Presenter Bios

(Alphabetical order)


Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
California Chapter Annual Conference
  Solutions for Families in Conflict
February 2-4, 2018

Hon. Shelly Averill:  The Honorable Shelly J. Averill is the Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division of the Sonoma County Superior Court in addition to serving on the Appellate Panel.  Judge Averill was appointed to the bench in May of 2010.  Prior to her appointment, she practiced exclusively family law and was frequently appointed by the Court as Minor’s Counsel in high conflict custody matters. In addition to her work as minor’s counsel, she also served as a Settlement Conference Panelist and Special Master/Parenting Coordinator.

Hon. Bunmi Awoniyi:  The Honorable Bunmi Awoniyi was appointed to the Sacramento Superior Court by Governor Gerry Brown in November 2012.  Prior to her judicial appointment she was the principle attorney at the Law Office of Bunmi Awoniyi, a Professional Corporation, since 1994.  The emphasis of her practice was Family Law.  Judge Awoniyi was certified as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Specialization in 2007.  Since her appointment she has served a two year rotation in, Family Law, Criminal Domestic Violence, and is currently in a General Trial rotation.  Judge Awoniyi is currently professor of Family Law at Lincoln Law School, and is a faculty presenter for The Judicial Council (CJER).  She has been a member of the faculty teaching Family Law to Judicial Officers who are new to a Family Law assignment.  In addition, she teaches specialty sub topics to Judicial Officers in areas relating to Family Law and/or Domestic Violence.

Rhonda B. Barovsky, LCSW, Psy.D.:  Rhonda Barovsky, LCSW, PsyD, worked at Family Court Services in Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties for ten years as a mediator, child custody evaluator, and Program Manager.  Before working within family law she worked with incarcerated youth, and was the director of an out-patient treatment program for adjudicated juvenile sex offenders, and before that she worked at the San Francisco Rape Treatment Center.  She has been in private practice since 2001. While continuing to provide mediation and evaluation services she also provides therapy such as co-parenting, reconciliation, and individual therapy to children, adolescents, and adults, and couple’s counseling (to people who don’t want to divorce!) She has been thinking about race relations all of her life, especially since growing up in segregated St. Louis, Missouri, and hearing her father describe how he saw signs at the neighborhood pool in St. Louis that said, “No Dogs, Jews, or Blacks allowed,” and has taken numerous diversity training classes.

Jennifer Bawden, Manager of the Safe at Home Program:  Jennifer Bawden has been the manager of California’s Safe at Home program since December 2011.  During this time she has worked with stakeholders to revise and streamline the enrollment process, was instrumental in advocating for human trafficking victims being eligible for the program, and worked with several other states to form the National Association of Confidential Address Programs (NACAP.)  NACAP works as one voice to solve common issues experienced by participants with federal agencies.   Prior experience includes eight years working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Victim Services and Restitution.  Jennifer has a BA in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice.

Ellen Bruno, MA:  Ellen Bruno is an award winning documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco. With a background in international relief work, Ellen’s films have focused on issues at the forefront of human rights, including sex trafficking in Burma, political prisoners in Tibet, the social alienation of people with leprosy, and genocide in Cambodia.

Ellen earned an MA in Film at Stanford University. She is a recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, a Goldie Award for Outstanding Artists, an Alpert Award for the Arts, an Anonymous Was A Woman Award for the Arts, and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Ellen serves on the board of the International Buddhist Film Festival, the Pacific Pioneer Fund, and Ethical Traveler.

Frank Davis, Ph.D.:  Dr. Davis has been working as a forensic psychologist since 2009, providing services as child custody evaluator, parenting coordinator/ special master, co-parenting therapist and reunification therapist for children and families referred through Family Court, as well as expert witness testimony.   His areas of focus include the impact of domestic violence on children in family law cases, issues related to child/parent alienation, and trauma- informed forensic evaluations.  Dr. Davis also works as a staff psychologist at Transitioning Families, an experiential, educational, solution-focused approach to healing children and families post-divorce/separation.  In June 2016, Dr. Davis joined the AFCC-CA Board of Directors and he has been involved, along with other Board members, in developing a mentoring program for early career custody evaluators in California.

Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP:  Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., ABPP. is the Director 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 is board certified in couple and family psychology. She is the past president of the Massachusetts chapter of AFCC, past president of AFCC, 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 M. Drozd, Ph.D.:  Leslie M. Drozd, Ph.D, is a licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child therapist in Newport Beach, CA. She has served as the editor of the International Journal of Child Custody, on the editorial board of AFCC’s Family Court Review, as coeditor of two editions of Parenting Plan Evaluations:  Applied Research for Family Court, coauthor of Parenting Plan & Child Custody Evaluations: Using Decision Trees to Increase Evaluator Competence & Avoid Preventable Errors, and the board of directors of AFCC-CA as well as AFCC international, and Overcoming Barriers. She has been a child custody evaluator for over 28 years; an emphasis in her clinical work is with families with resist-refuse dynamics.

Hon. Sherrill Ellsworth, Ret.:  Judge Sherrill Ellsworth is the Past Presiding Judge of Riverside County, a Judicial Educator and former Family Law Judge. Judge Ellsworth has effectively handled complex civil litigation cases, family law, felony criminal trials, probate and general trials throughout her 25 years of lawyering and judging. Judge Ellsworth was appointed vice-chair of the California Court Case Management System Justice Partner Advisory Committee in 2010 and was member of the Strategic Evaluation Committee appointed by the Chief Justice and of the Judicial Council’s Trial Court Budget Working Group, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee, and Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants. She serves as Chief Community Officer with coParenter.

Hon. Julie A. Emede:  Honorable Julie A. Emede was appointed to the bench in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara in December 2009, and is currently the Supervising Judge of the Family Division.  Prior to moving to Family Court, she served in and supervised the dedicated Criminal Family Violence court, handling all aspects of both misdemeanors and felonies from arraignment through trial, sentencing, and probation reviews.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a family law attorney, where she handled all aspects of family law cases including marital/domestic partnership dissolutions, adoptions, and court-appointed representation of children. Judge Emede has been a presenter at various judicial and continuing legal education seminars, and previously taught Community Property and Family Law at Santa Clara University School of Law.  She received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and her juris doctor from University of California – Hastings College of the Law.

Bisa French, Richmond Assistant Police Chief:  Assistant Chief Bisa French began her career with the Richmond Police Department in 1998.  As a young officer, Assistant Chief French worked various assignments in Patrol including Community Policing Officer, Field Training Officer, and Bicycle Patrol Officer.  She then worked as a Detective in the Property Crimes Unit and Family Services Unit.

In 2006, Assistant Chief French promoted to the rank of sergeant where she led, mentored, and developed officers in a variety of supervisory assignments to include Records, Patrol, and Sergeant of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit (DSVU), a unit that focuses its investigative efforts on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Elder Abuse and Child Abuse cases.   While working in this unit as a sergeant she served on the FJC leadership team to develop a Family Justice Center in West Contra Costa County.   Also during this time, she served as the department’s Public Information Officer.

In 2011, Assistant Chief French was promoted to Lieutenant and assumed the role as the Dayshift Watch Commander in patrol.  The Watch Commander assumes responsibility for the day to day operations of the patrol officers and supervisors.  The Watch Commander also manages the jail, records, and administrative functions of the police department.

Assistant Chief French’s steady ascension within the organization has never slowed or waivered.  In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of Captain, assuming responsibility for the Central District, Youth Services Bureau, and Traffic Division.  She was the first African American and Latina Captain in the department and the youngest ever to hold the position.

Assistant Chief French has taken advantage of many opportunities that have arisen.  In May of 2016 she had the opportunity to compete for the position of Assistant Chief of Police.  She successfully completed the process and was promoted to her current rank in July of 2016.

Assistant Chief French attended and graduated from the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), holds an undergraduate degree in Public Administration, and is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management.
Aside from work, she is the married mother of three children ages 9, 14, and 23.

Dana Furby, Counsel to the Safe at Home Program:  Dana Furby is counsel to the Management Services Division of the California Secretary of State. She advises the Safe at Home program as well as other areas within the Department. Previous to her work for the State of California, Dana was a trial attorney and litigation consultant, with most of her law career spent representing the accused in the criminal courts of Sonoma and Napa counties. She has also been actively involved with organizations assisting veterans, first-responders and trauma survivors with resilience-building and PTSD recovery. She is wilderness lover and a zealous advocate for outdoor adventure as a means to emotional and spiritual recovery.

Jorge Galindo, Psy.D.:  Dr. Jorge Galindo is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Irvine, CA.  For over 20 years, he has worked with a variety of court-referred clients including perpetrators of domestic violence, sex offenders, and high-conflict family law cases.  He has extensive clinical experience as a Special Master, reunification therapist, and child custody evaluator and has testified as an expert witness in Orange County Superior Court and Los Angeles County Superior Court, with particular emphasis on cases involving alienation.   Additionally, Dr. Galindo is a sworn Reserve Sergeant for Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the recent recipient of several awards including the American Legion Medal of Merit, Reserve Deputy Sheriff of the Year, and Reserve Sergeant of the Year.

Andrea Gardinier, LMFT:  Andrea Gardinier, MA, MFT, is a trained Parenting Coordinator, Co-Parent Counselor, Parent Coach and skilled Mediator with a private practice in Palo Alto, California.  She specializes in working with families who may be considering separation, and divorce, and families currently involved in separation, and divorce, appointed through the Courts, and privately.  Ms. Gardinier began her career working exclusively with children in play, and art therapy.  She has completed trainings in Parenting Coordination in co-parent counseling.  She is also a trained and skilled Mediator, specializing in assisting families in crafting parenting plans that reflect the unique needs of her clients.

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. Dianna J. Gould-Saltman:  Hon. Dianna J Gould-Saltman is a judge sitting a long cause family court assignment in the Los Angeles Superior Court. She is a Judicial Fellow of the AAML, the IAFL and serves as President- Elect of AFCC. She received the Pasadena Bar Association Family Law Section 2013 Family Law Judge of the Year award, the AAML, Southern California Chapter 2014 Don Mike Anthony Award as LA County Family Law Judge of the Year, the Levitt and Quinn Family Law Center 2015 Outstanding Community Service Award and the 2015 Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Hall of Fame Award.

Lyn. R Greenberg, Ph. D., ABPP:  Lyn R. Greenberg, Ph.D., ABPP, 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.

Carol Greenfield, MFT:  Carol Greenfield is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, focusing on child custody mediation and evaluation, adult, couple, and family psychotherapy, and structured co-parent therapy. She obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Boston University and a second master’s degree at Antioch University San Francisco. She was a school psychologist K-12 in Ithaca, N.Y; a therapist, team leader and founder of an outpatient family therapy program at Neuville Treatment Center for adolescent girls in Denver, CO where she also had a private practice. When she established her practice in Sacramento, she developed a passion for mediation, working within the field of family law as well as with the US Postal Service in their Redress program of Transformative Mediation. With her husband, Frank Leek, PhD, she co-presented numerous professional trainings, for attorneys and mental health professionals, of the co-parent therapy program he created and developed: the Shared Parenting Support Program.

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.

Hon. Lon Hurwitz:  Honorable Lon Hurwitz, is the Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division of Orange County Superior Court, Lamoreaux Juvenile Justice Center in Orange, CA. Prior to his election in 2010, he served as a Superior Court Commissioner from 2004. He was appointed to Judicial Council of California (JCOC) in 2008, acted as the JCOC Liaison to the State Domestic Violence Task Force, sits on the Orange County Family Violence Council and sat as Chair from 2010-2015. He is an adjunct law professor at UCI School of Law. He created the first Family Law Veterans’ Domestic Violence Diversion Program in the U.S. which affords veteran families the opportunity to address the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries contributing to domestic violence issues.

Dean Jones, LCSW:  Dean Jones is a licensed clinical social worker who has spent the past thirteen years working for Community Based Mental Health Organizations, Hospitals and County Mental Health Systems. Mr. Jones has presented findings on the effects of implicit bias to county organizations in Northern California and is currently part of the Implicit Biases Training Team in Contra Costa County. Mr. Jones provides training on forms of implicit biases that negatively impact the medical treatment and outcomes of patient care. He also has a private practice treating victims of trauma.

Hon. Mark Juhas:  Judge Mark A. Juhas sits in a general family law assignment on the Los Angeles Superior Court and has done so since November, 2002.  He is the current Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice.  Further, he is member of several committees for the Los Angeles Superior Court including immediate past chair of the Access and Fairness committee.  For the Judicial Council he is currently on the CJER Governing Committee and the Family Law Curriculum Design committee for CJER.   He is the Co-chair of the Family and Juvenile Advisory Committee; he was a member of the Elkins Family Law Task Force, Elkins Family Law Implementation Task Force and Self- Represented Litigant Task Force.  He regularly teaches for, among others, The Los Angeles Superior Court’s education program, CJER, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Southwestern Law School.

Robert L. Kaufman, Ph.D., ABPP:  Robert L. Kaufman PhD, ABPP is a psychologist in Oakland and San Rafael, CA 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.

Michael Kretzmer, JD, CFLS:  Mike Kretzmer is a partner with Summers, Levine & Kretzmer, LLP in Los Angeles, California. He is the President of AFCC California, a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, A Certified Family Law Specialist by the State of California and a former member and officer of the State Bar of California Family Law Executive Committee. His practice focuses on child abuse, IPV 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.

Eve Lopez, JD, CFLS:  Eve Lopez, J.D., CFLS, certified family law specialist, is a founding partner of the firm Lopez Law Group, a boutique family law practice in Beverly Hills. Ms. Lopez received a Master’s of Science in Forensic Psychology before receiving her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School. She is regularly appointed as Minor’s Counsel and was published In Re Marriage of Metzger (2014) 224 Cal. App. 4th 1441 (constitutionality of minor’s counsel). She is a member of the executive committee of the Family Law Section of the LA County Bar where she serves as the Chair of the Minor’s Counsel Subcommittee.

Frederic Luskin, Ph.D.:  Frederic Luskin, Ph.D. founded and currently serves as Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects.  He is also Senior Consultant in Health Promotion at the Stanford University Health Center, Lecturer in the School of Medicine and Department Chair in Clinical Psychology at Sofia University. Dr. Luskin is the author of the best-selling books Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness and Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Happy Relationship. Dr. Luskin’s forgiveness work has been applied in veteran’s hospitals, churches, in resolving legal disputes, with cancer patients, as psycho education and in psychotherapy.   Working internationally, he has helped people recover from personal tragedies and cope with the effects of political violence, civil war and cultural loss.

Shawn McCall, Psy.D.:  Shawn McCall, Psy.D. is a psychologist who is currently practicing in California, and he has a broad array of professional experiences that inform his work with children, parents, and families.  Dr. McCall has been active in the professional community, including being a past president of the San Francisco Psychological Association, being the current chairperson of the Ethics committee of the same, and a past treasurer of the Santa Clara Court Psychological Association.

Christina McGhee, MSW:  Christina McGhee MSW is passionate about changing the way children experience divorce; Christina has devoted her career to educating parents and creating resources that make a difference. She has written PARENTING APART: How separated and divorced parents raise happy and secure kids, been featured in the British documentary, How to Divorce Without Screwing Up Your Kids, created a national initiative and parenting curriculum for UK parents, produced a children’s DVD about divorce and is a contributing author in the upcoming book, ToughLOVE (2014). You can connect with Christina at or on Facebook.

John A. Moran, Ph.D.:  Dr. Moran is a renowned Arizona forensic & clinical psychologist and author of writings on the subject of parent-child contact problems, including the popular book for parents: Overcoming the Coparenting Trap: Essential Skills When a Child Resists a Parent. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Overcoming Barriers, clinical director of three Overcoming Barriers Family Camps, and past president of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  His website is at

Patricia L. Papernow, Ed.D.:  Dr. Patricia Papernow is an internationally recognized expert on “blended families” and post-divorce parenting, in her fourth decade doing this work.  She is the author of two of the classic books in the field, as well as numerous articles and book chapters.  Dr. Papernow is a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, MA, and Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education.  She received the 2017 APA Division 43 award for Distinguished Contribution to Couple and Family Psychology.

Daniel B. Pickar, Ph.D., ABPP:  Daniel B. Pickar, PhD, ABPP is forensic and child psychologist who conducts child custody evaluations, mediation, co-parent counseling, consultation to attorneys, and psycho-educational evaluations of children.  He has published numerous journal articles in the areas of child custody evaluation and mediation, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody for 6 years.  For 12 years, he served as the Chief of Child and Family Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, California, as well as served as the Director of Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psychology for 5 years.  He has regularly presented workshops at state and national AFCC conferences and serves on the conference committee of AFCC.

Dorie A. Rogers, JD, CFLS:  Dorie A. Rogers, CFLS, is family law specialist in Orange, CA, certified by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. She serves as Legislation Chair of the Family Law Section of the California State Bar and the Assistant Legislation Chair for the Association of Family Law Specialists (ACFLS). She helped charter the Orange County Chapter of ACFLS, served as its Associate Director and then as its Director. She has presented seminars on relocation, bias, court-ordered custody evaluations, domestic violence, and the use of experts in custody cases. She has written articles for The Specialist Journal and is one of its co-editors. She experienced alienation in her own divorce. Prior to becoming an attorney she worked in a psychiatric hospital as a Mental Health Technician.

Michael A. Saini, MSW, Ph.D.:  Michael A. Saini, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, and the Course Director of the 48-hour Foundations to Custody Evaluations at the University of Toronto.  For the past 17 years, he has been conducting custody evaluations and assisting children’s counsel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, Ministry of the Attorney General, in Ontario.  He has authored or coauthored 75 publications, including books, book chapters, government reports, systematic reviews and peer-reviewed journal articles.  He is an editorial board member for the Family Court Review and on the Board of Directors for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  As well, he is a peer reviewer for 10 peer-reviewed journals and 4 international funding organizations.

Leslie Shear, JD, CFLS:  Leslie Ellen Shear has practiced family law since 1976. She is dual-certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist and an appellate specialist. She is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. Ms. Shear has contributed to the development of family law in California through journal articles, appellate advocacy, legislative advocacy, and presentations to professional groups. She is the author of the Parenting Plan chapter of the CEB California Child Custody Law and Practice treatise. Ms. Shear handles complex child custody, parentage and jurisdiction cases, and serves as an expert witness on abduction risk and international child custody in family law trial courts. She associates in as consulting appellate counsel in all types of trial court family law matters, and handles all family law issues in appellate cases. Honors: Joseph Drown Award for Service to Children (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, CA Chapter, 2014); AFCC Ambassador Award; (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, 2013); Hall of Fame Award (Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, 2014) For her full bio, visit

Hon. Harvey Silberman:  Judge Harvey Silberman is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He received both a Master degree and his law degree from the University of Southern California where, upon graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Shattuck Award. Judge Silberman was the first staff attorney hired by AIDS Project Los Angeles and then spent five years in private family law practice. He taught family law at USC Law School for four years. He was a staff attorney for Neighborhood Legal Services, leading their domestic violence unit, when he took the bench in 2004, first as a Commissioner and in 2008 as a Judge. He is a board member of the California Chapter of the AFCC and a board member of the San Fernando Valley Legal Foundation. He has heard family law cases for the past ten years and currently sits in Pasadena, CA.

Robert Simon, Ph.D.:  Robert Alexander Simon, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist an Internationally Recognized Leader in Forensic Psychologist Consulting with over 30 years of experience in the legal domain of family law and domestic relations. Based in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI, Dr. Simon consults on complex parenting and child custody cases and is an active teacher and lecturer on an international level in addition to being a writer and frequent trainer and lecturer.

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 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.  She is the Current President of the Board of Directors of Overcoming Barriers, an education and service program that intervenes with high conflict families where a child is at risk of losing a relationship with a parent.  Her further resume is available at

Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., ABPP:  Philip Stahl, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist based out of Maricopa County, Arizona, though his work takes him all over the country for over 30 years. Dr. Stahl is a practitioner, teacher, and author, specializing in high conflict families of divorce. He has served on numerous committees and task forces designed to improve the quality of work in his field. In addition, Dr. Stahl teaches judges, attorneys, psychologists and other mental health professionals about issues affecting families and children. Dr. Stahl is on the faculty of National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Most recently, Dr. Stahl, along with several co-faculties, has developed and begun to teach a course titled Modern Divorce Advocacy through the National. As an approved provider of legal specialist education (family law) for the California Bar Association, Dr. Stahl also provides ongoing training and continuing education workshops for psychologists and attorneys.

Susan Stahl, LMFT:  Susan Stahl has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, in the State of California, since 1992.  She has been working in private practice since 1993 and is based in Los Altos, the heart of the Silicon Valley, where she provides mediation, child custody evaluations, co-parent counseling, parenting coordination, reconnection therapy, and consultation to attorneys and their clients.  Ms. Stahl also serves as a reviewing expert and consultant to the Board of Behavioral Sciences regarding licensing complaints.  Ms. Stahl has been attending AFC conferences regularly for the past 21 years.

Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D.:  Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D. has been in private practice in Palo Alto, California, specializing in forensic and clinical work in the Family Courts for 30 years.  He is vice president of the AFCC international board of directors.  He currently serves on the American Psychological Association Ethics committee.  He is the co-founder of Overcoming Barriers, Inc., which is a non-profit organization that has developed a variety of innovative programs for high conflict shared custody arrangements.  Dr. Sullivan received the 2012 Joseph Drown award for outstanding service to children by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, California Chapter.

Emily Vance, JD, CFLS:  Emily Vance, Esq. is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California.  In 2017, Ms. Vance established Vance Family Law, a law practice in Marin County, offering family law services to individuals in Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco Counties.  Emily is a native of New York (she is also admitted to practice law in New York) and she attended undergraduate, law school and social work school at Washington University in St. Louis before heading further west to make San Francisco her home.

Jonathan Verk, co-founder/CEO, coParenter:  For over 20 years, Jonathan has held various senior executive positions at companies driving innovation at the intersection of media, entertainment, technology and advertising. As CEO of PromaxBDA, Jonathan led the organization out of insolvency, growing it into an international brand serving over 10k media & entertainment marketing executives with more than 30 conferences & events around the world. Jonathan has always had a passion for social impact initiatives having held executive and volunteer roles at several non-profit initiatives. Jonathan founded coParenter after experiencing the negative impact litigated divorce can have on parents, families and kids.

Deborah Wald, JD, CFLS:  Deborah Wald is founder of The Wald Law Group, based in San Francisco, where her primary practice areas include Parentage Litigation, Custody, Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Law.  Ms. Wald also is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco law school, where she teaches “Topics in Contemporary Family Law.” She is an Advisor to the Family Law Executive Committee of the State Bar of California and is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys and the Academies of California Adoption and Family Formation Lawyers.  In addition, she is Chair of the National Family Law Advisory Council for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Diane E. Wasznicky, JD, CFLS:  Diane E. Wasznicky is a partner in the law firm of Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP in Sacramento, CA. She practices family law, including dissolution, support, and custody / visitation. She is co-founder and facilitator of the Sacramento Custody Discussion Group (1983 – 2008) and has served on the Senate Task Force on Family Relations Courts.  Ms. Wasznicky is active in a number of community and professional organizations, including serving as a President of Sacramento Women Lawyers; the Sacramento County Bar Association; Chair of the SCBA Family Law Section; President of the Association of Family Conciliation Courts – CA Chapter (and currently serves as Treasurer of AFCC-CA); President of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (and currently serves as a Coordinating Director on the AFCLS Board); as a member of the State Bar of California Family Law Section Executive Committee (from 200-2003), and has served as an advisor on Flex Com since 2004.

She teaches courses on child support and custody problems, and has lectured extensively on Family Law in California Continuing Education of the Bar programs. She has also chaired many conferences and seminars for Family Law attorneys, mental health professionals and bench officers.  She received her undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology and law from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1977. She then relocated to California to attend law school at the University of California, Davis, earning her J.D. in 1980. She was admitted to the State Bar in 1981 and has since practiced in Sacramento.

Julia F. Weber, JD, MSW:  Julia F. Weber, JD, MSW, has worked for over 20 years in family law dispute resolution, including developing court policies on child custody mediation for California’s courts and training thousands of child custody professionals. Her work has also focused on the intersection of conflict resolution and intimate partner violence. Julia began her career mediating family law disputes and representing children in custody matters. She serves as Director of Industry Development with coParenter, an app designed to help separating, divorced and never-married parents communicate, manage, and organize responsibilities and manage disputes on line with mediators and other trained child custody experts.