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    Peter Panaro, Massapequa

Spring Seminar

Child Custody Essentials:Coping with Forensic Evaluations

A MatLaw Advanced Institute
7 Credits (including 1 Ethics credit)
Approval Pending

Streaming in May!

This program will focus on what is often the decisive evidence in contested custody proceedings: that presented by the forensic custody evaluator.  As most family law practitioners are aware, these evaluations have long been controversial, so much so that their use and validity have recently been the subject of statewide attention as a result of a Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations (BRC) appointed by New York’s Governor last year.  The BRC Report was published in January 2022 and its various recommendations are currently being considered by the Legislature.  This program will include a review and analysis of those recommendations and their potential implications if enacted into law.  The program will focus more broadly on practical approaches that attorneys may use to challenge forensic testimony.  Attendees will learn how to read forensic reports with a trained, critical eye to spot deficiencies in the premises and methodologies used to generate the opinions put forth and how to exploit those deficiencies through effective cross-examination of the evaluator and the presentation of rebuttal expert witnesses to drive home to the trier of fact how those deficiencies undermine the reliability of the evaluator’s opinion.  The program will also discuss selected evidentiary and ethical issues frequently encountered in custody litigation.  You will not want to miss this timely and practical program!

Agenda

  1. Recent Developments: Blue-Ribbon Commission Report; Pending Legislation; Salient Decisions –
  2. How to Analyze/Critique a Forensic Report –
  3. How to Cross-Examine the Forensic Evaluator –
  4. Selected Evidentiary Issues
  5. Selected Ethical Issues

Available Seminar Dates

 
 
 
 

Faculty

timTimothy Tippins Esq.

Timothy M. Tippins, Esq. is an adjunct professor at Albany Law School and serves on the faculty of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and on the Affiliate Postdoctoral Forensic Psychology Faculty at St. John’s University. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Psychology at Siena College.  He is a private practitioner who has engaged in matrimonial and family law practice since 1975 and now devotes his practice exclusively to serving as special counsel and consultant to other family law practitioners on a nationwide basis with respect to cross-examination of expert mental health testimony.  Tippins has served in all major professional leadership positions in the New York family law community, including President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - New York Chapter, Chair of the NYSBA Family Law Section, and Chair of the NYSBA Task Force on Family Law.  Tippins is a regular feature columnist for the New York Law Journal and Author of New York Matrimonial Law & Practice, a three-volume treatise published by Thomson-Reuters.

Company Name: MatLaw Systems Corp.
E-mail: tmtippins@matlaw.com

Lauren K. DeLuca, Esq.

Lauren K. DeLuca, Esq. has been engaged in a private practice focused on complex matrimonial cases, custody litigation, and enforcement proceedings since graduating from Albany Law School.  She has extensive experience with evidentiary hearings and depositions, net worth preparation and analysis as well as discovery management.  Two years ago, she partnered with Cynthia J. LaClair, Esq., (formerly Cynthia J. Tippins, Esq.) to form LaClair & DeLuca, PLLC, a practice located in Albany, New York which is limited to family and matrimonial law.  Ms. DeLuca is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Albany County Bar Association.  She has published in various professional journals such as the New York City Law Review and the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  Ms. DeLuca has been a guest lecturer for Albany Law School’s Matrimonial Law class and she has presented at a number of MatLaw Seminars.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Wittmann

Dr. Wittmann is a licensed psychologist and trial consultant whose practice concentrates on trial support for attorneys in custody and access matters and on forensic peer reviews.  He serves as a consultant for major law firms nationally and provided custody evaluation services both at county clinics and in private practice from 1985 to 2013.  He previously held an appointment as Adjunct Clinical Professor at SUNY Albany where he taught forensic psychology at the doctoral level.  Dr. Wittmann is a recognized expert on the intersection of law and psychology, on professional practices in the child custody area, and on Frye/Daubert issues related to expert testimony in family matters.  He is regularly on the faculty for training seminars offered to attorneys and mental health professionals and has been a frequently utilized instructor for judges in Family, Supreme, and Appellate courts.  Dr. Wittmann was previously on the editorial boards of the Matrimonial Strategist, the Journal of Child Custody and the New York Family Law Monthly and is currently on the board of The Family Court Review.  He has served on national AFCC task forces regarding forensic consultation, social science and the law, and custody evaluation guidelines.  He is the author of “Custody Chaos, Personal Peace” (Perigee, 2001) and of numerous professional articles regarding forensic psychology. Together with Timothy Tippins, Esq., he authored Empirical and Ethical Problems with Custody Recommendations:  A Call for Clinical Humility and Judicial Vigilance, an award-winning article published in the Family Court Review in 2005 that generated widespread scholarly debate and that is a frequently-used template for critiquing the custody evaluation process.  His most recent book is entitled: "Evaluating Evaluations:  An attorney's Handbook for Analyzing Child Custody Reports" (MatLaw, 2013).