AFCC-CA 2010 Annual Converence

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Presenter Bios

(Alphabetical order)

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
California Chapter Annual Conference
WHEN CIVILITY BREAKS DOWN: Consequences and Solutions
  for Families and Professionals
February 22-24, 2019


Stephanie M. Barnett, JD, CFLS:  variety of domestic matters, including divorce, parentage and custody. She is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Prior to forming Shebby | Barnett LLP, Stephanie was a Partner of Jaffe and Clemens, where she practiced for 13 years. Prior to 2005, Stephanie worked a law clerk for the Family Law Department of the Los Angeles Superior Court, where she concurrently supported five family law judges and court commissioners.


Angela Bissada, Psy.D. :  Angela Bissada, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents and families. She earned her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1995 with a Child-Family Clinical emphasis. The topic of her doctoral project was divorce. Dr. Bissada completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and once licensed, was hired on to develop a treatment program serving children and families who had experienced trauma. She created Project Heal and continued her work as director of this program for five years. For the last 18 years, Dr. Bissada has been in private practice working with children, teens and families. In addition to her trauma specialty, Dr. Bissada has expertise in developmental disabilities, depression, anxiety, AD/HD, sexualized behaviors, as well as working with the children and families of divorce, specifically in the area of High-Conflict including collaboration with the legal system. Dr. Bissada has spoken as an expert on the topic of high-conflict divorce for the video program, “The Divorce Project” and has also made several professional presentations on this important topic. She is also a board member of the California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children as well as a member of the Collaborative Practice group, Family Divorce Solutions of San Fernando Valley.


Gitu Bhatia, Psy.D.:  Dr. Bhatia is a psychologist in private practice with an extensive experience working with individuals, couples and families to overcome a range of psychological and emotional issues. She provides psychotherapy, parent training, and professional consultation for family law attorneys. She specializes in working with families going through divorce and separation, and as a co-parenting educator for high conflict families. In addition to her private practice, she is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate School of Psychology at Pepperdine University. She enjoys teaching and has conducted trainings and provides consultation for therapists, teachers, and parents on several subjects related to human development.


Linda Bortell, Psy.D:  Dr. Linda Bortell is a clinical psychologist in private practice in South Pasadena. She specializes in treating child trauma victims, co-parenting, families and high conflict divorce. She serves as a Parent Coordinator. She, along with another psychologist, developed divorceworks, an app for iphones and android that helps people get through divorce. She is a past chair of the PAC Board of Trustees and is a past president of the Los Angeles County Psych Association, the San Gabriel Valley Psych Association, and the Wright Institute Alumni Association.


Penny Clemmons, Ph.D., JD, CFLS :Penny Clemmons has been licensed as a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, has practiced law for 24 years, is certified as a specialist in family law by the State Bar of California, and specializes in mediating complex custody cases in Santa Barbara, California. In addition, she teaches at the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law. For the past 18 years she has served as a Voluntary Settlement Master for the Santa Barbara Superior Court and was honored in last year with the J. William McLafferty Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award.


Kenneth Cloke, JD, LLM, Ph.D.:Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Center of Dispute Resolution, and a mediator, arbitrator, consultant, and trainer, specializing in resolving multiparty conflicts and designing dispute resolution system for organizations. He is the author of numerous books on conflict resolution, including Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy: How to Discuss Race, Abortion, Immigration, Gun Control, Climate Change, Same Sex Marriage and Other Hot Topics. He holds BA and JD degrees from UC Berkeley, and Ph.D. and LLM degrees from University of California, Los Angeles. He did post-doctoral work at Yale and teaches at Pepperdine University, Southern Methodist University, Saybrook University and the University of Southern California.


Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP :  Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP. is the founder of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the William James College ( Dr. Deutsch is a child and family forensic psychologist, mediator, parenting coordinator, and consultant. She is board certified in couple and family psychology. She is the past president of the Massachusetts Chapter of AFCC, past president of AFCC international, former Chair of the APA Ethics Committee, and a founder of Overcoming Barriers. Dr. Deutsch 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, 2016).


Leslie Drozd, Ph.D. :  Leslie Drozd, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist with a practice in forensic and clinical psychology in Newport Beach, CA. She has served as the editor of the International Journal of Child Custody, as a reviewer on the editorial board of AFCC’s Family Court Review, as coeditor of two Oxford University Press editions (2012 & 2016) of Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for Family Court, as a coauthor of Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations: Using Decision Trees to Increase Evaluator Competence & Avoid Preventable Errors (Professional Resources Press, 2013), and as a member of the board of directors of AFCC-CA as well as AFCC international, and Overcoming Barriers. She has been a child custody evaluator for over 29 years. The emphasis of her clinical work is with families with resist-refuse dynamics.


Kendall Evans, JD :  Kendall L. Evans is an attorney who works with family law litigants to represent them through the divorce and separation process. Her practice is in Long Beach, California. A substantial portion of her practice is complex custody and domestic violence matters. Ms. Evans believes in law as a helping profession and views the role of a divorce attorney as helping both the parties (and their children) transition to a more positive situation. She graduated from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in 2000, and has limited her practice to family law since 2006. Ms. Evans completed significant post-graduate education in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution and is a trained mediator. She is an active participant in several family law organizations, including AFCC-CA and the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.


Hon. Tara M. Flanagan :  Judge Tara M. Flanagan joined the Alameda County Superior Court in January of 2013. After two years in Family Law, she now sits in the Criminal Division. Her extra-judicial duties include serving on the boards of the Alameda County Bar Association’s Diversity and Pro Bono committees and the International Association of LGBT Judges. Previously, Judge Flanagan was a Los Angeles County prosecutor and a Legal Aid attorney. She was a sought-out speaker about LGBT domestic violence. She has also worked on the boards of many domestic violence, LGBT, and women lawyers’ organizations. A retired international athlete, Judge Flanagan now enjoys cycling. 


Bobette Fleishman, JD, MFT:  Bobette Fleishman, J.D., M.F.T., has been a family law attorney for 42 years. She is also a Certified Family Law Specialist (State Bar of California). In 2011, Bobette returned to school at Pepperdine University to earn a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology (Class of 2013). She completed a 3-year internship and then became licensed as a MFT in June 2016. Bobette continues to practice law but is working toward her goal of becoming a child custody evaluator by completing her first four evaluations under the mentorship of Mary Lund, Ph.D. with whom she continues to consult for additional training.


lene Fletcher, Prof. Custody Monitor :  Ilene is the owner of Family Visitation Services Inc., which has been involved in supervised visitation for more than 1,000 child visitation cases. Ilene and her staff monitor contact between minor children and their non-custodial parents/guardians. Ilene has more than 20 years’ experience providing multiple types of in-home family services, supervised visitation and monitoring services to families. She previously worked in a family-owned, 24-hour child care center and has provided emergency in-home care for families in crisis. Ilene has provided professional monitoring for an array of high-conflict situations, including gatekeeping, drug/alcohol abuse, molestation, domestic violence, and neglect.


Anne Cochran Freeman, JD, CFLS :  Anne Cochran Freeman, Esq., is an owner of Sideman & Bancroft, LLP, and partner in the firm’s Family Law Group, specializing in high conflict, high net worth dissolution cases. She is certified by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), and she was recognized in the 2018 Super Lawyers Northern California list, and on the Northern California Rising Star lists from 2015-2017. Anne’s practice focuses on resolving complex financial issues, high conflict child custody issues, and intensely personal family law matters. Anne represents clients in both private adjudication and in public courts throughout the Bay Area: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Marin Counties. She has successfully litigated family law cases for high net worth individuals, including complex separate property claims, stock option characterization and apportionment, high income issues in both child support and spousal support disputes, and complex child custody disputes and litigation.

Prior to joining Sideman & Bancroft, Anne practiced family law at Whiting, Fallon, Ross & Abel LLP in Walnut Creek, California, serving clients in Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Francisco Counties. Before becoming an attorney, Anne was a business management consultant, providing leadership and organizational development consulting for Fortune 500 companies.

A child of the U.S. Foreign Service, Anne was born on Okinawa, Japan, and was raised in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan; Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Washington, D.C.


Steven Friedlander, Ph.D. :  Steven Friedlander, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, licensed in California, in private practice with offices in Marin and San Francisco Counties. His practice includes psychotherapy and psychological testing with children, adolescents and adults; consultation to other professionals; parent consultation and co-parent counseling; mediation; child custody evaluations; and special master/parent coordination in high conflict post-divorce cases. He has extensive experience working with families and children of divorce in both clinical and forensic roles. He has special expertise working with families when a child is refusing or resisting contact with a parent. His most recent publications have focused on post-divorce disruption of family relationships, and interventions designed to resolve those problems. He has presented his work at local, state and national conferences. He also consults to attorneys and other professionals, as well as divorcing parents in child custody matters. Dr. Friedlander is Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco.


Detective Rachael Frost, Master Investigator, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department:  Investigator Frost is the program coordinator and developer for the Riverside County Domestic Violence Threat Management team. Investigator Frost has testified as an expert witness in numerous cases regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, strangulation and stalking. She has received and provided thousands of hours of training in domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, strangulation, restraining orders, sexual assault, child abuse, and threat assessment and management. She is currently working on the enhancement of the Riverside County Threat Management Teams.


Hon. Jennifer Gerard :  Judge Gerard currently sits as a family law judicial officer in Riverside County. She was previously a commissioner. Prior to becoming a commissioner, she practiced family law as an attorney for over 10 years. Judge Gerard has an extensive background practicing law, in her various capacities as a District Attorney, a member of the Juvenile Defense Panel, and as appellate and minors’ counsel. Judge Gerard has been an adjunct professor. She has a significant background in domestic violence and child abuse, and has long been recognized as a competent and well-regarded member of the legal community.


Albert R. Gibbs, Ph.D. :  Dr. Gibbs is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist who has specialized in Family Law cases in Los Angeles for over thirty-five years. His practice includes conducting child custody evaluations, and psycho-diagnostic and forensic assessments for the Family Law Department of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is a board member of the California Chapter of the AFCC. He is also founder and director of Co-Parent Solutions which offers marital, family, divorce and co-parent counseling, and co-parenting classes, in West Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Marino, California.


Hon. Reva Goetz, Retired :  Hon. Reva Goetz, Los Angeles Superior Court, Retired, joined ARC after serving as a highly regarded Probate Judge from 2007 to 2014. Judge Goetz handled hundreds of contested, complex probate, trust and estate and conservatorship cases, including numerous high-profile matters. Prior to her appointment as a judge, she served as a Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner for nearly 20 years. She handled Family Law from 2001 to 2007 and again from 2014 to 2015. Judge Goetz’s background also includes service as a Deputy District Attorney and positions in the public and private sectors as an accountant, auditor and financial analyst.


Hon. Hank Goldberg, Ret.:  Judge Goldberg (Ret.) graduated from Loyola of Los Angeles Law School in 1985. He worked for one year at the law firm of Pettit & Martin in Los Angeles practicing business litigation. Judge Goldberg was a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County for sixteen years. During that time he tried numerous jury trials from misdemeanors to special circumstance murders. He was involved in some of the highest profile prosecutions that took place during his tenure as a Deputy District Attorney including the Simpson case. He was a Superior court Judge for almost 16 years: about six years in criminal court and ten years in family court. He was last assigned to, a long cause trial court which also handled restraining orders in the West District. He was previously assigned to the trial readiness/settlement court in the Central District. He was the Assistant Supervising Judge of Family Law. He has lectured widely on a broad range of family law topics including child custody, minor’s counsel, domestic violence, attorney’s fees, child and spousal support, premarital agreements, family law evidence issues, case preparation, settlement and trial advocacy. Judge Goldberg regularly posts updates regarding family law legal developments on his website, In 2016, Judge Goldberg received the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Southern California Chapter Distinguished Jurist Award. In 2017, he received the American Inns of Court Southern California Chapter Family Law Judge of the Year award, and the Levitt and Quinn Outstanding Community Service Award. Judge Goldberg (Ret.) currently works with Benchmark Resolutions in Los Angeles as a neutral with a focus on family law matters.


Donald A. Gordon, Ph.D.:  Dr. Donald Gordon, has a Ph.D. in clinical child psychology. He is currently employed by Family Works Inc. as its president and is Director of the Center for Divorce Education. He is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology from Ohio University where he was employed for 23 years training doctoral students in family interventions and conducting research evaluating family and parenting interventions that he refined or developed. The programs Dr. Gordon refined were Functional Family Therapy, and he developed the Children in Between (formerly Children in the Middle) program and the Parenting Wisely interactive CD-ROM parent training program.


Lyn R. Greenberg, Ph.D., ABPP:  Dr. Greenberg provides parenting coordination, consultation, treatment and intervention services to court-involved children and families, as well as forensic expert and consultation services to attorneys and training/consultation services to mental health professionals. Specialty areas include interventions for complex child custody cases, including those involving children with special needs. She is a recipient of the AFCC Meyer Elkin’s Award for this work. She served on the AFCC Task Force on Court-Involved Therapists, co-edited the Journal of Child Custody special issue on court- involved therapy, and has been recognized by the Society of Family Psychology for her work.


Merlyn N. Hernandez, Esq., CFLS :  Ms. Hernandez is the founder of the Law Offices of Merlyn N. Hernandez. For over thirteen years, Ms. Hernandez has practiced immigration and family law. Her immigration practice focuses on family-based immigration, asylum, removal defense, administrative appeals, and appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals. Ms. Hernandez has represented clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Fifth Circuits. Her family law practice focuses on cases involving dissolution, parentage, child support, spousal support, property division, pre-marital and post marital agreements. She also a mediator helping parties resolve their cases with alternatives to traditional litigation. Ms. Hernandez is a certified family law specialist. Ms. Hernandez is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Family Law Section Executive Committee, a board member of the California Chapter of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA). She is involved in AILA as an advocacy/congressional liaison for the Southern California Chapter. She is also a member of AILA’s national committees: EOIR Liaison Committee. Ms. Hernandez has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers 2012-2016. She is fluent in Spanish.


Michele Heisler, CDFA®, CVA, MBA :  Michele Heisler MBA, CDFA, CVA, MAFF, is the owner of Heisler Financial, a financial advisory firm that focuses on providing financial analysis and business valuations. She focuses on assisting divorcing clients and mediators with financial matters. Additionally, she assists individuals and small business owners as a financial development coach so that they may be better equipped to manage financial matters.


Carol Hirshfield, Ph.D. :  Dr. Hirshfield is a licensed psychologist. She has had over 25 years’ experience working with children, adults and their families on both the East and West Coasts. Born and raised in New York City, she has had professional experience in New York, New Jersey, and California. Her special expertise includes child development, populations who have special needs (such as learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, developmental disabilities, and autism), anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder and services for families who are engaged in high conflict divorce. Her practice is located in West Los Angeles, where she provides psychotherapy for children, adolescents, adults, family therapy, parenting and co-parenting counseling, co-parenting classes called COPE (Co-Parenting with Your Ex), custody mediation and collaborative divorce coaching and child specialist services.


Stan J. Katz, Ph.D. :  Dr. Stan Katz is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist who has conducted over 1000 evaluations in Family Law and Dependency Courts, mediated family law disputes and treated way too many high conflict families. He has held Senior positions at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Children’s Institute International (CII) and The Maple Community Counseling Center (TMCC). As Director of Training and Professional Education at CII and as Director of Training and later as Clinical Director at TMCC he was in charge of training and supervising hundreds of MFT and Psychology interns and fellows. He was a Visiting Lecturer in the UCLA Graduate School of Social Welfare for 10 years and taught at Antioch University for 5 years. He is currently a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Committee to revise the Child Custody Evaluation stipulation. Dr. Katz is the author of 3 books.


Robert Kaufman, Ph.D., ABPP:  Robert L. Kaufman PhD, ABPP is a psychologist in Oakland and San Rafael, California, who is board certified in forensic psychology and who has worked in family law for over 25 years. In that arena, he has performed child custody evaluations, does mediation and co-parent counseling, conducts psychological and neuropsychological assessments and also offers consultation to attorneys. For many years, he has presented workshops at professional conferences, including AFCC, and has authored several journal articles in family law. He has also served on the Board of the Family and Children’s Law Center in San Rafael, including three years as its president, has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody and is currently on the Board of the California Chapter of AFCC. 


Marcie Kraft, MA, MS, JD :  Marcie Kraft, MA, MS, JD, whether teaching, answering calls for the National Child Abuse Hotline, working for the Ventura County Superior Court as a Child Custody Recommending Counselor, or helping separated families as a private Child Custody Mediator/Parenting Plan Coordinator, has always been keenly aware of the importance of respectful communication. At a time in our society when it appears malevolent maltreatment of one another has gone mainstream, she is more firmly convinced than ever before of the importance of treating with respect even those with whom we disagree, and believes communicating respectfully is the key to a productive co-parenting relationship and to improving the lives of children.


Michael J. Kretzmer, JD, CFLS :  Mike Kretzmer is a partner with Summers, Levine & Kretzmer, LLP in Los Angeles, California. He is the past President of AFCC California, a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and has been certified as a Family Law Specialist by the State of California. He is also a former member and officer of the Family Law Executive Committee of the California State Bar. His practice focuses on child abuse, intimate partner violence and complex custody litigation. He is a frequent lecturer and writer on matters pertaining to trial practice, presentation of psychological evidence in court and matters related to custody and child abuse issues.


Alyce LaViolette, MS, MFT:  Alyce, a renowned expert in domestic violence, has spent decades working directly with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. She is a psychotherapist and pioneer of hands-on interventions with perpetrators and victims of intimate partner violence. Alyce has qualified countless times as an expert witness regarding domestic violence in family law and dependency court cases involving custody. She has also acted as a court consultant and trainer for judicial officers and family law professionals regarding assessment (is it anger or abuse?), assessment (danger), and has developed a 12-week parenting curriculum for families where abuse has been an issue.


Paula Lawhon, JD, CFLS :  Paula Lawhon is a Certified Family Law Specialist and full-time family law mediator in San Rafael and San Francisco. She has been practicing for 18 years and has had her own practice for 13 years. At Lawhon Law & Mediation, P.C., our three attorney-mediators mediate divorces, dissolution of formal and non-formalized domestic partnerships, custody and parenting issues as well as mediating and providing consultations for pre-marital, post-martial and cohabitation agreements. Paula has provided Mediation and Family Law training and presentations to attorneys, mediators and therapists in addition to authoring Family Law Mediation articles in various publications.


S. Margaret Lee, Ph.D.:  S. Margaret Lee, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist whose work focus is providing services to divorcing families and family law attorneys. Dr. Lee performs custody evaluations, consults with attorneys, provides expert witness testimony, is a mediator and provides co-parent counseling to parents. Dr. Lee has done research regarding psychological testing in child custody evaluations. Dr. Lee is a frequent presenter at national conferences in the area of psychology/family law. Her recent peer reviewed articles have involved issues of attachment in child custody work and providing consultation to family law attorneys. Dr. Lee obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Alliance University in 1978.


Professor Nancy K. D. Lemon, JD:  Professor Nancy K. D. Lemon has been a leading authority on domestic violence law for over three decades. A practicing attorney, she has also provided expert testimony in many types of cases. She has worked to craft many pieces of California legislation affecting survivors of domestic violence and their children. Since 1988, Professor Lemon has taught Domestic Violence Law and the Domestic Violence Practicum at University of California Berkeley’s School of Law. In 2012, she co-founded the Family Violence Appellate Project, where she is the Legal Director.


Mary Elizabeth Lund, Ph.D.:  Mary Elizabeth Lund, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, did a post-doctoral research fellowship at University of Cambridge, England, and has performed custody evaluations for over 25 years. She has done empirical research on outcomes for children after parental separation and on assessing children in custody evaluations. She is a mental health professional liaison member of the Los Angeles County Bar Family Law Executive Committee and is Past President of AFCC-CA. For ten years she presented yearly at trainings for incoming family law judicial officers on child custody issues at the Judicial Council of California Center for Judicial Education and Research. For 20 years, she has been a trainer on child custody for Mosten Mediation Associates. She provides frequent trainings for lawyers, mediators and mental health professionals and has published articles in Family Court Review and elsewhere on custody evaluations and other child custody-related topics.


Karin Manger, LCSW :  Karin Manger is a licensed clinical social worker. Her clinical practice focuses exclusively on clients involved with family law cases. Ms. Manger was employed as a child custody evaluator with the Los Angeles Superior Court for 18 years prior to being exclusively in private practice. Ms. Manger currently conducts private child custody evaluations in addition to providing therapy to children and families who are in disputed custody situation. Ms. Manger also provides consultation to attorneys and parents of special needs children, particularly children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Manger has offices located in South Pasadena and West Los Angeles.


Professor Mindy Mechanic, Psy.D.:  Dr. Mindy Mechanic is a professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton. Her work focuses on the consequences of trauma/victimization, particularly intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking. Her National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-funded research explored the influence of women’s ethnocultural context on responses to IPV and sexual violence. Dr. Mechanic is a forensic psychologist who works as a legal consultant and expert witness in criminal (civilian and military), civil, and family cases involving interpersonal violence.


Lorie Nachlis, JD, CFLS :  Lorie S. Nachlis, Esq. is a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Nachlis & Fink. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and is the immediate Past President of the Northern California Chapter of the AAML. In 2002, she received the Chapter’s “Fellow of the Year Award”. She also served on the Board of Directors of the California Chapter of the Association of Families and Conciliation Courts. Ms. Nachlis has been a speaker for various AAML, the California State Bar, AFCC and other organizations dedicated to family law, and has published articles on related topics. Ms. Nachlis has been named a “Northern California Super Lawyers” by San Francisco Magazine for every year since 2004.


Alix Nassiri, DO:  Dr. Nassiri is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine, Anesthesiology, an EMDR-trained, trauma-focused clinician, and founder of REACH, which a cutting-edge brain and body institute based in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Nassiri founded REACH Wellness & Recovery 5 years ago in Pasadena, and recently launched a new state-of-the-art REACH facility in Burbank to help patients with a full range of behavioral health issues. REACH treats issues ranging from substance and alcohol use disorders, depression, PTSD, general anxiety disorders, OCD and Chronic Pain. He graduated from the University of California, where he was a Regent Scholar and he completed Medical School at Western University of Health Sciences.


Judith Nesburn, JD, LCSW:  Judith C. Nesburn is an experienced family law attorney whose practice is devoted solely to the consensual resolution of issues in divorce, premarital agreements, post marital and cohabitation agreements. She has lectured extensively on Mediation and Collaborative Family Law. Attorney Nesburn has served on the State Bar Family Law Section Executive Committee, is a past CLE chair of the State Bar Family Law Section, past Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution State Bar Family Law standing committee and Board Member of the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She was admitted to practice in 1986, is a California SuperLawyer and is rated A-V (highest rating for legal ability and ethics) by Martindale-Hubbell.


Patricia L. Papernow, Ed.D.:  Dr. Patricia Papernow is an internationally recognized expert on “blended families” and post-divorce parenting. She is a highly engaging and informative speaker, the author of two of the classic books in the field, another forthcoming trade book, and dozens of articles and book chapters. She received the 2017 APA Division 43 award for Distinguished Contribution to Couple and Family Psychology. Dr. Papernow is Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education and a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, MA, where she divides her time between consultation, clinical work, and teaching.


Cari M. Pines, JD, CFLS:  Cari M. Pines is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a principal at Pines Law Group in Encino, California. Cari is an Officer for the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is the former Chair for the Family Law Section of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists and on the Board of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, a nonprofit provider of family law legal services in Los Angeles. Although Cari’s private practice is dedicated to the practice of family law, her particular area of specialization is family law disputes that are impacted by a child’s special needs. Most recently, Cari has focused her efforts on educating family law practitioners about the rapidly evolving impact of electronics and social media on family law matters presenting seminars and authoring articles about ESI and digital evidence.


Mark Ressa, JD, CLFSMark Ressa was admitted to the California Bar in 1979 and Federal Bar in 1985. He is Certified as a Legal Specialist in Family Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He limits his practice exclusively to family law matters, including complex litigation, spousal and child support, paternity, high conflict custody disputes and domestic violence. His office is located in San Ramon and practices primarily in the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, San Francisco and Solano. He has lectured dozens of times to thousands of California attorneys for the State Bar, CEB, ACFLS, CYLA, LawLine, Law Education Institute, Nevada Judicial Education Symposium, many county bar associations and other organizations. He is also active in the State Bar having Chaired the Family Law Section of the California Bar (2012-2013), a charter and still member of the State Bar Social Media Task Force and State Bar Mentoring Task Force and Working Group. He was also a twice three-year term Co-Chair of the Council of State Bar Sections that transitioned to the California Lawyers Association (CLA) January 2018.


Michael A. Saini, Ph.D.:  Dr. Michael Saini is an internationally known researcher and professor. He has published in a myriad of peer reviewed books, chapters, and articles. He is on the Board of Directors of AFCC international.


Hon. Robert Schnider, Ret.:  Judge Schnider became a Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1981 and was appointed as a judge in 2002, serving in the Family Law Department. He retired from the bench in 2008 and now works as a private neutral through ARC. Judge Schnider has lectured and taught extensively to both lawyers and judicial officers and has received several awards, including Judicial Officer of the Year Award in 1997 from the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, the ACFLS Special Recognition Award in 2008 and the Outstanding Jurist Award in 2000 from the Los Angeles County Bar Association.


Hon. Laura A. Seigle :  Laura Seigle is assigned to a family law court in the Los Angeles Superior Court where she also serves on the Ethics Review and Comment Committee and Community Outreach Committee. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Seigle was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, and clerked for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Seigle speaks and teaches on a variety of issues including family law, evidence and professional ethics.


David Shebby, JD, CFLS :  Mr. Shebby is a Certified Family Law Specialist and founding partner of Jacobson Scully Shebby, LLP. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1993 and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990. He practices exclusively in the area of family law. Mr. Shebby has extensive experience in both state and federal courts and has litigated scores of jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations to verdict. Los Angeles Magazine recognized Mr. Shebby as a Southern California "Super Lawyer" for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. He has received an AV® Preeminent™ peer ranking (the highest possible rating) with regard to both family law and civil litigation. Mr. Shebby has published articles and lectured for the State Bar of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the American Inns of Court, and other organizations. He served as immediate past President of the Board of Directors for the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law. He is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee. Mr. Shebby previously served his Catholic community as the chair of the Parish Council at St. Mark Catholic Church in Venice, California, and is a member of the Los Angeles Catholic Lawyers Association and a volunteer for Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles. In addition, he founded and ran a pro bono legal clinic at Miriam's House, a sober-living facility for women and their children. He enjoys hunting and fishing and remains in search of the (thus-far elusive) 100-pound tuna.


Warren Shiell, JD, CFLS :  Warren R. Shiell is the managing partner of the Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell in Century City, Los Angeles which is devoted exclusively to the practice of family law. He is certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California as a family law specialist. He was previously admitted and practiced in the United Kingdom and New York.


Stacey Shuster, Ph.D. :  Stacey Shuster, Ph.D. is a psychologist-mediator in full-time private practice in San Francisco. Trained as a couple, family and child therapist, she has taught Family Therapy at a number of local graduate programs, including the Department of Psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center. She is a trained mediator and collaborative coach, and helps separating and divorcing families as a mediator, collaborative coach, co-parent counselor and parenting coordinator. Stacey has presented at a number of national professional conferences on issues related to same-sex divorce and co-parenting challenges, as well as on Integrative Mediation.


Hon. Harvey Silberman :  Judge Silberman is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received both his JD and MA from the University of Southern California. Following graduation, Judge Silberman became the first staff attorney hired by AIDS Project Los Angeles during the height of the AIDS pandemic. He then spent a number of years at a private firm and then went back to public interest work as the supervising family law/domestic violence attorney for Neighborhood Legal Services. He took the bench in 2004 and has spent his entire judicial career as a family law bench officer, first in downtown and more recently in Pasadena. Judge Silberman sits on the board of the California Chapter of AFCC.


Hon. Marjorie Slabach, Comm. Ret. :  Marjorie Slabach, JD, is a Certified Family Law Specialist and retired San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner in the Unified Family Court. She is now a Private Judge focusing on case management and settlement conferences, although she also hears trials where necessary. Prior to her tenure on the bench she worked with teenagers as an English teacher for many years. She then chose to become a lawyer to represent parents and children. She is a frequent lecturer and panel member educating attorneys and judges in the area of family law. She is a former board member of the California Chapter of the Association of Family Court Conciliation where she headed a task force to explore alternative models for serving families in the court system. She was the 2018 recipient of the AFCC-CA Drown Award. She is the Past-President of the Board of Directors of the non-profit agency Overcoming Barriers, an education and service program that serves professionals and high conflict families where a child is at risk of losing a relationship with a parent. She was named the 2010 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California and the 2008 Judicial Officer of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the AAML. She was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Service to Family Law bowl from the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists for the State of California. Her further resume is available at


Nicol Stolar-Peterson, LCSW, BCD :  Nicol Stolar-Peterson, LCSW, BCD is a child custody evaluator in Riverside County, California. She also provides expert witness testimony as it relates to child abuse, sexual abuse, CPS, family violence and child custody. She worked for CPS for over 11 years as an investigator, forensic interviewer and adoptions social worker. Nicol is the founder and director of Kids Court & Counseling Center, a 501(c)(3), that helps children prepare for court testimony and appearances if they are victims of crimes, witnesses to crimes, in foster care and/or going through a litigious custody battle.


Angus M. Strachan, Ph.D.:  Dr. Angus Strachan is a clinical psychologist. He is known for his work in high-conflict family disputes. He has worked with hundreds of families facing the challenge of divorce or separation, as a mediator, custody evaluator, parenting plan coordinator (PPC), and family therapist. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California Los Angeles (“UCLA”) where he teaches family therapy with children and adolescents. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at UCLA and conducted postdoctoral research on treatment approaches with major psychopathology both at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. He was on the committee of the Los Angeles Family Bar that wrote the new PPC stipulation.


Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Ph.D.:  Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Ph.D., is Chair, Department of Child & Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and Associate Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles (UCLA/CSULA). Dr. Subrahmanyam is a nationally-recognized expert on the cognitive and social implications of interactive media use. Currently her research is examining the relation between adolescents’ digital interactions and well-being (e.g., sleep and academic performance); in addition, she is studying the effect of digital screens and multitasking on learning and executive function, as well as parents’ and children’s home media use and children’s sleep, behavior problems, and language development.