Happy New Year from mdg Custody Litigation Consulting
Welcome to 2020! A new decade, with new opportunities! Scroll down to learn why Not Your Everyday Custody Case, Barcelona Legal Exchange CLE and Networking, and the First Annual Family Law and Mental Health Forum are my top four picks for the best continuing legal eduation opportunities for Georgia family law and custody attorneys to look forward to in 2020!
UPDATE: Postponed due to technical issues. New date TBA. Defending the Rights of Parents with Disabilities in Custody and Visitation Determinations, September 23, 2020, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT – Strafford Live CLE Webinar
Presented by M. Debra Gold and Georgia Lord
Continuing Legal Education Credit available
Register using this link for a 50% Discount
Parents with physical disabilities often face unique obstacles in getting and retaining custody of, or even visitation with their children due to stereotypes and ill-founded assumptions about their parenting abilities.
In making custody and parenting time decisions, the court applies the best interests of the child standard. When one of the litigants has a physical disability, however, the Americans with Disabilities Act should also come into play. Many family court judges and lawyers are unaware of the importance of applying the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act in these cases, both to avoid unlawful discrimination against parents with disabilities, and to reach more accurate, better-informed determinations as to the best interests of the children. Ensuring that all parents have equal access to parenting opportunities and fair treatment in family courts promotes the best interests of the children.
Competent representation requires building an understanding of the client’s disability and how the client and children have adapted and managed. The focus should be on effectively demonstrating how the court should weigh the parent’s capabilities against their limitations – and consider them in the context of the other party’s capabilities and limitations.
Attorneys must be able to ensure that custody and visitation decisions are based on objective evidence and are appropriately tailored to the unique needs of the family. Counsel must recognize and counter stereotypes, assumptions, and biases about parents with disabilities.
Georgia and I will discuss what family law attorneys need to know when representing clients with physical disabilities in custody and parenting time disputes. Parents with mobility, sensory, and other physical disabilities face a host of problems in family courts, all too often rooted in implicit biases and unsubstantiated assumptions about their fitness and ability to parent. Counsel are often unaware of the supportive services, and equipment that may facilitate their client’s parenting abilities. The panel will discuss these, and other important considerations and strategies to avoid being blindsided by a custody decision maker’s unfair and unsupported broad leaps to conclusions.
We will review these and other key issues:
- How can counsel best confront and undermine bias about the fitness of parents with disabilities?
- What strategies may be helpful in presenting the client’s custody case?
- How should a parent’s disability weigh into custody and visitation decisions?
- How can attorneys prepare their client’s custody case (and their client) for trial?
- What should or should not be included in the final orders?
- What steps should counsel take to check themselves for bias about a client’s disability, and better inform themselves regarding their client’s capabilities?
After our presentations, we will engage in a live question and answer session with participants so we can answer your questions about these important issues directly.
Please join us. Register through this link, and receive a 50% discount!
- Not Your Everyday Custody Case, Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Atlanta, Georgia.
2020 will be the 5th annual NYECC seminar. This CLE, designed to address some of the more advanced issues in custody litigation, has become a favorite for family law practitioners and guardians ad litem. Some of the topics covered in the 2020 program include Georgia’s new Equitable Caregiver Statute, childhood trauma in custody cases, cross-examining the guardian ad litem, and the different types of evaluations performed by mental health experts. I will present on dealing with pro se litigants in custody cases. And, this year will be extra special, as the judge’s panel will be comprised of judges from the Georgia Court of Appeals.
- Barcelona/Georgia Exchange CLE and Networking, October 16-22, 2020, Barcelona Spain
POSTPONED TO 2021.
More than just a CLE. It’s a Continuing Legal Experience!
The Illustre Collegi d’Advocats de Barcelona (ICAB), the Barcelona Spain Bar Association, will host Georgia family law and custody attorneys for a joint continuing legal education and networking program with Barcelona attorneys. We have lined up an impressive roster of speakers to present in tandem with Barcelona attorneys and family law professionals on the similarities and differences of custody and matrimonial law in the respective jurisdictions. The program will include exchanges of ideas, networking and cultural activities with Barcelona attorneys. The three half-day CLE program (plus two optional days) will end with a mock Hague Convention custody case between Spain and Georgia. We will also offer optional tours, excursions and other activities in and around Barcelona. So, pack your bags, and join us for this exciting opportunity!
Stay tuned for more developments. The full agenda will be announced shortly. In the meantime, check out my blog about my visit to ICAB, with photos of the beautiful Bar facilities, and the historic Law Library with centuries-old books!
Space will be limited for this amazing program. Please contact me to place your name on the list to be the first to know all of the details.
- First Annual Family Law and Mental Health Forum, September 18, 2020. Lawrenceville, Georgia.
POSTPONED to March 26, 2021
Sponsored by the Center for Navigating Family Change, and the Gwinnett County Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, this program will bring together family law professionals, including attorneys, guardians ad litem, therapists, evaluators and mediators, to cross-educate in the different disciplines. There will be at least ten workshops from which you can choose to participate. And a judge’s panel will also give a view from the bench. The goal is to work together across the different disciplines, in a more effective and efficient way for our clients. Learning together is such a great way to make that happen!