Fellow AFCC-­CA members.

It is a great honor for me to be elected as President of the California Chapter of AFCC.  We have an exciting two years ahead of us and I want to give you a glimpse of some of the coming attractions, introduce you to the fantastic board members that AFCC-­CA members have supporting us in creating a dynamic Chapter, and congratulate the AFCC-­CA 2018 conference committee for a conference that was second to none.

It is a privilege for me to introduce you to your 2018-­2019 Board of Directors and Officers for AFCC-­CA.  We have a well-­rounded board comprised of Judicial Officers, Mental Health professionals and lawyers.

The Officers of the Board have already demonstrated great leadership skills and I am proud to introduce you to them.  We are extremely fortunate to have the Honorable Mark A. Juhas, Family Law Judge in Los Angeles Superior Court and a frequent speaker at AFCC‐CA and AFCC-­National conferences, ACFLS Spring Seminar and the Family Law Section of the CLA, as  President Elect.  Judge Juhas takes ideas and turns them into action.  He is also an active member of the legislation committee.  Frank Davis, Ph.D., a dedicated child custody evaluator from Berkeley, is our energetic Vice-­President, full of ideas to bring AFCC-­CA into the 21st century and has been leading our mentor committee.  Our new Secretary, Shane Ford, is a well-­respected Certified Family Law Specialist and fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, from the San Francisco Bay area, who did a phenomenal job as co-­chair of the AFCC-­CA 2018 conference.  Check out Shane’s impeccable minutes on our website to see what projects your Board members are working on this year.  Diane Wasznicky, past president of AFCC-­CA and past president of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS), is a well-­respected Certified Family Law Specialist from the Sacramento area, and she is our Treasurer and chair of the Legislation committee.  Immediate Past President, Mike Kretzmer, Certified Family Law Specialist and fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers from the Los Angeles area, has been a great source of answers to my myriad of questions – and I know he will continue to be a sounding board for me for the next two years.  This group of amazing individuals rounds out the Officers for AFCC-­CA.

The Officers rely heavily on the incredibly talented and hard-working board members of AFCC-­CA.  The Honorable Harvey A. Silberman, a family law judge from the Northeast Judicial District of the Los Angeles Superior Court, who was previously a television writer before becoming a lawyer and judicial officer, has been an innovative Board member for our Chapter and is dedicated to creating greater efficiency for the courts.  The Honorable Michael Gassner, Supervising Family Law Judge for the West District of San Bernardino Superior Court and an avid soccer coach, has brought us the perspective from the Inland Empire.  The Honorable Christopher Bowen from Contra Costa Superior Court is a frequent presenter on family law issues across  the state.  Retired Commissioner Louise Fightmaster, from the Bay area, has over 30 years’ experience in family law, practicing as a Certified Family Law Specialist before taking the bench and now serving as a mediator and private judge.  The Honorable Julie Emede, a family law judge from Santa Clara County, was also a certified Family Law Specialist before taking the bench, and is a welcome addition to our Board‐ already providing idea regarding our newsletter and E-­blasts.  The Honorable Erin Childs, from San Luis Obispo, has just been elected to the Board and she brings with her the experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist and fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Certified Family Law Specialist, Merlyn N. Hernandez, from Los Angeles County, has been our dedicated editor of the AFCC-­CA  newsletter, which is no easy task.  She was a member of the 2017 AFCC-­CA conference in Costa Mesa.  Judith Forman, a Certified Family Law Specialist from Los Angeles County, lead a great conference in Southern CA in 2017.  David Blacker, a Certified Family Law Specialist from San Francisco, was a great asset in the success of the 2018 conference and we look forward to his ideas this year.  Our Chapter is fortunate to have Leslie Drozd, Ph.D., as both a board member for our Chapter as well as for AFCC-­National.  Leslie has been a great asset to the board and a frequent presenter at AFCC conferences.  Albert Gibbs. Ph.D., from the Los Angeles area, is one of our creative co-­chairs for the 2019 AFCC-­CA Conference in Costa Mesa and has worked tirelessly on updating our website and newsletter.  Providing the perspective of Family Court Services is of paramount importance, as these CCRC’s and private mediators provide a valuable service to our courts and the family law litigants.  We are fortunate to have FCS mediator Jorge Agaki, from El Dorado County, on our board and we welcome new board member, Cheryl Scott, Manager of Family court Services for the Fresno county Superior Court.

I would be remiss if I did not mention our AFCC-­CA Administrator, Merry Gladchun.  If you were to look up the definition of dedication, hard-­working, optimistic and chief cat herder of the board in the dictionary (for those of you who remember a dictionary), Merry’s name would be etched in stone.

In February of this year, the 2018 AFCC-­CA conference committee outdid itself by putting on one of the best conferences I have had the pleasure of attending.  Our 2018 conference committee, and its co‐chairs Shane Ford, CFLS, and Robert Kaufman, Ph.D., are to be commended for their hard work and the success of our conference in San Francisco.

For those of you who missed the 2018 Conference, make sure you mark your calendars for February 22, 2019 through February 24, 2019 at the Westin Costa Mesa for our 2019 AFCC-­CA Conference.  Our co‐chairs for this committee are Mike Kretzmer, Kendall Evans and Albert Gibbs.  The call for presenters has already gone out and the deadline to submit your proposals has been extended to August 15, 2018.  Please contact Mike, Kendall or Al for further information.  We look forward to receiving your proposals – and to seeing you at the 2019 conference.

As many of you know, the AFCC-­AAML annual conference was such a smashing success in San Diego last year that it is coming back to San Diego again in September 2019.  Stay tuned for further information and more details about the conference as the date gets closer.

For those of you interested in becoming more involved in the Chapter, or just have questions, please reach out to me.  We welcome input and participation from our members.  You are the membership and we are here to help serve your needs.  Thank you for being a member of AFCC-­CA.

Michele Brown, CFLS, President of AFCC-­CA