Special Needs Children in Divorce and Separation

Controversies and Unique Challenges
6.5 hours


         Robert Kaufman, Ph.D., ABPP & Daniel Pickar, Ph.D., ABPP.

    December 9, 2016 (9 AM-4:30 PM)

    Muir Woods Room on First Floor of 175 North Redwood Drive,
San Rafael, CA 94903

(17-20 miles north of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge)

FEE:     $275 Early Registration: $225 if paid by 10/27/2016; $250 if paid by 11/10/2016.

CE CREDITS:    MCLE, BBS and CPA OPD (6 hours).

Family courts have seen a dramatic rise in children diagnosed with various types of neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and medical syndromes. These children may be described as having “special needs” since their day-to-day functioning is often compromised. In such instances, typical parenting plans may be inappropriate.

This training presents a multi-factor risk assessment model that assists professionals in developing effective parenting plans for these “special needs” families, including timeshare and decision-making. Also, the unique challenges, disputes and gatekeeping issues that may be encountered in such cases will be identified and addressed.

This full-day workshop for attorneys, mediators, bench officers, and mental health professionals will provide specialized knowledge on some of the most common conditions seen in family law (i.e., autistic spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and mood disorder, especially in teenagers).

Course Objectives – This workshop is designed to help participants:

  • Identify the defining characteristics, incidence, and primary interventions for children with autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, and mood disorders in teenagers.
  • Recognize the parental challenges frequently faced by both intact and divorced families in raising a special needs child.
  • Describe risk and protective factors for many types of special needs children.
  • Apply a risk assessment model to assist decision-making regarding parenting plans and legal custody.
  • Differentiate between adaptive vs. maladaptive gatekeeping dynamics that frequently arise between parents of special needs children.
  • Plan for the special challenges various types of family law professionals will encounter with parents of special needs children.

About the Instructors:

Robert Kaufman, Ph.D., ABPP is a clinical and forensic psychologist in independent practice in Oakland and San Rafael, CA. He is board certified in Forensic Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and has worked on a wide range of both civil and criminal cases. For over 20 years, a large focus of his practice has been family law, where he has served as a court-appointed child custody evaluator, mediator, co-parenting counselor and consultant to attorneys. Dr. Kaufman has taught and trained other forensic mental health professionals, attorneys and bench officers and has published a number of articles relevant to child custody matters. He has also conducted neuropsychological assessments of children, adolescents and adults for over 25 years and has appeared as an expert witness in related matters before the court and local school boards. Dr. Kaufman is currently on the Board of Directors of the California Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and is Past-President of the board of the Family and Children’s Law Center in San Rafael, CA. For more than 15 years, Dr. Kaufman has been a senior trial consultant with Bonora-Rountree, LLC, a trial and litigation consulting firm in San Francisco.

Daniel Pickar, Ph.D., ABPP, is a child and forensic psychologist and a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He received his undergraduate education at Brown University and completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Berkeley in 1984. Dr. Pickar has maintained a private practice in clinical and forensic psychology for twenty-five years, where he conducts child custody evaluations, child custody mediation, psycho-educational evaluations, co-parent counseling, as well as consults to family law attorneys on such issues as high-conflict divorce, child alienation, domestic violence, and special needs children. During his professional career, he also served as Division Chief of Child and Family Psychiatric Services and the Director of Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psychology at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa, CA. Dr. Pickar has published over 20 journal articles and book chapters in the areas of childhood adjustment to divorce, child custody evaluations, child custody mediation and special needs children in divorce. He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody and the Conference Committee of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

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