2019-2020 Annual Conference

Family Court’s Excellent Adventure:

Innovations, Trends and Changes Coming to a Family Court Near You.


July 26, 2018

Continuing Education & Conference Center, St. Paul

Early Registration Rate: $185   (through June 218)
Special Early Registration Rate for Non-Profit & Government Employees: $135  (through June 21)
Regular Registration Rate: $215  (after June 21)

Schedule at a glance:

Check-in & Breakfast:                  7:45 – 8:30 AM
Welcome & Annual Meeting:        8:30 – 9:00 AM
Conference Program:                   9:00 – 4:30 PM
Cocktail Reception:                      4:30 – 6:30 PM

Detailed Schedule:

7:45 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. AFCC Minnesota Chapter Annual Meeting

9:00 a.m. – 9:05 a.m. Welcome- AFCC MN President Jack DeWalt, Esq.
Annual Conference Chairs: Jana Deach, Esq. and Amy Krupinski, Esq.

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Keynote Speaker: “Family Court’s Excellent Adventure: Innovations, Trends and Changes Coming to a Family Court Near You”
William “Bill” Howe III, Esq.

Bill Howe is our keynote speaker and he will present on a variety of national changes and trends in family law including the work of the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System (IAALS) with their “Cases Without Counsel”study; how technology can be better used to serve families in court; as well as presenting on the Family Justice Initiative and its Principles for Family Justice Reform including how family-court can become more trauma-informed.

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Morning Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Judges Panel – “If You Build It, They Will Come”

The Honorable Charlene Hatcher (Hennepin)
The Honorable John Jacobson (Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribal Court)
The Honorable Kathryn Messerich (Dakota)
The Honorable James Street (Ramsey)
Bill Howe – Moderator

Panelists will discuss family court in their respective jurisdictions including ways, and challenges, to better meet the needs of the families that come before them.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Mental Health / ADR Panel Discussion: “Dude, Where’s My Court?”

Jen Joseph, Esq.
Peggy Cottrell, LMFT
Kirsten Lysne, Ph.D, L.P.
Kent Kodalen, L.P.
The Honorable Tanja Marique (retired)

Panelists will discuss a variety of topics including when it is appropriate to include children in the court process and how, challenges and techniques for helping families when estrangement and alienation is present, as well as ways Parenting Consultants and Special Master appointments can be used to create a team approach in assisting families and when those appointments may not be appropriate.

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. “Strange Things are afoot at the Family Court.”

Tom Tuft, Esq.
Kirsten Lysne, Ph.D, L.P.
Bill Howe, Esq.

Presentation by Bill Howe on Oregon’s Informal Domestic Relations Trials (IDRTS) including an overview of what they, how they work and when they are appropriate as well as a presentation by Tom Tuft and Kirsten Lysne on a new way to organize and think about families that come before family court with particular emphasis on identifying and assisting “high conflict” families earlier and more effectively.

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. “A Change Will do You Good.”

The Honorable Justice Anne McKeig (Minnesota Supreme Court)
The Honorable Mary Madden (Hennepin)

Presentation on the evolution of the Family Court Enhancement Project in Hennepin County and the new Justice for Families Project that is working to address the challenges facing victims and families of domestic violence who come before family court.

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Happy Hour


Learning Objectives for Annual Training

• Learn about national innovations in family court including the rise of informal domestic relations trials and how technology can help families gain greater family court access and family law services.

• Use trauma-informed approaches to better serve clients in family law related therapeutic and legal settings.

• Familiarize yourself with new approaches to family courts throughout the state including  Hennepin County’s Family Court Enhancement Project.

• Recognize how early response to complex family dynamics better assists families and family law professionals provide appropriate services more efficiently.


Our featured speaker for this year’s annual conference is William Howe III, Esq.

William “Bill” Howe III, J.D. has practiced law for 44 years, with over 20 years devoted exclusively to family law at Gevurtz Menashe, P.C. Click here for Bill’s bio

Bill has devoted enormous amounts of time and energy to family court reform.  He has served as the Vice-chair of the SFLAC since 1998; currently serves as Chair of the Family Justice Initiative of IAALS; currently serves as President of the Oregon Family Institute and formerly of the Oregon Academy of Family Law Practitioners; served on the Board of Directors of AFCC; and was Chair of the Oregon Task Force on Family Law from 1993 to 1997.  He also served as Pro Tem Judge and a mediator. He was awarded the 2003 Pro Bono Challenge Award by the Oregon State Bar for donating the highest number of Pro Bono Public Service Hours.  In addition, Bill has given over 140 presentations at family law conferences in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and South Africa, and has authored several articles on family law-related matters.

register for the 2019 AFCC MN annual Conference