As the rate of children diagnosed with special educational, medical, or psychological needs increase, so does the frequency of these disputes in custody litigation. Disputes over diagnoses and treatment plans often manifest in disputes about whether diagnoses are being used or misused to influence the feasibility of shared parenting plans.

Via an in-depth demonstration and case discussion, this institute will address an innovative, early intervention approach to managing children’s special needs within the context of parental conflict. Issues addressed will include: interaction with educational and medical systems including professionals unfamiliar with family law, resources and limitations of the legal system, addressing time-sensitive decisions and maximizing each parent’s ability to contribute his/her strengths and resources. Relevant research regarding the risks and benefits of assumptions about feasible parenting plans will be discussed as will management of these issues after a parenting plan is determined.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to identify three potential impacts on custody litigation when children are diagnosed with educational, medical, or psychological issues needing intervention.

2. Participants will be able to identify practical strategies for supporting intervention with children and families, without compromising external investigations or evaluations.

3. Participants will be able to identify strategies for effective interaction among professionals from various disciplines, including interface with the court if necessary, to support the needs of the child before, during and after any litigation.