Sign In
  • Inside Track
    June 07, 2017

    Custody, Placement, and Safety: Here’s How to Eliminate Bias and Prioritize the Child

    How can you eliminate bias and allow for a consistent response when attorneys and guardians ad litem have varying levels of experience with the fine points of domestic abuse cases? Learn a practical approach to handling family law cases that involve domestic violence issues at the 2017 Family Law Workshop, Aug. 3-5, in Sturgeon Bay.

    June 7, 2017 – The point is to focus on the children, says Tess Meuer.

    Meuer is director of justice systems at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin in Madison – and will speak on a four-part framework for attorneys handling family law matters at the 36th Annual Family Law Workshop, Aug. 3-5 in Sturgeon Bay, sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin Family Law Section.

    The first part of the framework involves applying a screening tool to ensure consistency and to account for any lack of training in the dynamics of domestic abuse for the attorneys handling the case. Another component of the framework will help the practitioner learn to understand the nature of abuse, including coercive control as a form of abuse.

    The point of the framework is to eliminate bias and allow for a consistent response. “It’s important to use the best interest factors to keep the focus on the child, not on the rights of each parent,” said Meuer.

    Tess Meuer

    Tess Meuer, director of justice systems at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, will discuss custody, placement, and safety issues in domestic abuse cases.

    Learn more about this framework from a team of presenters, including Meuer, in an in-depth, four-hour presentation and panel discussion.

    “This is the first time we’ve done this depth of programming, so we’re excited about it,” said Lynn Galbraith-Wilson, co-chair of the workshop’s planning committee.

    Family Law is Changing – Find Out More at the 2017 Family Law Workshop

    At the workshop, learn how family law is changing with sessions on the details of neutral drafting, immigration and divorce, and the view from the bench from three family court commissioners.

    “Family law is changing – few cases now have traditional lawyer representation,” said Susan Hansen of Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C., Milwaukee. Hansen will give tips on neutral drafting as well as discuss ethical concerns in a presentation Saturday with Judge Michael Dwyer of Milwaukee County Circuit Court. “Drafting as a neutral mediator requires more than just changing legal templates,” Hansen said.

    The workshop begins Thursday with sessions and a panel discussion, “Daubert and Mental Health Testimony: A Practical Approach,” with speaker Dr. John Zervopoulos of PsychologyLaw Partners in Dallas, a board-certified forensic psychologist and lawyer who specializes in helping lawyers understand, critique, and use psychological materials and evidence in their cases.

    Zervopoulous will discuss how to best analyze the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. for use in Wisconsin courts. “It should be a great panel discussion,” Galbraith-Wilson said.

    On Friday the CLE program is split into two tracks. Learn about the nuts and bolts of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) in the Family Law 101 track. Family Law 201 includes Meuer’s introduction to the four-part framework for guardians ad litem and family law practitioners.

    Anna Loess

    “For me, the workshop has always provided high-quality, diverse programming,” says Anna Loess, co-chair of the Family Law Workshop’s planning committee

    The workshop is valuable for all family law attorneys in Wisconsin, says Anna Loess, co-chair of the workshop’s planning committee. Loess attended the workshop for four years before becoming involved with organizing it – and will attend her eighth workshop this year. “For me, the workshop has always provided high-quality, diverse programming,” she said. “I often refer to workshop materials in connection with various cases that I handle.”

    Of equal value is the opportunity to network, with lawyers statewide attending, said Loess.

    Special Events

    Join colleagues and friends at the complimentary patio cocktail reception on Thursday evening, and on Friday attend the Peninsula Players production of “The Bridges of Madison County.” And relax and enjoy time with your friends and family on the waterfront.

    Programming is in the morning only Friday and Saturday, with time free in the afternoons to explore the area.

    “It’s a great event for attorneys and their families – there is a lot to do around Sturgeon Bay,” Galbraith-Wilson said.

    Reserve Your Room Before July 3 for Best Rate

    The Workshop is held at the Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay, in Door County.

    Register before July 3 for the special rate of $119 per night on selected rooms for attendees. The rate will be honored for attendees two days before group arrival and two days after group departure, based on availability.

    To receive the special room rate, contact Stone Harbor directly at (877) 746-0700, and mention that you are part of a group room block under the State Bar of Wisconsin – Family Law Section.

    Four Ways to Register

    Program tuition is $205 for members of the Family Law Section and $280 for nonmembers. Section members attending for the first time pay a reduced tuition of $180.

    Choose one of for ways to register:

    • Register online.
    • Call the State Bar of Wisconsin at (800) 728-7788.
    • Download the registration form and mail it to:
      State Bar of Wisconsin, Family Law Workshop, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158

    · Fax your completed registration form to (608) 257-5502

Join the conversation! Log in to leave a comment.

News & Pubs Search

Format: MM/DD/YYYY