divorce roundtable

Last Conference

The Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable holds a conference every two years.


Protecting Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being

in Separation and Divorce

May 13, 2016


Hon. Anita Josey-Herring, Associate Judge, District of Columbia Superior Court, Former Presiding and Deputy Presiding Judge, District of Columbia Family Court Trustee, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Prioritizing Children’s Interests
What is the most current thinking on the impact of divorce on children? What approaches to co-parenting  have  proven  most  effective in supporting  resiliency in children?  How can  legislation enhance outcomes for children and families affected by separation and divorce?


Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais, House of Delegates, District 15, Montgomery County

Family Law Matters from the 2016 Session of  the Maryland General Assembly (and Beyond)


A1: Protecting Children’s Relationships with De Facto Parents and Grandparent Caregivers
Karen Amos, JD; Donna Gestl; Prof. Nancy Polikoff; Lesley Sanders, PsyD; Jer Welter, JD

What are some strategies to honor these important relationships in the context of family break-up? The panel will include an overview of attachment theory, an analysis of the current legal landscape in Maryland, and a discussion of legal and policy developments in other states. A non-biological parent who successfully navigated the legal system will share her experiences and insights.

A2: Reunification: When Children Resist or Refuse Post-Separation Contact
Linda Delaney, JD; Stephanie Fink, JD; Heather Hostetter, JD; Jill Ladd, PhD; Mark Sweeney, PhD; Ruth Zitner, PsyD

Reuniting a parent and child after a period of limited or discontinued contact is most effectively accomplished when mental health and legal professionals strategize together. This workshop will present effective approaches for this professional collaboration.

A3: Parenting Plan Challenges

Karen Freed, LCSW-C, LICSW, BCD; Lori Kolle, LCSW-C;  Scott Kreeger, LCSW-C; Gail Thornburgh, PhD

After a brief overview of parenting plans, we will provide techniques to help you address some of the most difficult situations that can arise when helping a couple craft their parenting plan–from finding ourselves aligned with one client  over the other to factoring in  the special needs of a child listing the workshops (titles, description) and speakers. 

B1: Voice of the Child
Barry Frieman, EdD, LCSW-C; Anne Kelly Laynor, JD; Hon. Cathy Hollenberg Serrette; Vince Wills, JD

Should children have a voice in their parents’ custody or divorce process? And what are the implications if they do? What factors guide whether and how the child’s voice can be heard? If court is the only option, how do you prepare the child?

B2: Circuit Court for Montgomery County: Putting Children First
Hon. Anne K. Albright; Hon. James A. Bonifant; Madeleine Jones, JD; Anne Hurwitz, LCSW-C; Daniel Zerivitz, JD

From filing to final resolution, learn how the Circuit Court’s programs and procedures promote and protect  the  child’s interest by giving the parents ample opportunity to resolve custody  disputes by agreement, while also ensuring the Court  has all necessary information when called upon to make a decision.

B3: Safe Babies Court Teams: A National Model
Darneshia Bell; Hon. Constance Cohen; Lucy Hudson

Changing the climate in the child welfare system requires a shift away from adversarial courtroom proceedings dragged out over months and sometimes years. With the guidance of  judges  and community coordinators, Safe Babies Court  Teams transform the process into a collaborative effort that values every member of the team, starting with parents. Learn how  to  individualize services to promote positive outcomes for young children in the child welfare system.

C1: Being Creative with Child Support

Jane Ochsman Rowny, CPA, CFP®; CDFATM; Barry R. Fierst, JD; Darcy Shoop, JD

Take a look beyond the Maryland Child Support Guidelines to explore inventive ways of defining child support, including financial support for special needs children.

C2: Split: Divorce through Children’s Eyes (and Voices)
John Spiegel, JD; Jimmy Venza, PhD

We will view and discuss Split: Divorce Through Children’s Eyes, a stunning 30-minute documentary by  filmmaker Ellen Bruno, which explores the often frightening and always life-altering separation of parents, told exclusively from the perspective of children ages 6 to 12 years old. Ellen Bruno helped plan this workshop, which will include discussion of the new Split book.

C3: Mastery in the Role of Child Specialist
Lisa Herrick, PhD; Kate Scharff, LCSW-C, LICSW

What is the role of the Child Specialist in mediation, Collaborative processes, and traditional models of divorce settlement? We will focus on the skills Child Specialists must employ to bring the voices of the children back to any process. Key to the success of Child Specialists is the ability to create trust in both the children we meet and the parents who hear our feedback.

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