Basic Family Law and Child Development for CT Mediators

Monday March 26, 2012 – Tuesday March 27, 2012

225 East Grand Avenue

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March 26 & 27, 2012
Friends Meeting House
225 East Grand Avenue

Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

This 2-day training, designed for CT mediators, introduces the numerous subject areas which comprise family law today. In addition to topics such as court process and procedure in Divorce and Custody/Visitation actions, the training covers issues surrounding paternity, the roles of attorneys and GALs in family court cases, and the use of alternative dispute resolution within the process.

This training will also touch on issues to consider when mediating a parenting plan including, but not limited to, children’s developmental stages in the context of parenting time as well as logistical issues to consider.

Day 1:

CT Family Law 101
Introduction to CT Court Process
Basic of Child Development and the role it plays in Family Mediation
Dealing With High Conflict Co-parents

Day 2:

Introduction to the PEACE Program.  The PEACE Program’s primary focus is to teach high-conflict divorced parents the skills they need to reduce conflict and increase successful communication and problem-solving. In this way they can more effectively address the needs of their children. This program is based on the assumption that the parents (not the professionals and the system) are ultimately responsible for and in a position to make the decisions for their children. Some parents need our help to learn the necessary skills in this regard. Additionally, while the system often focuses on the positive and negative differences of the logistical arrangements of the parenting plan, we believe that the interaction patterns between parents are often significantly more damaging to children than the specifics of the parenting plan. Even the best parenting plans are difficult to implement when parental communications are fraught with conflict.


This workshop is open to the public and handicap accessible.  Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast.  The workshop will begin promptly at 9:00 am each day and end at 4:00 pm.  The cost is $199.00 and covers materials and lunch. Registration and payment must be received in advance of the training.

About the Presenters:

Justine Rakich-Kelly graduated from Western Connecticut University, cum laude, with a BS in Justice and Law Administration. Between college and law school she worked in the legal department at Union Carbide doing corporate divestitures. She earned her law degree from University of Connecticut in 1991. Upon graduating from law school, Justine began her legal career at Koskoff, McMahon & Condon in Plainville, Connecticut. In 1993 the Law Offices of Justine Rakich-Kelly were opened, specializing in juvenile and family law, with a focus on poverty cases. Justine joined Statewide Legal Services in 1998 as a legal aid attorney in the Family Unit, and was soon promoted to manager of the unit. In October of 2000, Children’s Law Center approached her, and with the support of her boss at SLS, she came aboard and has served as Executive Director since.

Randa Hojaiban has been the Deputy Director at the Children’s Law Center since 2001, first as an intern, then as staff attorney. Randa completed her undergraduate studies at Fordham University and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. She also earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, which she applies in developing outcome measurement tools for CLC as well as in the course of her legal duties. As Deputy Director, Randa is responsible for case management, staff oversight and implementing outcome measures for the organization. Additionally, she carries a partial caseload in New Britain Family Court, acts as a mediator in the Families in Transition program and supports the Children’s Law Line. She is admitted to practice law in both Connecticut and New York.

Corey Somerville, holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology, with a concentration in marriage and family therapy, from National University in Carlsbad, CA. She has an extensive work background in community-based psychiatric intervention and emergency room crisis intervention. Prior to CLC, Somerville worked for two years with the Behavior Health Network in Western Massachusetts as a crisis clinician and a member of the trauma response team. She also has experience working in group homes with children who have had involvement with DCF or the juvenile justice system.


Elizabeth S. Thayer, Ph.D., Partner and Clinical Director at Beacon Behavioral Services.

Dr. Thayer received her Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Thayer has expertise in parent counseling for divorced or separated parents. She works closely with many family attorneys in the Hartford area.

She also specializes in working with women, children, adolescents and families. Dr. Thayer is a member of the Connecticut Board of Examiners in Psychology and former Chairperson of the Appeals Committee for the Certificate of Professional Qualifications in Psychology, of the National Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Connecticut Psychological Association. Dr. Thayer is listed in the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology. In 2004 and 2009, Dr. Thayer received The Distinguished Contribution to the Practice of Psychology Award from the Connecticut Psychological Association.

She is also trained as a Collaborative Divorce mental health professional and a divorce mediator. Dr. Thayer is on the board of the Connecticut Council for Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Practice.