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                Consulting LLC

Weds 27 May, 2020 9:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

Judicial Officers Institute: What’s a Judge to
Do? Responding to Critical Family Issues

This institute will examine how to best use experts to improve the quality of judicial fact finding and orders in family law. Participants will be updated on critical research, theory and best practices in three critical areas of family law:

(1) Child development and the statutory concepts “maturity” and “the mature minor” applicability to parenting rights and responsibilities orders;
(2) the voice of the child, focusing on the when, where, why and how-to of eliciting the child’s thoughts and feelings; and
(3) substance use, misuse, and addiction.

The morning session will set the stage for an interactive afternoon using case studies and hypotheticals.

Hon. Ramona A. Gonzalez, Presiding Judge,
La Crosse, WI

Stephanie Tabashneck, PsyD, JD,
Boston, MA

Alyson G. Jones, MA, RCC, Alyson Jones and Assoc.,
West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Benjamin D. Garber, PhD, Family Law Consulting, PLLC,
Nashua, NH

Contact Family Law
                Consultants LLC
Who we are
About Dr. Garber
Keeping Kids Out Of The Middle
 Keeping families out of court
How do you take care of yourself?

Keeping Kids Out of the Middle

Developmental Psychology For Family Law

Holding Tight/Letting Go

These materials are provided for educational purposes only.
Please do not distribute or allow persons not enrolled in the seminar to access this page.

Access Dr. Garber's PowerPoint handout here: Access the FULL DAY PowerPoint handout here

Access Dr. Garber's publications here:
Access the
                    FULL DAY PowerPoint handout here

Select Citations and resources in order of appearance
(Click on a selected resource to learn more - some resources will require access via Dropbox)

Piaget's stages of cognitive development

Kohlberg's stage of moral reasoning

Erikson's stages of psycho-social development

Arredondo, D & Edwards, L. (2000). Bonding, attachment and reciprocal connectedness: Limitations of Attachment Theory in the Juvenile and Family Court. Journal of the Center for Families, Children and the Law. pp. 109-127

Garber, B. D. (2011). Parental alienation and the dynamics of the enmeshed parent–child dyad: Adultification, parentification, and infantilization. Family Court Review, 49(2), 322-335

Fox, I. (2019). A Letter to the Court "Overnights and other custody/visitation arrangements with divorced or separated parents of infants and toddlers"

Warshak, R. A. (2014). Social science and parenting plans for young children: A consensus report. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 20(1), 46–67.

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McIntosh, J. E., Smyth, B. M., & Kelaher, M. A. (2015). Responding to concerns about a study of infant overnight care postseparation, with comments on consensus: Reply to Warshak (2014). Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21(1), 111–119.

Fabricius, W. V., & Suh, G. W. (2017). Should infants and toddlers have frequent overnight parenting time with fathers? The policy debate and new data. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23(1), 68–Fabricius, W. V., & Suh, G. W. (2017). Should infants and toddlers have frequent overnight parenting time with fathers? The policy debate and new data. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23(1), 68–84.

Garber, B.D. (2012) Security by association? Mapping attachment theory onto family law practice. Family Court Review, 50(3), 467-470.

Driver v. Sene, 327 Ga. App. 275, 277, 758 S.E.2d 613, 616 (2014)
re: Georgia's law enabling children age 14 and older to elect their own residence, this case set precedent for Court to override  the the teenager's choice

McIntosh, J.E., Pruett, M.K. and Kelly, J.B. (2014), Parental Separation and Overnight Care of Young Children, Part II. Family Court Review, 52: 256-262.

A.B. v. C.D. and E.F. (2019 BCSC 604)
[British Columbia 2019 case granting transgender teenager consent illustrating "mature minor"]

NH RSA 461-A:11(e)
[New Hampshire "mature minor" statute]

Dane County v. Sheila W., 2013 WI 63
[Wisconsin 2013 case relevant to "mature minor" status]

Hudock, L. (2014).  Deference to Duplicity: Wisconsin's Selective Recognition of the Mature Minor Doctrine . Marquette Law Review. 98, 973.

Yates, Susanne & Pliner, Anita (1988). Judging Maturity in the Courts: The Massachusetts Consent Statute.  American Journal of Public Health, 78(6), 646-649.
["Maturity" opinions solicited in context of abortion decisions]

Austin, W. G. (2008). Relocation, research, and forensic evaluation: Part 2: Research in support of the relocation risk assessment model. Family Court Review, 46(2), 347–365

Haveman, R., Wolfe, B. & Spaulding, J. (9181). Childhood events and circumstances influencing
high school completion. Demography 28, 133–157

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Piaget's stages of cognitive development:
(from https://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html)

Sensorimotor Stage (Birth-2 yrs)

The main achievement during this stage is Object Permanence - knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden.

It requires the ability to form a mental representation (i.e., a schema) of the object.

Preoperational Stage (2-7 years)

During this stage, young children can think about things symbolically. This is the ability to make one thing - a word or an object - stand for something other than itself.

Thinking is still egocentric, and the infant has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others.

Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years)

Piaget considered the concrete stage a major turning point in the child's cognitive development because it marks the beginning of logical or operational thought.

This means the child can work things out internally in their head (rather than physically try things out in the real world).

Children can conserve number (age 6), mass (age 7), and weight (age 9). Conservation is the understanding that something stays the same in quantity even though its appearance changes.

Formal Operational Stage (11 years and over)

The formal operational stage begins at approximately age eleven and lasts into adulthood. During this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts, and logically test hypotheses.

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Kohlberg's stages of moral reasoning
(Credit to https://www.simplypsychology.org/kohlberg.html)

Level 1 - Pre-conventional morality

 Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation. The child/individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished, they must have done wrong.

 Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. At this stage, children recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities. Different individuals have different viewpoints.

Level 2 - Conventional morality

 Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships. The child/individual is good in order to be seen as being a good person by others. Therefore, answers relate to the approval of others.

 Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. The child/individual becomes aware of the wider rules of society, so judgments concern obeying the rules in order to uphold the law and to avoid guilt.

Level 3 - Post-conventional morality

 Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work against the interest of particular individuals. 

The issues are not always clear-cut. For example, in Heinz’s dilemma, the protection of life is more important than breaking the law against stealing.

 Stage 6. Universal Principles. People at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone.

E.g., human rights, justice, and equality. The person will be prepared to act to defend these principles even if it means going against the rest of society in the process and having to pay the consequences of disapproval and or imprisonment. Kohlberg doubted few people reached this stage.

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Erikson's Stages of Psycho-social Development

(Credit to: https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html)

1. Trust vs. Mistrust

Trust vs. mistrust is the first stage in Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage begins at birth continues to approximately 18 months of age. During this stage, the infant is uncertain about the world in which they live, and looks towards their primary caregiver for stability and consistency of care.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Autonomy versus shame and doubt is the second stage of Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. This stage occurs between the ages of 18 months to approximately 3 years. According to Erikson, children at this stage are focused on developing a sense of personal control over physical skills and a sense of independence.

3. Initiative vs. Guilt

Initiative versus guilt is the third stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. During the initiative versus guilt stage, children assert themselves more frequently.

4. Industry vs. Inferiourity

Erikson's fourth psychosocial crisis, involving industry (competence) vs. inferiourity occurs during childhood between the ages of five and twelve.

5. Identity vs. Role Confusion

The fifth stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development is identity vs. role confusion, and it occurs during adolescence, from about 12-18 years. During this stage, adolescents search for a sense of self and personal identity, through an intense exploration of personal values, beliefs, and goals.

6. Intimacy vs. Isolation

Intimacy versus isolation is the sixth stage of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage takes place during young adulthood between the ages of approximately 18 to 40 yrs.

7. Generativity vs. Stagnation

Generativity versus stagnation is the seventh of eight stages of Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development. This stage takes place during during middle adulthood (ages 40 to 65 yrs).

8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair

Ego integrity versus despair is the eighth and final stage of Erik Erikson’s stage theory of psychosocial development. This stage begins at approximately age 65 and ends at death. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and can develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.

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For courts and judicial officers
For lawyers, attorneys and pro se
For Guardians ad
                        forensic family evaluators
Read more here

Ten Forms for Forensic Family Evaluation

Roadmap to the Parenting Plan Workbook

The HealthyParent's ABCs

Caveat lector