Past AFCC-Minnesota Events

A summary of past events hosted by the Minnesota Chapter of AFCC.

For more information on past AFCC Conferences sponsored by the parent organization, click here.

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Hennepin County Family Justice Center  - Room 172

110 South 4th Street, Minneapolis

May 16, 2018


Splitting the PEA:

Minnesota's New Parenting Expense Adjustment


Join us for an hour-long panel discussion on the topic of Minnesota's New Parenting Expense Adjustment.


This discussion is co-sponsored by FLL. 


The objective of this session is as follows:

The attendees will learn about the new parenting expense adjustment statute, effective August 1, 2018, and how it will affect the calculation of child support moving forward.


Our distinguished speaker is:

Tara Borton, Staff Attorney, Child Support Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services.


An application for CLE credit has been submitted.

AFCC-MN members register for free!

$15 for non-members


Click Here to Register 

7:00 - 10:00 PM

Garagery at the Fulton Taproom
414 6th Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Annual Holiday Event

Co-Sponsored with Family Law League

Friday, December 8th
7:00-10:00 p.m.

A drink ticket and light snacks will be provided.

If you have a team, please determine a team name and use it when you RSVP so we can track the teams.

AFCC-MN & FLL will donate $500, in the winning team's name, to the charity of their choice.

There is limited space, so RSVP early!

RSVP link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScqIw8qsGN-BNgDBoa2FfgbdxfVjpjZtBZd18U4RwQYUSsgsA/viewform?usp=sf_link



Tactics of Coercive Control in Couples

12:00 - 1:00 PM
Hennepin County Family Justice Center
110 S 4th Street
Minneapolis, MN

Coercive control is a strategy some people use to dominate their intimate partners. It limits the abilities of victims to break free, assert their autonomy, and cooperate with authorities. Coercive control can occur with or without physical violence. While coercive control is not yet against the law in the U.S., it is increasingly appearing in courtrooms in cases including domestic violence and homicide, contested custody, protective orders, immigration and various criminal matters. In the U.K., over 200 men have been convicted of the crime of coercive control in the past 18 months.
Common tactics include: Isolation, Degradation, Sexual coercion, Coerced criminal activity, Cyberharassment, Physical Abuse, Threats, Stalking
Lisa Aronson Fontes, Ph.D., dedicates her career to making the mental health, social service, and criminal justice systems more responsive to culturally diverse people. She is the author of the books: Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures, and Child Abuse and Culture, as well as numerous journal articles and chapters. Currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, she has worked as a psychotherapist, and has conducted research with diverse people in the United States and Latin America. Dr. Fontes is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. She is a popular conference speaker and workshop facilitator. See her blog: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/invisible-chains

Register via the link:  Lunch & Learn Sept 14

Free for AFCC-MN Members
$15 for non-members

Payable by check or cash at the meeting.

Bring your own lunch and/or beverage.


When "Just Get Over It!" Isn't Enough:

Addressing Implicit Bias and Moving Towards a Trauma-Responsive Justice System


U of M Continuing Education and Conference Center

July 20, 2017 

Check-in & Breakfast:                     7:45 AM - 8:30 AM

Welcome & Annual Meeting:           8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Conference Program:                      9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Cocktail Reception:                         4:30 PM - 6:30 PM


Our featured speaker for this year's annual conference is Shawn C. Marsh, Ph.D. Dr. Marsh is the Director of Judicial Studies and Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Social Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is a social psychologist with research and teaching interests in the areas of psychology and the law, bias and decision-making, adolescent development, trauma, resiliency, and juvenile justice.

Dr. Marsh is the former Chief Program Officer for Juvenile Law at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) where he taught and provided technical assistance on topics such as implicit bias and trauma-responsive justice, and oversaw myriad national projects focused on child welfare, juvenile justice, judicial decision-making, school engagement, and trauma/victimization. His background also includes working with youth in detention and correction settings as an educator and mental health clinician, and he is a licensed school counselor, professional counselor, and clinical professional counselor.

Dr. Marsh has served on numerous national advisory committees, including the U.S. National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Task Force, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control STRYVE Youth Violence Prevention Council, the U.S. Office of Victims of Crime Coordinating Systems of Care Steering Committee, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, and the National Training Team for Racial & Ethnic Fairness in the Courts coordinated by the National Center for State Courts.

The AFCC-MN Annual Conference Committee would like to recommend two opportunities for conference registrants to prepare for this year's topic:

1. Attend one of the free AFCC-MN screenings of Resilience to be held from 12:00 - 1:00 pm on June 21 at the Ramsey County Courthouse and June 22 at the Hennepin County Family Justice Center.  

2. Take an online implicit bias test through the Harvard
Project Implicit website. (click on underlined text for link)

Learning Objectives for this year's conference include:

(1) Define social cognition
(2) Differentiate between implicit and explicit cognitive processes
(3) List two advantages and two disadvantages to automatic cognitive processing
(4) List three strategies for limiting the influence of implicit bias on decisions

(1) Explain the difference between acute, chronic, and complex trauma
(2) List three key features of traumatic stress reactions (PTSD)
(3) List three conditions that can promote healing from trauma
(4) Describe the role the court/justice system can play in a larger community of healing


Register Now!

Early Registration: $185   (through June 27)

Regular Registration: $215  (after June 27) 

When Just Get Over It Isn't Enough:

Addressing Implicit Bias and Moving Toward a Trauma-Responsive Justice System

Save the date! Please join us on Thursday, July 20

for the 2017 AFCC-MN Annual Conference at 

the U of M Continuing Education & Conference Center in St. Paul, MN. 


Shawn C. Marsh, Ph.D.

Director of Judicial Studies

Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Social Psychology

University of Nevada, Reno

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Ramsey County Courthouse  - Room 42

15 West Kellogg Blvd

St. Paul, MN

Best Practices for Applying the AFCC’s Guidelines for Examining Intimate Partner Violence in Child Custody Evaluations

Save the date! Please join us April 27, 2017 at the Ramsey County Courthouse for a Lunch & Learn 


Nancy Ver Steegh of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law

and a panel of experts including Karen Irvin, PhD, LMFT, Referee Jim Street (Second Judicial District), and Victoria Brenner (Attorney at Collins Buckley and President-elect of AFCC-MN)


Register Now! 

Wise Counsel: Strengthening the working relationship between family law attorneys and mental health providers 



Due to requests from multiple stakeholders, this event is being postponed until a future date

  Continuing Education and Conference Center

1890 Buford Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55108 

Room 42

Continental Breakfast: 8:00 am – 8:30 am

Program: 8:30 am  12:00 pm  

 $70 for AFCC-MN Members

$140 for Non-Members 


 AFCC-MN is applying for 3 hours of continuing education credit for this event.

 Click Here to Register

AFCC-MN is hosting a half-day continuing education seminar on Wise Counsel: Strengthening the working relationship between family law attorneys and mental health providers

Featuring: Dr. Kent Kodalen and a panel of experts

In this half-day workshop designed for all ADR professionals, Dr. Kodalen will explore this working relationship through a combination of didactic presentation, lively audience participation/discussion, and a Q&A session with a diverse panel of experts from the mental health field. 

Participants will learn:

1. Types of mental health providers, their training, their background, and how to determine their area(s) of expertise

2. Types of psychological interventions (i.e., evaluations/assessments/therapy), when they are appropriate, and how they are likely to help your client 

3.  Effective communication strategies to clarify roles, establish expectations, and shape the final work product

4. The impact of differences in professional standards, theoretical orientation, ethical considerations, and desired outcomes on your client, the family, and the professional working relationship

Featured Speaker:

Dr. Kent Kodalen

Dr. Kent Kodalen 

Dr. Kodalen is a doctoral level clinical psychologist with broad training in life-span development, brain-body relationships, mindfulness-based interventions, individual and family systems assessment, parenting skills, adolescent identity formation, severe emotional/behavioral regulation problems, learning difficulties, and high conflict family interventions.   Dr. Kodalen trained as a clinical psychologist who earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (specialization in Neuropsychology) from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada​.  He is a licensed psychologist (#5742) in the State of Minnesota since 2011, a qualified neutral under rule 114 in Minnesota which allows him to provide court-related alternative dispute resolution services for children, adolescents, and families.  https://www.drkentkodalen.com/





A special film screening hosted by AFCC-MN with generous support from AAML - Minnesota Chapter:  


The Woman's Club of Minneapolis

410 Oak Grove Street

 Minneapolis, MN 55403 

Lower Level Theater

 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Reception followed by the film and facilitated discussion



$20 for AFCC-MN Members

$35 for Non-Members*

Free for Students (with valid Student ID)

*New members who join at the screening will receive the AFCC-MN Member rate.  

 Join us for a special screening of the documentary film, Resilience:  The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope

Resilience chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease.


“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”

The original research was controversial, but the findings revealed the most important public health findings of a generation. Resilience is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent TOXIC STRESS. Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression, extremely stressful experiences in childhood can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

When it was controversial to even think of asking patients about taboo subjects, the ACE Study dared to ask questions like, Were you sexually abused as a child? Did you have a parent who was an alcoholic? The answers produced a public health revelation. For the first time, adverse childhood experiences were conclusively linked to both physical and mental health problems later in life. Understanding that a child who experiences toxic stress is more likely to suffer from illnesses as an adult has professionals of all kinds asking, How can we help children before their physical and mental health problems emerge as adults?  

As experts and practitioners profiled in Resilience are proving, what’s predictable is preventable. These physicians, educators, social workers and communities are daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse and neglect. And they’re using cutting edge science to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease.

The significance of adverse childhood experiences has also garnered the attention of federal lawmakers. Minnesota Senator Al Franken, along with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Senator Dick Durbin (IL), has introduced the Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act (S. 3519) in the final weeks of the 114th Congress. For more information on the nature of the bill, please click here.  

Event Moderator:

Mindy Mitnick, EdM, MA, will join us to introduce the film and facilitate a discussion after the screening about ways the family law process, and we as practitioners in our respective fields, can better support children and their parents who are experiencing significant conflict and trauma.

When, Where & What:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis

410 Oak Grove Street

Minneapolis, MN 55403

Lower Level Theater

Additional parking is available at the Episcopal Diocese parking lot at 1730 Clifton Place, about 1 block from The Woman's Club.  


5:00 pm – 5:45   Registration and Reception*, 

5:45 pm – 6:00   Introduction – Mindy Mitnick

6:00 pm – 7:00   Film Screening of Resilience

7:00 pm – 7:45   Facilitated Discussion

7:45 pm – 8:00   Wrap Up

*Appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available. 


AFCC-MN is applying for 2 hours of continuing legal education credit for this event. Event Code: 234853 


Alternative Dispute Resolution Ethics Board—We’re here to help….REALLY! 


 Continuing Education and Conference Center

1890 Buford Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55108 

Room 155

Continental Breakfast: 8:00 am – 8:30 am

Program: 8:30 am  12:30 pm  


$70 for AFCC-MN Members

$140 for Non-Members


 AFCC-MN is applying for 3 hours of continuing education credit for this event.

 Click Here to Register

AFCC-MN is hosting a half-day continuing education seminar on Alternative Dispute Resolution Ethics Board—We’re here to help….REALLY!

Featuring: Karen Irvin, Mike Black, Referee Richard Stebbins

This panel of representatives of the ADR Ethics Board will delve into best practices for mediators, parenting consultants, parenting time expeditors, and arbitrators.  They will discuss common complaints received by the board in each of these areas and recommendations for avoiding complaints.  They will review the complaint process and  how ADR professionals should respond to complaints.  They will also present a model for ethical decision making.  The presentations and discussions will emphasize revisions to Rule 114 that have been submitted by the ADR Board to the State Supreme Court for approval. 

Participants will learn:

1. Distinguish between ethical and unethical practice in PC, PTE, Mediation, and Arbitration practice in Minnesota.

2. Recognize and avoid the most common ethical violations in each practice area.

3. Locate resources for guidance in creating appointing orders and fee agreements.

4. Create and apply a model for ethical decision making.

5. Create a credible response to an ADR Board complaint.

 ADR Checklist

Featured Speakers:

Karen Irvin:

Karen received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, majoring in secondary education.  After teaching at the secondary level for six years, she obtained her master’s and doctorate in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota.  She worked with Hennepin County Court Services Domestic Relations Division in Minneapolis, MN for six years, serving as a mediator, counselor, and custody evaluator, and working in a supervisory capacity for four of the six years.  Dr. Irvin has been in private practice as the owner and director of Minnesota Mediation & Counseling Center since 1981.  She recently retired from her clinical practice in which she specialized in working with separating and divorcing individuals, couples, and families, providing mediation, parenting consulting, custody evaluations, and closure therapy.  She has also provided mediation and parenting consulting workshops and training throughout the United States and internationally.  Dr. Irvin was on the marriage and family therapy faculty of Argosy University for six years and is currently adjunct faculty in the Marriage and Family Program of  St. Mary’s University.     She presently serves as Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Ethics Board.  Dr. Irvin’s current professional focus is teaching, training, and consultation.

Mike Black:

Mike has been practicing law in St. Paul as a sole practitioner since 1978, concentrating in family law. He is a 1975 graduate of St. John’s University and obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1978. Beginning in 2016, Mike has devoted his entire practice to alternative dispute resolution services, acting as a mediator, arbitrator, FENE neutral,SENE neutral and parenting consultant. He has been on the court of appeals family mediation panel since September 2008. Mike is currently a member of the ADR Ethics Board and the Second District Ethics Committee.

Richard Stebbins: 

Richard has worked as a family court referee in Hennepin County since January 2013.  Prior to that he practiced primarily in the area of family law for about 20 years, most recently with Collins, Buckley, Sauntry and Haugh in St. Paul.  He is a member of the State ADR Ethics Board, the State Early Case Management/ENE Committee, the AFCC Board of Directors and has recently served on the State Legislative Commission on Surrogacy.



Overnights for Young Children: Parenting Plans that Grow with the Child 


Continuing Education and Conference Center

1890 Buford Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55108 

Room 42

Continental Breakfast: 8:00 am – 8:30 am

Program: 8:30 am  12:00 pm  


$70 for AFCC-MN Members

$140 for Non-Members


 AFCC-MN is applying for 3 hours of continuing education credit for this event.

AFCC-MN is hosting a half-day continuing education seminar on overnights for young children. Featuring Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, this presentation combines practical clinical experience and the latest empirical information to illuminate what we know and to distinguish it from what we wish we knew about young children and overnights. The talk will focus on young children’s developmental tasks and hallmarks, developmental risks relevant to separation and divorce, red flags for child stress, and tips for co-parenting. A grid, developed collaboratively by researcher-clinicians, offers a way of integrating what we know about young children and families into parenting plans that stimulate and protect early child growth and development.  

Participants will learn:

*About how attachment and parenting involvement can co-exist as bases for making parenting plan decisions 

*How to understand what we know about young children and overnights and how to distinguish it from what we wish we knew

*How to use a decision making grid based on child development research to ask relevant questions and make decisions about overnights for children under age 4 

Featured Speaker:

Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., is the Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. She has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in couples counseling and co-parenting consultation, legal case development for attorneys, mediation, and intervention design and evaluation. She has a national and international reputation for the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions in courts and family-focused community agencies and has published numerous articles, books, and curricula on topics pertaining to couple relationships before and after divorce, young children and overnights, and child outcomes. She has written extensively for academic and lay audiences, coauthoring Your Divorce Advisor (2001) and Partnership Parenting (2009). She is a member of the board of editors of the Family Court Review and she was awarded the AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award in 2004. The California Supporting Fatherhood Involvement (SFI) project is a major focus of her current intervention and research efforts, and she is currently the President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).    

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