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Onsite Program

2024 Advanced Family Law Symposium

Total Credits: 7.6 MCLE, 1.0 Ethics, 7.5 Kansas Credit, 1.0 Kansas Ethics

Practice Area:
Ethics |  Family
Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff - Kansas City, Missouri



Advanced Family Law Symposium 

Courtyard by Marriott at Briarcliff, Kansas City
April 19, 2024

Sponsored by The Missouri Bar and 
The Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

7:45-8:15 a.m. | Registration

8:15-8:30 a.m. | Welcome message from President of the AAML, Missouri Chapter
Speaker: Michelle Spirn, 
Spirn Family Law, St. Louis

8:30-9:30 a.m. | Michael Albano memorial lecture | Lessons from lawyer Lincoln: Timeless principles of professional excellence 
Speaker: Steven N. Peskind
, Peskind Law Firm, St. Charles, IL

This talk will examine the legal career of Abraham Lincoln and the values of professionalism that he embodied. Mr. Peskind will then apply lawyer Lincoln's wisdom to illustrate best practices in a 21st century family law practice.

9:30-9:45 a.m. | Break

9:45-10:35 a.m. | Advanced trial techniques: Methods and strategies for every stage of litigation
Speakers: Stephanie L. Jones
, Jones Family Law Group, St. Louis; Abe Kuhl, Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC, Lee’s Summit

Topics will include:

  • Organizing your case from consult to conclusion: A roadmap for litigation. 
  • Discovery tools to employ early for use as your best weapon later.
  • Preparing your witness to stay on topic and keep your factfinder engaged. 
  • Incorporating technology before, during, and after trial.

10:40-11:30 a.m. | Mediation: Each participant’s expectations from start to finish
Speakers: Hon. Douglas R. Beach
, (retired), JAMS mediatorSt. Louis; Jonathan D. Marks, The Marks Law Firm, LLC, St. Louis 

With the amendment to Rule 88.02, we discuss the expectations of the attorneys, the parties, and the mediator for Family Law Mediation. Topics for discussion will include:

  • Styles of mediators and how to select the right one for your case.
  • How to decide whether the mediation should be parties only or with attorneys present.
  • How to properly prepare your client, yourself, and the mediator for mediation.
  • How to handle your role as the attorney during the mediation process.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Networking lunch (provided)

12:30-1:30 p.m. | Lawyers and Judges, Venus and Mars
Moderators: F. Richard Van Pelt
, Van Pelt & Van Pelt, PC, Springfield; Michelle J. Spirn, Spirn Family Law, LLC, St. Louis 
Judicial Panel: Hon. Susan S. Jensen, Greene County Circuit Court, Springfield; Hon. Jeffrey P. Medler, 21st Judicial Circuit, St. Louis; Hon. Sherrill L. Rosen, 16th Judicial Court, Independence; Hon. Steven E. Ward, Associate Circuit Court - 38th Judicial Circuit, Ozark;

An interactive and provocative discussion with a distinguished judicial panel.

1:35-2:35 p.m. | The end of the gravy train: Obligations of a maintenance recipient  
Speaker: Michelle J. Spirn

This topic will explore the duty of a maintenance recipient to become “self-supporting”.

2:35-2:50 p.m. | Break

2:50-3:40 p.m. | It’s not you, it’s me… No, wait, it IS you! A field guide to managing the difficult client
Speakers: Cary J. Mogerman
, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis; Anita I. Rodarte, Siegel and Irwin LLC, Lee’s Summit

One of the greatest challenges to success in the practice of family law is the ability to manage clients who are challenged by their circumstances, emotions, anger, and fears. Sometimes these challenges are complicated further by their own personality traits. This presentation will focus on identifying potential problems in advance and techniques for managing them successfully.  

Focus points:

  • How to identify and avoid potential problems in advance.
  • Techniques for defusing and managing unrealistic expectations of the client.
  • Techniques for defusing and managing unrealistic expectations of the lawyer.
  • Communication methods to protect the relationship, as well as the lawyer.
  • Ethical obligations attendant to withdrawal.

3:45-4:35 p.m. | Expert witness testimony: Intersection of probate and dissolution
Speaker: R. Scott Richart
, Albano, Richart, Welch & Bajackson, LLC, Independence; Hon. Daniel P. Wheeler, Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP, Liberty

This topic addresses the discovery rules pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 56.01 as it relates to expert witnesses and understanding how irrevocable trusts are treated under the Missouri Uniform Trust Code. Moore v. Moore, I and II, will be discussed, and what to look for in distinguishing mandatory versus discretionary trusts.

4:35 p.m. | Adjourn

Opinions and positions stated by presenters of MoBarCLE programs are those of the presenters and not necessarily those of The Missouri Bar. This program is intended as information for lawyers in Missouri, in conjunction with other research they deem necessary, in the exercise of their independent judgment.



Hon. Douglas Beach's Profile

Hon. Douglas Beach Related Seminars and Products

21st Judicial Circuit, (Ret.)

Judge Douglas R. Beach was appointed Associate Circuit Court Judge for St. Louis County Missouri in 2005 and appointed to the Circuit Court by Governor Jay Nixon in 2010. Judge Beach was assigned to the Family Court since he was appointed to the bench in 2005. He was elected Presiding Judge 2017. He was an incorporator of the City of Chesterfield in 1988 and served as the City Attorney for 17½ years before his appointment to the bench. Judge Beach received his law degree from New England School of Law (Cum Laude) in 1973. He retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel where he served as Judge Advocate. 

Commissioner Susan Jensen's Profile

Commissioner Susan Jensen Related Seminars and Products

Greene County Circuit Court

The Honorable Susan S. Jensen practiced family law in Springfield before being appointed as Family Court Commissioner, Division II, for Greene County in 2016. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Commissioner Jensen graduated from William Jewell College and the University of Iowa College Of Law. 


Stephanie Jones's Profile

Stephanie Jones Related Seminars and Products

Jones Family Law Group, LLC

Stephanie Jones is a family law attorney in St. Louis, MO and is the owner of the Jones Family Law Group LLC. Stephanie is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. 

Abraham Kuhl's Profile

Abraham Kuhl Related Seminars and Products

Law Offices of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC

Abraham is a frequent presenter on a variety of family law issues, and he is an active member of the Family and the Law Section of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA). Having served two terms as chair of the Domestic Relations Committee, Abraham has been elected as president of the Family and the Law Section and now serves on the KCMBA Board of Directors.

Additionally, Abraham serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law. He also volunteers his time with the Volunteer Attorney Project, is a member of the Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, serves as an officer on the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association, and has also been on the board of directors for M.A.R.C.H. Inc. (Mediation Achieving Results for Children).

Abraham has dedicated his practice to family law and represents people in dissolution of marriage actions, modification of custody and child support actions, establishment of child support actions, adoption matters, paternity actions, and guardianship proceedings.

Abraham serves as a guardian ad litem in multiple counties, including Jackson, Cass, and Clay. In addition, he serves as a mediator as well as a special master.

Jonathan Marks's Profile

Jonathan Marks Related Seminars and Products

The Marks Law Firm, LLC

Jonathan focuses his practice on a broad spectrum of family law litigation matters in both state and federal courts. He handles trials and appeals in cases involving divorce, high-asset divorce, child custody and visitation, support, property division and other matters. Having litigated numerous family law cases on behalf of individuals in the St. Louis and St. Charles communities, Mr. Marks is a Fellow of the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), is a Board Certified, Family Law Trial Advocate, By the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL).  Jonathan has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America since 2016 and was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law in 2023.  He has also been designated a St. Louis “Super Lawyer” since 2008 by Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters.  Since 2019, the same publication has listed him as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers” in Missouri and Kansas, and a “Top 50 St. Louis Super Lawyer”.

Hon. Jeffrey Medler Related Seminars and Products

St. Louis County Circuit Judge

Hon. Jeffrey P. Medler was appointed Associate Circuit Court Judge in October, 2020 by Governor Michael Parson. He was retained by St. Louis County voters in 2022
He received his B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Boston College in 1991 and his law degree from St. Louis University School of Law in 1994.
Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Medler was the founding partner of his law firm, Medler & Roither, LLC, then Medler, Karsten & Bridges LLC. His firm handled many different areas of the law including domestic, criminal, civil litigation and estate planning. He was frequently appointed by the Court to be a Guardian ad Litem representing children in domestic/family law matters.
He was awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year in 2004 by the St. Louis County Bar Association.
Judge Medler lives in St. Louis County with his family.


Cary Mogerman's Profile

Cary Mogerman Related Seminars and Products

Carmody MacDonald

Cary J. Mogerman (JD 1985) is a shareholder of Carmody MacDonald, PC in St. Louis. He is a Fellow and Immediate Past-President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. 

Steven Peskind's Profile

Steven Peskind Related Seminars and Products

Peskind Law Firm

Steven Peskind is recognized as one of the top attorneys in the nation. Throughout his career, he has been trusted by politicians, judges, professionals, business owners, and business executives (as well as their spouses) to discretely and professionally represent them in family law matters.

Mr. Peskind brings a high level of expertise and experience to all cases he accepts. As a result, he has insights to divorce case management that few, if any, can approach. His courtroom advocacy skills are unmatched; so much so that he is trusted by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy to teach its students, who are also lawyers, how to effectively try divorce cases.

Mr. Peskind’s skills have been recognized nationally and internationally. In 2015 the prestigious  American College of Family Trial Lawyers elected him as a Diplomate. The American College is limited to the top 100 family law trial lawyers from across the United States. Mr. Peskind is one of only 5 Diplomates located in Illinois and the only Illinois Diplomate whose primary office is outside Chicago. The American College brings together top trial lawyers in America practicing sophisticated and complex family law matters both domestically and abroad. Diplomates, all members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, are chosen based upon their recognized litigation skills and courtroom abilities. Mr. Peskind has also been invited to membership of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which allows him contacts and resources in the international family law community.

He is also recognized on a statewide level. In 2015, Best Lawyers honored Mr. Peskind by naming him Best Lawyers Family Law “Lawyer of the Year” for the Chicago area. The Leading Lawyers Network has designated Mr. Peskind as a Leading Illinois Lawyer since 2003 and Super Lawyers has recognized him as a Super Lawyer since 2008. Peskind Law Firm is rated by US News and World Report as a Tier One Family Law Firm, the highest rating available.

Mr. Peskind’s innovative practice model has been emulated by many family law firms. Attorney Peskind is not shy about proclaiming, “we have some of the smartest and most dedicated people working at our firm. We are very proud of their commitment to serving our clients.”

R. Scott Richart's Profile

R. Scott Richart Related Seminars and Products

Albano, Richart, Welch & Bajackson, LLC

R. Scott Richart is a senior partner and currently the managing partner at Albano, Richart, Welch & Bajackson, LLC (f/k/a Welch, Martin & Albano), where he has practiced since joining the firm in 1997.  He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1992.
Mr. Richart practices exclusively in the area of Family Law.  In that regard, he assists people who are going through a dissolution proceeding or a modification of a prior dissolution action and has extensive experience in advocating for his clients in the courtroom when litigation is necessary.
In addition to his matrimonial work, Mr. Richart has lectured extensively on family law matters to include prenuptial and postnuptial agreements; paternity establishment actions; complex high asset property divisions; the initial establishment and subsequent modifications of maintenance and child support orders; and contested guardianship and adoption actions.
Many of Mr. Richart's professional affiliations reflect his practice area, and they have included being listed as a Super Lawyer in the State of Missouri as well as becoming a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  He is also a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, where he has served as President of the Family Law Committee, and the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association.  


Anita Rodarte's Profile

Anita Rodarte Related Seminars and Products

Siegel and Irwin, LLC

Anita Rodarte is the current President of Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and Past President of the AAML Foundation (2016-2017). She has practiced Family Law in the Kansas City metropolitan area since 1984 and is a frequent lecturer on Missouri Family Law topics.

Commissioner Sherrill Rosen's Profile

Commissioner Sherrill Rosen Related Seminars and Products

16th Judicial Court

Commissioner Rosen was appointed in 1994. She helped to draft the adult abuse statute, and argued its constitutionality. She was often appointed as a GAL. She is a member of AAML. 
She has given numerous professional presentations. She has been honored by KCMBA and Mo. Lawyer's Weekly for her service. 


Michelle Spirn's Profile

Michelle Spirn Related Seminars and Products

Chapter President

Spirn Family Law

Michelle J. Spirn has over twenty years of experience in all facets of family law litigation. She is proud to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a national organization whose members are committed to practicing family law at the highest levels of skill, honesty, integrity, and professionalism. Michelle is on the executive committee of the Missouri Chapter and chairs the national Professionalism Committee. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers In America since 2019 and was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law in 2021.

Michelle has also been designated a St. Louis “Super Lawyer” since 2014 by Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers, published by Thomson Reuters. Since 2015, the same publication listed her as one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in Missouri and Kansas, and a “Top 50 St. Louis Super Lawyer” in 2021 . She holds the “AV” rating of the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory, the highest rating an attorney can achieve.  Between 2016 and 2021, Michelle served the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel on its Region X Disciplinary Committee, which investigates complaints against attorneys by the public.

Michelle graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1996 and George Washington University in 1992.


Fred Van Pelt's Profile

Fred Van Pelt Related Seminars and Products

Van Pelt & Van Pelt, PC

F. Richard Van Pelt is a shareholder of the Law Firm Van Pelt & Van Pelt, P.C. in Springfield, Missouri. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a Diplomate of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and listed in the Best Lawyers in America since 2001. 

Hon. Steven Ward's Profile

Hon. Steven Ward Related Seminars and Products

Associate Circuit Court - 38th Judicial Circuit

Judge Steven Ward was appointed to Associate Circuit Judge for Christian County by Governor Michael Parson in January 2022. Judge Ward is the Family Law judge for Christian County and handles domestic relations matters as well small claims and landlord/tenant cases for the Circuit. Before his appointment, Judge Ward was a partner with Turner, Reid, Duncan, Loomer & Patton, PC, of Springfield, Missouri, and most recently was of counsel with the McAfee & Taft, in its Springfield, Missouri office. Immediately after graduating law school from UMKC in 1994, Judge Ward served as a law clerk for the Honorable Russell G. Clark, District Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Daniel Wheeler's Profile

Daniel Wheeler Related Seminars and Products

Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP

Daniel P. Wheeler is a shareholder with the firm of Kirkland Woods & Martinsen LLP. Mr. Wheeler focuses his practice on fiduciary litigation, probate administration, adult and minor guardianships, and mediation in cases throughout Missouri and Kansas.
Mr. Wheeler served as a Probate Commissioner for the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri for more than fourteen years. As Probate Commissioner, he presided over family and fiduciary disputes in trust and probate matters, including fiduciary litigation, complex trust litigation, discovery of assets actions, surety claims and general probate administration in decedent, guardianship and conservatorship estates. He has been chosen to be the probate presenter at the annual Missouri Judicial College for the past seventeen years, and also presents annually at the conference of the Missouri Association of Probate & Associate Circuit Judges. He speaks regularly at the Missouri Bar annual meeting as well as numerous continuing legal education seminars for the Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Prior to joining the bench, Mr. Wheeler was in engaged in private practice in the area of probate litigation and administration matters. He has tried thirty-two jury trials to completion, of which twenty-six were in the probate division of the circuit courts. He is licensed in the states of Missouri and Kansas, and has completed the mediation training requirements of the Missouri Supreme Court.
Mr. Wheeler received a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 1981. While an undergraduate student, he was a captain of the University's cross-country and track teams, and he was a recipient of the Tom Bott's Award, the senior track leadership award. He received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in 1985, where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. He received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Missouri in 1985, and he was a member of the Missouri Law Review and the Order of the Coif honor society.

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Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff

4000 North Mulberry Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64116, United States
(816) 841-3300