CCFC Family Court Reform Presentation in Del Mar, California

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Press Release from California Coalition for Families and Children (CCFC)

December 30, 2009 — San Diego, California

On Monday, January 4, 2010, national family court reform leaders Barbara Asher, M.F.T. and her attorney husband Mr. Charlie Asher, Esq. of West Bend, Indiana will lead a discussion among San Diego family court reform leaders in Del Mar. Mr. and Ms. Asher will share their experiences in instituting important and healthy reforms to traditional family court practices which many in San Diego have accused of harming children and families.

The Ashers, authors of the popular website www.uptoparents.org, will address the many problems with family court practices used in San Diego, including overuse of psychologists, invalid scientific methods, and a failure to implement collaborative practices already in place in many jurisdictions outside of San Diego.

Notable San Diego film producer and director of “Support? System Down” (http://www.supportthemovie.com) Angelo Lobo, President Harry Crouch of the National Coalition for Men and Men’s Legal Center (http://www.ncfm.org), Scripps Mercy Health Vice-Chief of Behavioral Science Dr. Emad Tadros, and President of California Coalition for Children Colbern Stuart, III, Esq. will be in attendance. Channel 10 News will be shooting at the event. The discussion, sponsored by the California Coalition for Families and Children, will be also be recorded and posted on YouTube.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • What are the most important problems with the current adversarial family court systems in San Diego?
  • Do private or court-sponsored (“Family Court Services” in San Diego) custody evaluations help or hurt families and children? Is there scientific evidence supporting or detracting from use of such evaluations?
  • Can San Diego’s practices of custody evaluations harm relationships between children and divorcing co-parents?
  • In what circumstances are custody evaluations appropriate, and in what cases should they be avoided?
  • Is there a conflict of interest in private custody evaluations? Is that conflict of interest professionally tolerable or otherwise capable of being insulated from affecting a professional’s opinion?
  • Is there a risk of personal or perspective-based bias among court-appointed custody evaluators?
  • Is there a national “uniform” method of conducting evaluations that San Diego psychologists are not observing?
  • What should San Diego parents be told about custody evaluations before agreeing to them? Who should tell the parents? Judges? Attorneys? Psychologists?
  • What alternatives to harmful custody evaluations are available and in use in other U.S. Jurisdictions?
  • Many U.S. jurisdictions practice adversarial family law. How does that adversarial process practice affect children and families over the course of the child’s life?
  • What alternatives to adversarial family law exist, where have they been implemented?
  • What is collaborative family law, and how is it different from an adversarial practice?
  • What are the roles of parents, attorneys, judges, and psychologists in a collaborative system? How do those roles differ from an adversarial system? What are the benefits to each difference in those roles? Are there additional burdens or potential harms?
  • How does a collaborative family law system affect the parents’ approach to co-parenting over the long term of the co-parent/child relationship? How does the adversarial process affect that relationship? Is there evidence supporting your conclusions? If so, where can we find it?
  • What evidence exists supporting the benefits of a collaborative approach? What evidence exists demonstrating the harm to co-parents or children of an adversarial approach?
  • What are the comparative long-term benefits/harms between a collaborative approach versus an adversarial approach? Is there scientific evidence supporting your conclusions? What is it, and where can we find that evidence?
  • If a collaborative approach is better, why hasn’t it been implemented in San Diego? Have you experienced resistance to implementing collaborative family law procedures in other states?
  • What type of resistance are you aware of, and why did those who resisted do so? How have you or others overcome resistance, or how would you suggest that others overcome it?
  • Is there a conflict of interest among adversarial family law lawyers or judges in adversarial custody matters in San Diego? Is that conflict of interest professionally tolerable or otherwise capable of being insulated from affecting the best interests of the co-parents and child?
  • What role does parental fear play in an adversarial process. How can this effect a custody evaluation?
  • Does San Diego’s use of Guardians ad Litem (“GALS” or minor’s counsel) effectively protect the interests of children during the adversarial process? When should/shouldn’t GALs be used?
  • Where can we learn more about the standards and processes Up To Parents advocates? Are there other professionals, groups, or websites which can be used as resources for parents and professionals?
  • If a professional sitting in this room today wanted to adopt your recommended practices, how would they go about doing that?

Event: Meeting with Charlie and Dr. Barbara Asher:

Monday, January 4, 2010, 8:00 p.m.
Reservations in the name of Cole Stuart, the private “wine room”
Sbicca Restaurant – Del Mar
215 15th St
Del Mar, CA 92014
Phone: (858) 481-1001

Directions from the I-5 North
Exit on Del Mar heights and turn left over the freeway. This will take you west, up over the hill toward the Pacific Ocean. At the bottom of the hill, turn right on PCH (Highway 101) and go north. Turn left on 15th St. and park. You’re here!

Directions from the I-5 South
Exit on Via de la Valle and turn right. This will take you west toward the Pacific Ocean. Turn left on PCH (Highway 101) and go south. Turn right on 15th St. and park. You’re here!

Parking
Park anywhere on 15th St. or in the public parking garage across 15th from Sbicca.

Sponsored by: California Coalition for Families and Children

Inquiries or RSVPs to [email protected]
Or call 1.310.746.6112.
Colbern C. Stuart, III, Esq.
CEO, California Coalition for Families and Children
4139 Via Marina PH 3
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

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