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.

  Evaluating and Addressing Substance Abuse during Parenting Time and Custody Disputes

Save the Date - October 23, 2018!

U of M 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  

  1.  $70 for AFCC-MN Members
  2. $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 Evaluating and Addressing Substance during Parenting Time and custody disputes

Featuring:  Gregg Benson

AFCC-MN invites you to a half-day continuing education seminar on Evaluating and Addressing Substance Abuse during Parenting Time and Custody Disputes.

Learning Objective:

  1. Specify how to address safety and the best interest of the children while also addressing the unique needs of the substance user and the other parent. 
  2. Detail the roles and strategies attorneys, judicial officers, and other professionals may consider in addressing the substance use Issues. e.g. bringing a motion: timing, content and goals.
  3. Explain the purpose of a substance use evaluation as part of or in lieu of a custody evaluation. 
  4. Describe how, when and why to request pharmacological testing and use of forensic standards and explain testing limitations. 
  5. Describe the substance user's relationship with the substance(s) of choice how it manifests itself in the user’s discourse and behavior before and during a custody dispute, in parenting, co-parenting and post decree matter.
  6. List the effects and risks of the user's impaired function and behavior on the children's well-being, safety and best interest, the other parent, the user's parenting capacity and co-parenting capacity of each parent.


Featured Speaker: Gregg Benson, MA LCADC*, Clinician, Consultant and Trainer in Substance Use Disorder, Co-Occuring and Associated Disorders, New Jersey

Gregg was AFCC New Jersey Chapter President 2015-17, and remains on the Board.  He is also chair of AFCC-NJ Addictions Committee. He is long standing member of the Morris County, NJ Mental Health Addictions Services Advisory Board and the Morris County NJ Integrated Mental Health and Addictions Professional Advisory Board. He is also Co-Vice Chair of the NJ Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, to which he was originally appointed by Gov. Richard J. Codey. He has presented to varied professional groups including the 2018 and 2017 AFCC annual conferences, the 2014 AFCC regional conference in San Antonio TX and at the 2014 AFCC NJ Chapter conference on Addiction and Family Law. 





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 

Overcoming the Odds: Recognizing & Restoring Resilience in High Conflict Families

The 2018 AFCC-MN Annual Conference at 

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

1890 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN

July 19, 2018


Dr. Robin Deutsch

Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law

William James College and

core faculty in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program.

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 Dr. Robin Deutsch.  


Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the William James College (www.williamjames.edu/cffc).  For 25 years she was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, most recently as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology.

Dr. Deutsch is a child and family forensic psychologist, mediator, Parenting Coordinator, and is board certified in couple and family psychology.  She provides consultation and expert witness services on child and adolescent development, complex custody issues, a custody and parenting evaluations, and boundary violations and ethical issues.  She developed and teaches the Certificate in Child and Family Forensic Issues at William James College and is a founder of Overcoming Barriers, an organization that provides family-centered services for families in conflict. 

She has published extensively on issues related to attachment, alienation, co-parenting after divorce, high conflict divorce, parenting plans, and parenting coordination, and is the co-author of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway (Ballantine, 2005, 2011) and co-editor of the book Overcoming Parent-Child Contact Problems: Family-Based Interventions for Resistance, Rejection, Alienation (Oxford, 2017).  Dr. Deutsch was the co-chair of the AFCC Child Consultant Task Force.  She served on both the AFCC and APA task forces that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordination, the AFCC task force that developed Guidelines for Examining Intimate Partner Violence and appointed the AFCC task force for Court-Involved Therapists.  She is a member of the Custody and Domestic Violence Project sponsored by the Office of Violence against Women.  Dr. Deutsch is the past president of the Massachusetts chapter of AFCC, past president of the AFCC, and former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee.

Books will be available for purchase on site.



Panel Discussion:

The purpose of the panel is to discuss how some communities develop resiliency for their members.  Our thought is that the conference attendees will benefit from understanding the strengths of the Hmong, Native and African American communities and how these strengths help build resiliency for children.

Panel Members Biographies:


Angie Hirsch

Sondra Samuels

 Joe Hobot, Ed.D. 

 Pheng Thao

 Learning Objectives for Annual Training

 Articulate solution focused and trauma informed strategies to engage parents and children moving forward after high conflict divorce.  

Understand the relationship between trauma and strained parent/child relationships, articulate the influences that contribute to the strained relationships and implement trauma informed strategies to address resist/refuse relationships. 

Identify culturally specific mechanisms that build resiliency and implement community strategies to develop culturally appropriate referrals for children in high conflict families.

Understand the value of the resources of guardians ad litem and custody evaluators in family court and the need for AFCC (and other affinity groups) to advocate for more funding to make these resources more available.


Register Now!

Early Registration: $185   (through June 1)

Special Early Registration Rate for Non-Profit & Government Employees: $135   (through June 1)

Regular Registration: $215  (after June 1) 

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 


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