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Domestic Abuse for GALs: A Four-Step Framework

Product ID: CM2652
Presented By: State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE

Understand what you see

Research shows that abuse often goes undetected in disputed child custody situations. When it is detected, practitioners many times don’t include recommendations for the safety of those involved. This has vast implications for both children and parents.

Domestic Abuse for GALs: A Four-Step Framework provides a systematic process for evaluating a family’s situation and developing appropriate recommendations for the court.

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Member $49.00

Non-Member $99.00

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Understand what you see

Research shows that abuse often goes undetected in disputed child custody situations. When it is detected, practitioners many times don’t include recommendations for the safety of those involved. This has vast implications for both children and parents.

Domestic Abuse for GALs: A Four-Step Framework provides a systematic process for evaluating a family’s situation and developing appropriate recommendations for the court.

Read More ↓

Program Chair and Presenter

Teresa (Tess) Meuer
End Domestic Abuse WI
Madison

Presenters

Meghan E. Healy
Di Renzo & Bomier LLC
Neenah

Christine R. H. Olsen
Olsen Law Office
Wausau

Gricel Santiago-Rivera
RISE Law Center
Madison

Elizabeth F. Schuster
Schuster Family Law LLC
Madison

8:00 a.m. : Registration

8:30 a.m. : Overview of National Project and Research

  • Role of evaluator’s beliefs, assumptions, biases in making recommendations
  • Role of mother’s demeanor in informing present-day recommendations
  • Role of evaluator’s knowledge about domestic violence

Tess Meuer

9:00 a.m. : Is Abuse an Issue? Identifying Domestic Abuse

  • Brief history of Wisconsin Domestic Violence Law
  • Potential consequences for victims disclosing abuse
  • Screening protocols – what makes for a good protocol?
  • The initial screening – looking for red flags
  • Use of the interview to reveal signs of physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or coercive controlling abuse

Meghan E. Healy, Tess Meuer, Christine R. H. Olsen

9:50 a.m. : Break

10:05 a.m. : What’s actually going on? Defining the Nature and Context of Abuse

  • Not all domestic abuse is the same
  • Importance of asking the right questions to flush out abuse
  • Documenting and reviewing red flags
  • Examining ALL forms of abuse, per law
  • Overview of coercive control
  • Understanding potency, pattern, primary perpetrator, parenting problems, and perspectives of the child
  • Impact of abuse on parenting

Tess Meuer, Gricel Santiago-Rivera, Elizabeth F. Schuster

11:00 a.m. : What does it mean? Evaluating the Implications of Abuse

  • Determining how an abusive person parents
  • How do the children experience and react to the abuse
  • What is the impact of the abuse on the children
  • Can co-parenting be achieved? How?

Tess Meuer

12:05 p.m. : Lunch (on your own)

1:05 p.m. : Accounting for Abuse in Recommendations to the Court

  • Distinction between ‘divvying things up” and “making things work”
  • Priorities of recommendations in accounting for abuse
  • Recommending safety for the children

All faculty

1:55 p.m. : Ethical Issues in Obtaining or Presenting the Best Interest of the Child

  • Obligation and responsibility when the GAL does not believe parent(s)’ desires are in best interest of child
  • Duty to control the process
  • Confidentiality concerns when a victim does not wish information such as health or medical records to be revealed to court
  • Does duty to protect best interest of child extend to duty to protect parent who is a victim?
  • Addressing nonspecific orders such as “reasonable notice” when there is known domestic abuse

All faculty

2:45 p.m. : Break

3:00 p.m. : Ethical Considerations when GAL Recommendations are at Odds with Parties or the Court

  • Obligation when the best interest of child is in conflict with the agreement parents wish to present to court
  • Is there an ethical obligation to interview the child? At what age? How might evidence of impact on children be obtained without an interview?
  • How does a GAL get evidence of impact on child(ren) if not interviewing them?
  • Duty to litigate or force a deal when Court does not agree with GAL recommendations
  • Responsibility to address safety concerns for both child(ren) and nonabusive parent
  • Issues with interim authority

All faculty

3:50 p.m. : Program Concludes

  • Discover how to detect, understand, and account for domestic violence in final recommendations
  • Review up-to-date research regarding the role of beliefs, assumptions, and biases in custody recommendations
  • Learn a systematic, behaviorally-specific method of screening and assessing for abuse
  • Know how to apply best interest factors if abuse is present
  • Develop parenting recommendations that account for the context and implications of abuse
  • Identify and avoid ethical pitfalls while investigating and making recommendations
  • Guardians ad litem for minors
  • Family Law Section members
  • Children and the Law Section members
  • Any attorney interested in learning more about domestic violence
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