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Operating in the Shadow of the Law: A compendium of case law for the GAL and PC - Rebroadcast

  • 7 Jun 2022
  • 1 Jun 2027
  • Virtual (on demand via Zoom)


MAGAL is excited to announce it's Spring 2022 virtual Conference:
Now Available for Rebroadcast!



Understanding the impact of Massachusetts case law on custody and parenting decisions is essential in working effectively and responsibly as a GAL, PC, mental health professional or family law attorney involved with the Probate and Family Court.  As professionals, we must be familiar with Massachusetts prevailing case law and the basis for the different standards for cases in the areas affecting our practices.  Dr, Robert A. Zibbell’s 2021 Compendium of Family Law Cases presents the critical cases that we all should know about, covering areas including custody, parenting, removal, expert testimony, domestic violence, grandparent visitation and more.  The role of this important case law in our work will be presented with commentary from our distinguished panel.


Dr. Zibbell’ s compendium evolved because lawyers and mental health professionals speak two different languages. One of the goals he had in mind was to try and find a bridge to help all professionals in the field identify the data needed by the law. Are clinical impressions relevant, and, if so, when?  How can the law guide the investigative effort?  What are the “facts”?  How is the data communicated, and how do we maintain transparency and apply the data to legal standards?  These questions will be explored in this important conference.

Speakers and Panelists:

  • Hon. Amy Blake, Associate Justice,  Appeals Court;
  • Hon. Richard Simons, First Judge Berkshire Probate and Family Court, Chair of the Probate and Family Court’s Ed Committee and a Trustee of Flaschner; 
  • Robert A. Zibbell, Ph.D., author of Case Law Compendium, is a psychologist whose specialty is in the area of child and family forensic mental health; and
  • Jennifer Durand, J.D., Director of Legal Training for the Child and Family Forensic Evaluation Service (CAFFES) at the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at William James College, and trial attorney.
  • Moderator

Linda Minkoff, J.D., Family law attorney, GAL, current President of MAGAL, Inc,

Topics to be covered during the conference:

  • Ways in which understanding case law is important and helpful in conducting investigations, collecting data, and complying with Standing Order 1-05 and 1-06;
  • The Court’s expectations regarding the information and data to be included in GAL reports and how that expectation is informed by Mass case law;
  • Understanding the relevancy of specific factors and how knowing the law is essential in making certain recommendations (e.g. Petitioner met the real advantage standard);
  • Covering key areas/standards that professionals might not be aware of and providing best practices regarding how such standards should be applied;

·        Learning how to read judicial opinions, legal reasoning (jurisdiction, precedent, etc.), and following issues, rules, and applications, leaving the conclusion to the judge!

CE Credits

  • 4.0 CE Credits have been awarded  for licensed psychologists; independent clinical social worker;
  • 4.0 CE Credits have been awarded for Category V Parenting Coordinators
  • 3.5 CE Credits have been awarded for marriage and family therapists
  • 4.0 CE credits are being sought for mental health counselors, CPCS/CAFL.

Registration and Cost

  • $65 for members and non-members

Copyright © 2024 Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem, Inc.

Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad Litem, Inc.
P.O. Box 304, Franklin, MA 02038

(781) 329-9729

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