The 2018 Annual Joint Family Law Program is coming up on March 9, 2018.
“Should an almost two-year “status quo” created by manipulation and deceit prevail in a custody trial?”
“Can an otherwise “good mother” be entrusted with custody of a three year old, if she has consistently undermined the child’s relationship with an equally “good father”?”
“Why did parents of modest means choose to impoverish themselves – and their daughter’s future — for a needlessly destructive three-year court battle? . . . For the sake of the child? . . . Not a chance.”
These are the questions a judge asked himself in two different custody trials in Ontario. He was dealing with high conflict cases. Those are the cases that are heartbreaking for mental health professionals, lawyers and judges when the questions about parenting devolve to which parent will do the least harm to the child.
The organizing committee of the Annual Joint Family Law Program is delighted to announce that Dr. Barbara Jo Fidler , a respected and renowned clinical developmental psychologist with over 33 years’ experience working with high conflict parenting matters in separating and divorcing families, is attending as a featured speaker this year. She has been an expert witness in court on the issues and her research has been cited with approval by judges who must make decisions about custody in the high conflict cases.
High conflict families bankrupt themselves with seemingly unending litigation. They involve the resources of Child and Family Services, the police, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, principals, neighbours and family members. High conflict parents challenge the legal system by ignoring or defying court orders, abducting the children, alienating the other parent and bringing multiple applications. Dealing with the high conflict case is exhausting and frustrating for professionals who deal with the family, and the unending high conflict has a devastating effect on the physical and mental health of the children who are living in the middle. This year’s program will appeal to all of the professionals who must deal with these families.
Dr. Fidler will share her insights and expertise in high conflict cases, offering specific practical advice to lawyers, judges and CFS professionals in three separate presentations throughout the afternoon at the annual Joint Family Law program, entitled “The Tough Stuff”, on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Grand Ballroom in Fort Garry Place
In “High Conflict Cases: Characteristics & Interventions”, Dr. Fidler explains the role of cognitive biases that can affect decisions about high conflict cases. She identifies the behaviours and attitudes of parents that characterize high conflict cases and offers some tools for the variety of professionals facing these matters.
Following that presentation, Dr. Fidler is joined by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judge, Justice John Menzies from Brandon and experienced Winnipeg family law lawyer, Patricia Lane in a panel on High Conflict Cases in Court.
The panelists will share their unique perspectives in a discussion which will draw examples from four recent Manitoba high conflict cases involving Child and Family Services agencies, multiple interventions and different court decisions. G. v G. made the news in 2016 when the mother was captured in a park after abducting the children. Ulloa v Ulloa deals with a family where the delusional beliefs held by one mentally ill parent are destroying her ability to raise her children in a healthy environment. B. v B. is an example of a high conflict case where the hard decision to change custody was made at an early stage in the proceedings. Wenzel v Wenzel is a case where the Court of Appeal turned a sole custody order into a joint custody order when faced with a procedural error at trial. The facts will be summarized in the materials sent to registrants in advance of the program, and the discussion on the panel will be frank in the effort to help us learn from our experiences.
In the presentation that closes the program, Dr. Fidler makes direct recommendations for clinical interventions, and offers suggestions about the role of the Courts and the use of legal remedies when dealing with high conflict family cases.
The Tough Stuff is a day long program that also tackles other complex and challenging issues including family trusts, pensions, professional or family corporations and service on spouses outside of Canada under the Hague Service Convention rules.
Early bird registration ends this Friday, February 9, 2018.