000 and was President of CPA in 1997. He is President/Chairman of the Board of the McAlister Institute, which consists of twenty programs throughout San Diego County that focus on the treatment of alcohol and other drug problems of women, their children and adolescents.

Dr. Bucky has published more than 150 papers, presented at major conventions such as the American Psychological Association and the California Psychological Association and has edited the book The Impact of Alcoholism.

Dr. Bucky is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Silver Psi Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the California Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the San Diego Psychological Association.

Dr. Bucky also maintains a private practice that focuses on children, adolescents, families, substance abuse, forensics, and the assessment and treatment of professional and college athletes.

Dr. Bucky is a consultant to California ’s Board of Psychology, Medical Board, Board of Behavioral Sciences, and the Attorney General’s office, has consulted with the District Attorney’s office, the US Attorney’s office, the City Attorney and numerous attorneys who specialize in the defense of mental health professionals. Dr. Bucky is also a consultant to the NFL, the San Diego Chargers, and the Athletic Department at San Diego State University

Paula Savage Cohen is a senior attorney in the family law unit of Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she has worked since 1995. She coordinates the Domestic Violence Clinic at the Long Beach Courthouse, which offers free legal services and representation to victims of domestic violence. Paula counsels clients in all areas of family law with a focus on domestic violence, child custody and child abduction. Paula just completed a 3-year appointment to the Family Law Executive Committee of the State Bar of California. She received the 54th District “Woman of the Year” award (2006) from Assembly Member Betty Karnette.

Honorable Judith Craddick was admitted to the Bar in 1980.  In 1998 she was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court by Gov. Pete Wilson.  From 1980 until 1986 she was an associate at a law firm specializing in defense of medical malpractice litigation.  From 1986 until her appointment to the bench, Judge Craddick was a principal and managing attorney at the same law firm Craddick, Candland & Conti.  Judge Craddick worked on the Family Law bench for seven years, six years as the Presiding Judge and five years as the Presiding Judge, Post-conviction Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Court.

Leslie M. Drozd, Ph.D. is clinician, teacher, researcher, and forensic expert with expertise in issues related to child custody including partner violence, alienation, substance abuse, and attachment. She has written a myriad professional books, chapters, and articles, and is the founding editor of the international peer-reviewed Journal of Child Custody. She has served on advisory councils for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Dr. Drozd performs custody evaluations, co-parenting therapy, parenting coordination, reunification therapy, and expert consultations to attorneys.

Sandra Etue has been a Family Law practitioner in Woodland Hills, for over 11 years. In addition to her representation of Family Law litigants, numerous Judges throughout Los Angeles County have appointed Ms. Etue as Minor’s Counsel, in high-conflict custody disputes. Ms. Etue believes it is important for all Minors’ Counsel to understand the developmental stages of children and to keep current with the psychological research in the area of custody and visitation. Ms. Etue is also a trained Family Law mediator.

Judith R. Forman
Listed in: Best Lawyers in America; Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers; Southern California Super Lawyer, 2004-2008; Top 50 Female Super Lawyers, Southern California, 2005-2008; Top 100 Los Angeles County Super Lawyers, 2006-2007.

Author: “The Impact of Parental Alcoholism and Related Substance Abuse Issues in Custody Determinations,”; “The Effect of Parental Alcoholism in Custody Disputes,” Los Angeles County Bar, Family Law Symposium Books, 1992-1993; “Force of Habit,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 27, 1995; “Copyright Custody,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Nov. 30, 1995; “Identifying and Dividing Intellectual Property: Practical Considerations at Marital Dissolution,” Aspen Family Law Update (Aspen Law and Business, New York City, 1999).

Co-Author with Patricia Phillips: “Custody and Support of Children,” California Transactions Forms: Family Law (Westgroup, 1998).

Stephen Gershman’s practice was founded in 1984 and is limited to family law including custody litigation, domestic violence, dissolution, paternity and complex property and financial issues in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Represent men and women with extensive experience in domestic violence defense including cases with accompanying criminal charges. Custody matters include experience with move aways and children with special needs. I work with and make use of mental health professionals in several areas of my practice.

Albert R. Gibbs, Ph.D., is a psychologist practicing in Los Angeles County. He earned his Ph.D. in 1976 from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles and is currently director of Co-Parents Solutions providing divorce and co-parent education classes. He is a frequent lecturer on co-parenting issues.

Commissioner Reva G. Goetz was appointed to the bench in November 1991. She sits in Department 9, one of three Probate Departments, in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Her calendar consists of Conservatorships, Guardianships, Trust, and Estate matters. Previously she sat in a Family Law assignment for 5 ½ years. When to the bench, Commissioner Goetz was a Deputy District Attorney assigned to the Major Fraud Unit. Prior to practicing law, Commissioner Goetz worked as a Financial Analyst and Accountant. Commissioner Goetz received her law degree from Whittier Law School where she was an Editor on the Law Review.

Diane M. Goodman is a partner in the law firm of Goodman & Metz in Encino. She received her J.D. from the University of La Verne School of Law in 1984. Ms. Goodman is a family law practitioner, with an emphasis on representing the gay and lesbian client. Ms. Goodman has handled many child custody and adoption matters in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Ms. Goodman is President of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers/Academy of California Family Formation Lawyers. Ms. Goodman volunteers at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Legal Clinic. Ms. Goodman served as a commissioner on the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women from 1980 – 1990. Ms. Goodman is also a member of Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim, American Civil Liberties Union, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Scott Gordon is a Commissioner with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is currently assigned to the Family Law Department where he presides in Department 88. Prior to his election to the Los Angeles Superior Court, Mr. Gordon served with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for sixteen years and as a police officer and detective for the Santa Monica Police Department for eight years.

While a deputy district attorney Mr. Gordon served in a variety assignments including: Central Trials, Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Division, Stuart House, Special Investigations and the Stalking and Threat Assessment Team.

Mr. Gordon has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law for Southwestern University School of Law for the past fourteen years. He teaches Trial Advocacy, Advanced Criminal Procedure, Forensic Evidence, and the Criminal Response to Terrorism Seminar.

Mr. Gordon was named “Prosecuting Attorney of the Year” by the Los Angeles Bar Association, “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women and received the “Excellence in Teaching Award for 2003” from Southwestern University School of Law.

In 1997, Commissioner Gordon served as a Legal Expert for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.

His first book, Shadow Enemies: Hitler’s Secret Terrorist Plot Against the United States, was recently published by Lyons Press.

Dianna Gould-Saltman is a certified family law specialist, first certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in 1992. She has been selected as a Los Angeles Magazine Super lawyer numerous times and named as one of the Top 50 Woman Lawyers in Southern California twice. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has been active in the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts for many years and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Parent organization. She has served on the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Committee since 1997, was Chair 2004-2005 and now serves as a chair emeritus. She has been a frequent lecturer for continuing education of the bar at many events. She has written extensively for family law publications and currently serves as an editor for the Journal of Child Custody.

Elise Greenberg has dedicated her legal career to the practice of dependency and family law. Since 1996, she has represented thousands of children in cases of divorce and other complex custody issues arising in paternity, adoption, and guardianship disputes, frequently serving as minor’s counsel. She also has extensive experience in representing children in extra-judicial arenas such as the LA Unified School District, the California Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Child & Family Services. She was a co-founder of the Birthday Project, which raises funds from corporations and individuals to celebrate the birthdays of children in foster care. She received her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

Daniel Harkins, Esq. was admitted to the Bar in 1981.  He has been practicing Family Law since 1982.  He has a lot of experience with complex litigation, is frequently appointed by the Court to represent minor children, and has led seminars educating attorneys who are appointed to represent children.  He serves as a Special Master/Referee, and has sat as Judge Pro Tem in CCC Superior Court.   Daniel Harkins has been president of the Family Law Section of the CCC Bar Association.

Carol Hirshfield is a Licensed Psychologist with over 25 years experience working with children, adults and their families on both the East and West Coasts. She has special expertise in child development, populations with special needs (such as learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, developmental disabilities, and autism), and services for families who are engaged in high conflict divorce.  Her private practice in West Los Angeles includes the following: psychotherapy and family therapy, social skills groups – for children ages 8-15, Collaborative Divorce & Custody Mediation, and teaching Co-Parenting for Divorce (COPE) – a course for parents. She is especially interested in helping children navigate the difficulties of living with separated/divorced parents, and her high conflict divorce work is done in that context.

Dr. Hoppe has been using psychological tests as part of his own and others’ comprehensive child custody evaluations. He has tested some four to five thousand individuals involved in high conflict custody evaluations for dozens of other custody evaluators.  Since 1987 he has compiled average scores of test results of custody litigants on several of the most widely used psychological tests. These results comprise the largest known database of different personality measures done on the same custody litigant.  He has spoken about the use of tests and these custody norms in comprehensive Custody evaluations since the 1980s and has disseminated the average scores on tests at national professional meetings since 1993.  Dr. Hoppe was trained in Child Psychology as a Post Doctoral Fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health in Child psychology.  He is member of the International Psychoanalytic Association as well as national and local psychological associations.

Karen Horwitz is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the South Bay of Los Angeles, California. She has a private psychotherapy practice in which she specializes in working with children ages 4 and up as well as with couples and families. She also works as a Parenting Shadow and Therapeutic Monitor. She does co-parent counseling and child custody mediation. She trained in “The Mindful Parenting Program,” at the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills and holds certificates in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for both adults and children from the Psychoanalytic Center of California.

Mr. Jenkins is an attorney whose practice emphasizes family law issues. Known
for his encyclopedic knowledge and easygoing demeanor, Mr. Jenkins spent five
years as a research attorney prior to bringing his estimable skills to private
practice. Mr. Jenkins has extensive experience as a litigator and has been
instrumental in the drafting of family codes for Indian tribal courts throughout the

Honorable Judge Juhas was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2002 and
has sat in family Law since then.  He is the assistant Supervising judge
for family law in LA County.  He currently sits on several committees
for the Administrative Office of the Courts, including the Elkins Family
Law Task Force.  He has taught on several occasions for the Center for
Education and Judicial Research, the Los Angeles County Bar Association
and AFCC.  He currently sits on the AFCC-CA board.

Judge Wendy L. Kohn was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2003 and has presided over a family law courtroom for six years. She is currently assigned to the Northwest District in Van Nuys, CA. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she worked as an arbitrator and mediator (with an emphasis on securities industry disputes), as a volunteer attorney for Bet Tzedek Legal Services, as General Counsel for a local certified public accounting firm, and as a business, estate planning and probate attorney in private practice. Judge Kohn received her law degree from San Fernando Valley College of Law, and her Masters in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine Law School.

Alyce LaViolette, MS, MFCC is a pioneer in the field of partner violence. She has worked with battered women since 1978, with six of those years in the Long Beach Women Shelter. In 1979, she developed Alternatives to Violence, one of the first programs in the country to work with men who abuse women in intimate relationships and also one of the first men’s programs to originate as a shelter program. Ms. LaViolette developed the first domestic violence training program for the Los Angeles Department of Probation and provided that program statewide. She has also developed training programs for the Los Angeles and Orange County Departments of Children and Family Services. She is a frequently requested conference and keynote speaker both nationally and internationally. She has consulted with the Japanese Government on the creation of domestic violence policies.

S. Margaret Lee, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist whose work focus is providing services to divorcing families. Dr. Lee performs custody evaluations, custody mediation, co-parent counseling and expert consultation to attorneys. Dr. Lee has done research regarding psychological testing in child custody evaluations. Dr. Lee is a frequent presenter at conferences in the area of psychology/family law.

Renee Leff, MFT, JD is both a Juris Doctor on Law and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is also Board Certified as a Diplomate-Fellow in Forensic Science. In addition to providing psychotherapy for individuals in transition, her specialties are pre and post divorce issues, including custody/visitation, parent-child re-unification, and blended families. She is a former child custody evaluator and currently co-creates parenting plans for custody arrangements with couples undergoing divorce. She coaches high conflict couples and individuals undergoing divorce and child custody evaluations. Additionally, she offers court mandated education, privately or in groups, for high conflict couples with respect to co-parenting skills. She also provides group psychotherapy experience for children and adults of high conflict divorce. Ms. Leff also works as a team with attorneys, and she treats people undergoing the depression, anxiety, and other psychological components that arise from legal cases: e.g., sexual harassment cases, employment issues, family law issues and personal injury cases. She has a private practice in West Los Angeles, Tarzana, and Woodland Hills California, where she treats individuals, couples, and families from an attachment, inter-subjective, and relational theoretical perspective. Ms. Leff achieved her undergraduate degree from California State University at Los Angeles, her Masters Degree from Phillips Graduate Institute, and her Juris Doctor Degree from Southwestern University College of Law. She has completed the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Advanced Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. She is the past president of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; an adjunct faculty member of Phillips Graduate Institute and California State University, Northridge; and a board member of the of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She is also a member of the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley Bar Associations.

Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis, Judge Los Angeles County Superior Court, Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, Fellow American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and Vice President-AFCC- California Chapter.

Anne Lintott, LMFT, is a mediator, evaluator, and licensed psychotherapist, working for the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles , in Family Court Services. Anne has 16 years of experience in working with parents, children, and families dealing with separation and/or divorce issues, with expertise in facilitating parents in conflict management, child development education, and in addressing communication and co-parenting strategies. Anne is also a parent educator, and has taught “Parents and Children Together” and “Parenting Without Conflict” for several years. Anne also is in private practice as a psychotherapist and consultant in Los Feliz , California .
Mary Elizabeth Lund, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA, did a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Cambridge, England, where she did research on divorce and children.  She started a mediation and divorce therapy practice in 1985.  In 1990 was chosen by Los Angeles Superior Court judges to do custody evaluations.  She has been doing collaborative law cases for the last seven years.  Her articles include original research and theory on effects of divorce on children, parental alienation, divorced fathers, custody evaluations, and mediation training. She trains incoming California Family Law judicial officers and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody.

Karin Manger is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has more than 25 years of experience working with children and families. Prior to joining Family Court Services in 1991 as a child custody evaluator, she was the Program Director of the Aviva Center, a residential treatment program for adolescent girls and the Clinical Director of the Germaine Lawrence Intensive Residential Treatment Program in Massachusetts. She has expertise in working with children and adults with a wide range of psychiatric disorders, as well as situational reactions. She has conducted over 700 child custody evaluations, both full and solution focused, and has taught the Parenting Without Conflict Program. Currently, she maintains a small private practice in West Los Angles.
She also provides education groups for parents of children facing social and developmental challenges.

Diana Mercer, Esq. is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Service in Los Angeles, CA. (www.peace-talks.com). A veteran litigator she now devotes her practice solely to mediation. She is the co-author of Your Divorce Advisor: a Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Fireside 2001) and When Divorce Works (Penguin 2010). She’s an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and is admitted to practice law in California, New York Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and before the Supreme Court o f the United States.

Forrest “Woody” Mosten is a collaborative attorney, mediator, and author who provide training to professionals in workshops and seminars around the world. As a Certified Family Law Specialist who handles matters involving substantial assets, delicate parenting issues, and high family conflict, he never goes to court. He is the author of four books, Collaborative Divorce Handbook (2009, Jossey Bass), Mediation Career Guide (2001, Jossey Bass), Unbundling Legal Services (2000, ABA) and Complete Guide to Mediation (1997, ABA) and numerous articles. He is Editor of the Family Court Review’s Special Issue on Collaborative Practice to be published in April, 2011 and he is recognized internationally as the “Father of Unbundling..” He can be reached at http://www.MostenMediation.com.

Amy Neiman, CFLS received an undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University, and received her juris doctorate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1985. Ms. Neiman is a certified Family Law Specialist and has been practicing in the area of family law for close to 20 years. She currently works almost exclusively as minor’s counsel in high conflict custody proceedings. Prior to practicing in the area of family law, Ms. Neiman was a civil litigator at Latham & Watkins and Folger & Levin.  She also worked extensively in the area of art law, emphasizing public art destruction.

Nancy W. Olesen, Ph.D. graduated in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She teaches, researches, and works in private practice, with a particular emphasis on child abuse and neglect, custody and access disputes and the interface between clinical and forensic psychology. She has collaborated on a number of professional articles about custody evaluation, alienation and domestic violence and has served on national advisory councils for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

Judge Amy Pellman is a Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court and is currently assigned to a family law trial department at the Stanley Mosk courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to her appointment as a judge in 200 , she was elected a Commissioner in July 2005. During her tenure as a lawyer, Judge Pellman was a nationally recognized advocate for children’s rights. She served as the Legal Director for the Alliance for Children’s Rights for over five years, a nonprofit legal organization devoted to providing free legal services to children living in poverty. She received the esteemed Child Advocacy Law Award in 2003 from the American Bar Association. Prior to joining the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Judge Pellman spent seven years at Dependency Court Legal Services serving a senior trial attorney and appellate counsel representing children in foster care. She has authored numerous articles on issues related to children from a training manual for new judges and lawyers to a law review article addressing the complexity of planning for children in foster care. Judge Pellman received a Juris Doctorate from City University of New York Law School, which has a commitment to train lawyers interested in public interest and public service.

William Spiller has been involved in representing children for over 15 years. He has been a frequent lecturer at continuing education programs for minor’s counsel and family law issues. He has also served as a referee for the Los Angeles Superior Court of California Juvenile Court for over ten years. A member of AFCC and the National Association of Counsel for Children, Mr. Spiller also serves as a mediator.

Kyle Pruett, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center, where he received the Lifetime Distinguished Teaching award. He has been in the private practice of infant, child and family psychiatry since 1974. As president of Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and their Families, he headed one of the nation’s most prestigious multi-disciplinary training programs for infant/family professionals. Both clinician and scholar, Dr. Pruett conducted a landmark study, which demonstrated the powerful, positive impact which early care giving by fathers can have on a young child’s social and intellectual development. Dr. Pruett’s writings include the classic The Nurturing Father, winner of the American Health Book Award, and the more current Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child and Me, Myself and I: The Child’s Sense of Self, which won the Independent Book Publisher’s Award. He makes frequent contributions to national and international print and electronic media, and television appearances, serves as consultant to Sesame Workshop, was chosen by Peter Jennings to co-host the Children’s Town Meeting on ABC News the Saturday after 9/11, and by Oprah Winfrey to co-host with her the award winning video for new parents, “Begin With Love”.

Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., is the Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at Smith College and School of Social Work. Dr. Kline Pruett has trained legal and mental health professionals throughout the country, and served as commentator on radio and television news. She has more than twenty years of clinical experience with individuals, couples, families, and children, and has been trained in both Family Therapy and Divorce Mediation. Nationally noted for her research regarding child adjustment to divorce, joint custody, school interventions, and work/family conflicts, Dr. Kline Pruett has written over 50 articles, chapters and reviews, has co-edited two books, and is the co-author of Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (2001). Her new book on co-parenting, written with her husband, will be released in September 2009. She trains lawyers, judges, and mental health professionals in family law topics related to father involvement, young children, parental conflict, and child adjustment to family transition.

Jane Shatz, Ph.D., practices in Beverly Hills, California, specializing as a custody evaluator, mediator and parenting plan coordinator. She is past president of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts California Chapter. She was an assistant professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin, a lecturer in psychology at U.S.C. She has numerous publications including Shatz, J.E. and LaViolette, A. (1998), “For Our Children: Helping Parents Help Their Kids: A 12 Week Curriculum for Never Married, Separated or Divorced Parents Where Domestic Violence Has Been an Issue.”

Lynn Rosenfield, LCSW brings 30 years of clinical social work experience, specializing in individual, couple and family therapy and the treatment of divorce issues, to her private practice in Los Angeles. She first became involved in alternative dispute resolution 25 years ago, when she developed and coordinated a divorce mediation program for Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. Since 1990, she has been a mediator with Pulling. Together Mediation Center, a partnership she shares with an attorney and a Rabbi. She specializes in divorce issues in all aspects of her work: as a psychotherapist, mediator,
collaborative law coach, reunification therapist and consultant. Lynn is an active member of LAWCDP (Los Angeles Westside Collaborative Divorce Professionals, LACFLA (Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association, IACP (International Academy of Collaborative Professionals) and the California Society for Clinical Social Work. She is an adjunct faculty member of Smith College School for Social Work. You can visit her website at http://www.lynnrosenfield.com.

Leslie Ellen Shear, J.D., CFLS.
Ms. Shear is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and admitted to the California Bar in 1976 and maintains her practice in Encino, California. A frequent lecturer in custody matters, she has been involved in a number of high-profile custody cases over the years – most recently, Marriage of LaMusga and Marriage of Seagondollar.

Dr. Simon is a forensic and clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience
as an evaluator, mediator, reviewer and litigation consultant and therapist and.
Dr. Simon’s professional work focuses exclusively on the issues of divorce and
co-parenting. He is current authoring two books on divorce – one dealing with
trial consultation and expert review in child custody litigation and the other on the
unique issues of remarriage and second divorce.

Tamar Springer, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, mediator and parent educator in private practice in Los Angeles, California. Tamar formerly trained in and worked for the Superior Court of California, in Los Angeles, as a family mediator and parent educator. Tamar works with parents and families in developing effective communication and conflict management skills, as a co-parenting counselor, and as a supportive and educational resource during the separation and divorce process. Tamar is a frequent lecturer on clinical topics to both professionals and laypersons and was a featured speaker at the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists’ (CAMFT) Annual Conference in May 2008.

Dr. Matthew Sullivan earned his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Maryland. He is currently a licensed Psychologist in private practice in Palo Alto, California providing psychological services and specializing in child forensic Psychology

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

December 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm

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  1. Let’s get honest!!! I would like to express my perspective as someone who has been hurt by the judicial system and by a minor counsel who did NOT do her job. I am talking about Mrs. Elise Greenberg. I have a numerous authentic evidences showing clearly the way minor counsel Elise Greenberg has ignored completely the best interest of my child. I would like to share only few of them, otherwise it will take a lot of space to describe all of them in details. Many of us who had been involved in the family courts are well familiar with the “Family Wizard”, the website where the parents along with the minor counsel who represents the minor have access to. As we know, the solo purpose of assigning and paying for the “Family Wizard” is to provide healthy communication between all the parties concerning the child. Mrs. E. Greenberg did not visit the website for almost a year (just before the trial), although I have informed her about the belittling and hostile e-mails written to me by the father. There is a transcript from “Family Wizard” containing the information about the dates and the time when parties visit the site for a review or correspondence. The minor counsel Mrs. Greenberg did not visit mother’s residence to meet and talk to the minor there. To the best of my knowledge she never visited the minor’s school for making her own observations. In the beginning when I was presenting myself In Pro Per, she was not returning my phone calls, not replying to my e-mails in where I have been requesting a documentation related to my son’s case. Then she appears in Court and presents herself as extremely competent and adequate for the problems and the issues of our case. I would like to ask: is there any institution that inspects this kind of minor counsels scrutinizing the poor job those attorneys have done, and most importantly the devastating results and the negative effect over the most vulnerable and innocent persons-our children?

    {{LET’s GET HONEST in-line reply: Nadia, I don’t normally approve complaints about a specific professional, but your comment about a certain minor’s counsel shows how different your experience is from the professional’s self-description, which is HERE, at “http://www.cgcustodylaw.com/AttorneyProfiles.html,” Carlson & Greenberg’s website.

    Professional Associations, AFCC is top, plus a bunch of State Bars:

    “Professional Memberships
    Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
    Beverly Hills Bar Association
    Los Angeles County Bar Association
    National Association of Counsel for Children
    San Fernando Valley Bar Association
    State Bar of California
    State Bar of Illinois
    Academy of Minor’s Counsel”

    And experience:

    Elise Greenberg has dedicated her legal career to the practice of dependency and family law. Since 1996, she has represented thousands of children in cases of divorce and other complex custody issues arising in paternity, adoption and guardianship disputes.

    {{She is getting referrals from the courts, I expect}}

    Ms. Greenberg has earned a reputation in the Family Law and the Juvenile Dependency courts as an intelligent, hard-working advocate with an acute understanding of children and children’s issues, as well as the need for competent, fair-minded minor’s counsel in custody proceedings. As a result of her expertise, Ms. Greenberg is both trusted and routinely called upon by Judges from throughout Los Angeles County to investigate, identify, and advance the best interests of children involved in the court system.

    Ms. Greenberg also has extensive experience fighting for children in extra-judicial arenas such as the L.A. Unified School District, the California Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Children & Family Services.

    Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ms. Greenberg worked on behalf of abused children, accompanying victims to emergency rooms and to interviews with law enforcement and prosecutors. She also trained students and professionals in assault and abuse prevention.

    As an attorney, Ms. Greenberg has mentored other lawyers in the ethical representation of children. She has served on committees working to normalize the lives of children in foster care, including efforts to pass legislation on their behalf. She also has been a frequent presenter at programs for dependent and delinquent youth preparing for emancipation. She proudly co-founded the Birthday Project, which raises funds from corporations and individuals to celebrate the birthdays of children in foster care.

    Ms. Greenberg remains committed to providing superior, individualized, caring legal service to Los Angeles-area children and their families

    As I found also with my court officials in this case — and mine didn’t respond to mail, long-distance psychoanalyzed me (without a single meeting) after I confronted her on not answering an alarmed email I received from my (now — and still-absent) daughter about possible kidnapping, being unable to tell me either the scope OR substance OR process of her position, assigned post-child-stealing, and in the last court hearing (thank God) we had, being unable to even translate a major point I’d won in the court (as to phone contact with my kids) into the resulting court order, resulting in confusion for all, and then retorting personally against me when I said (in essence), HEY! The Judge Said !! What’s so difficult about that?” I am QUITE sure that the court paperwork was barely read, and that her appointment was pro forma to continue the litigation. . . . . . .

    The Los Angeles Area represents the origin of the AFCC. If you don’t understand the finances behind it, you don’t understand, period. Even family law, itself, had origins, and these bear looking into.

    Your comment was the first I heard of the “family wizard” software. It’s a business, sells information & software, like other businesses, and its market is divorcing parents or “high-conflict” parents.

    Keep reading here, and also go again to NAFCJ.net for the background on this thriving, conferencing, international organization which is restructuring the legal process, at public expense many times.

    You might also want to know that when you comment on blogsites, they can look up your IP address (I just did), which shows where someone is at least commenting from. So use discretion in where you comment.

    I’m sorry about your experience, but it’s going to be typical until people decide to do something about where the finances are going in the court system.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog.
    Let’s Get Honest.”


    February 26, 2010 at 8:42 am

  2. Elisa Greenberg did nothing, absolutely nothing to protect my children. I don’t understand how she gets appointed in court. The damages that children suffers for her lack of competence is irreversible. Elise Greenberg has ignored completely the best interest of my child.


    March 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    • Just note this was a 2010 conference, anticipated on a 2009 blog. I’ve continued blogging, and if you continue reading the blog (like, top 10 posts, or see table of contents page), including about the NACC itself, some of the above questions might be answered. (that’s over four years worth of growth and learning); if you understand the basic organizations (trade associations) running the courts, you will better understand, in my opinion, whose best interests are being watched out for, and what, if anything, to do about it.

      The GALS and the JUDGES and the CUSToDY EVALUATORS may not all be AFCC, but the courts essentially are. Until that’s understood, we can continue to complain about individuals in the courts who hurt our kids (think this didn’t happen to mine, now young adults?)….. If that’s going to make a significant difference.

      The later on in this blog you read, the more relevant and “systemic” the information is going to be. I was only starting to discover these things in 2009. Read the blog! (or sidebars, or links, or etc.)

      I’m still in California. If you want to talk, say so.

      Let's Get Honest

      March 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm

  3. Thank you, Nadia, for your clear review above. We share the same experience about Elise Greenberg. My children suffered so much abuse from the step mother who is an alcoholic psychopath, that I am treating them for depression after a suicide attempt. Elise Greenberg did absolutely nothing to protect my children. Her only expertise on my case, was to make sure her bills was high enough.


    March 7, 2014 at 11:37 pm

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