Family Law from the Experts:
Trial Advocacy in Child Custody Cases
From Initial RFO to Trial to Post-Judgment RFO
Child custody cases often are the most complex matters in the family law world. Skilled lawyers must maintain their objectivity while zealously representing their clients. And judges struggle to make decisions where the children often are the victim, the prize, and the ammunition. Moreover, the social and psychological consequences for a reorganized family are profound.
The CFLR Trial Advocacy program is an intensive, three-day program that focuses on trial skills in child custody matters. This program will
help you build strategies and plan your presentation to gain the best outcome for your client. Each day will focus on a specific hypothetical that will anchor the panel presentations. Each panel, consisting of a judge, an attorney, and a mental health professional, will assist you in seeing the case through the prism of three different perspectives.
Day 1 will guide you through the presentation of an RFO for an initial child custody order based on domestic violence, substance abuse, and
child neglect. Day 2 will focus on trial presentation where the court has ordered a child custody evaluation. It will cover the best strategies regarding the scope and focus of the custody report, what steps to take depending on whether the report is favorable or unfavorable, and the most effective way to present the testimony of an Evidence Code section 733 evaluator who either challenges or buttresses the report. Day 3 will focus on post-judgment modification of the custody order where the issues involve special needs children, relocation, or splitting siblings between two households.
During the program, you will explore the best way to present your client’s story to the court, and you will have an opportunity to observe examples of effective presentation and cross examination. THIS COURSE PROVIDES 2 (3-HOUR) TRIAL CREDITS – A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO
COMPLY WITH THE MANDATORY NUMBER OF CONTESTED TRIALS WHEN APPLYING FOR (OR RENEWING) YOUR CFLS APPLICATION.
• Judge Thomas Trent Lewis (Ret.) / Program Director
• Leslie Drozd, M.D.
• Suzanne Dupée, M.D.
• Judge Scott M. Gordon (Ret.)
• Anne C. Kiley, CFLS
• Mary Elizabeth Lund, Ph.D.
• Staci M. Lambright, CFLS
• Judge Amy M. Pellman
• Developing a case strategy and plan
• Assessing the likely outcome of a contested case
• Using the right resources in presenting a child custody case
• Drafting the initial RFO
• The likely outcome of an ex parte application
• Determining the best evidence for purposes of guiding the court in making its custody determination
• How to present and challenge domestic violence evidence
• Dealing with issues of parental substance abuse
• How to best prepare your client for a child custody evaluation
• How to best present the child’s wishes and perspective
| • Integrating your presentation using applicable provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Evidence Code (including Sanchez hearsay issues and Sargon expert testimony considerations),
and the Family Code, along with related case law
• How to present psychological testimony based on
the custody report itself, any challenges to the
report, and rebuttal
• How to present effective testimony about special
• Determining the legal standard for a relocation case
• What factors should guide the court in deciding
whether to permit relocation of a child
• How enforceability of the order in an interstate or
international case may influence the court’s decision
The course materials include a copy of the complete set of slides and worksheets used by the panelists, plus other supplemental materials.
Enrollees in the live-stream webinar will be able to download course materials before the program and view them online during the program.
21 Hours MCLE/Specialization Credit
Approval of MCLE credit for this activity has been granted by the State Bar of California in the amount of 21 hours, including 1 hour of Legal Ethics. Approval of 21 hours of specialization credit in Family Law has been granted by the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS). ADDITIONALLY, THIS COURSE HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR 2 (3-HOUR) TRIAL CREDITS BY THE CBLS.
Trial Advocacy Program FAQs
Visit www.CFLROnline.com™ to earn additional MCLE participatory credit!