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Cooperating for Children:
Mental Health and the  Law

        Slides                                                   Sample Order Appointing GAL                                     Resources

January 18, 2023

Moderator: Kris Sullivan 

Panelists: Kristin Garner, Attorney at Law; Jacqueline Jordan, LCSW, MSW, M.Ed; Kara Reagan, Attorney at Law; Melissa Richardson, Guardian ad Litem; Judge Catherine Stafford, Monroe Circuit Court IV

Panel Discussion/Topics Covered:


  • When can or should I release information to attorneys? (Is a subpoena sufficient? Do I have to see a court order? What information should I provide?)


  • What should I do if I have a release from one parent but not the other? 


  • What should I do when I receive a subpoena?


  • How should I handle cross-examination?


  • Should I try to anticipate hearsay objections? How do I respond to objections?  


  • What are best practices for working with a child whose parents are involved in litigation? Do both parents need to consent to treatment?


  • What is the role of the parent(s) in the child’s therapy? Is there a role for a parent’s attorney?


  • What is the impact of a policy that says services will not be provided if there is pending litigation?


  • How should I proceed if there is a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)?


  • What are the pros and cons of talking with a GAL, and what is needed to do that?

Presenter Bios


Kristin Garner, Attorney at Law

Kristin Garner is an associate attorney at Slotegraaf Niehoff and has been practicing since 2015. Kristin exclusively handles family law cases and cases involving children. Kristin has worked with Guardians ad Litem on many of the family law cases where she represents a parent or guardian. Kristin also began serving as a Guardian ad Litem in 2018 and has worked with therapists on many high conflict family law cases.


Jacqueline Jordan, LCSW, MSW, M.Ed

Jacki Jordan received her Batchelor's degree from Indiana University in psychology and African American and African Diaspora Studies in 1996.  She went on to earn her Master's in Education (M. Ed.) in school counseling in 2003 from Middle Tennessee State University. In 2010 Jacki completed her Master's in Social Work (MSW) from Indiana University Purdue University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  Jacki has worked as a provider for the Indiana Department of Child Services doing home-based casework, therapy and supervised visitation for the past 20 years. She currently has her own practice, Jordan Family Services, which provides therapy, case management and school counseling for St. Charles school. Jacki is also an adjunct instructor for Indiana University, teaching Introduction to Child Protection: Child Abuse and Neglect, and Assessment in Mental Health and Addictions.


Kara Reagan, Attorney at Law

Kara Reagan is an attorney with Schulz Reagan, LLC in Bloomington, practicing exclusively family law. Kara graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2005. She has been trained in the Collaborative process for family law matters since 2008.  In addition to advocating for her clients in Collaborative and non-Collaborative settings, Kara serves as a registered Domestic Relations Mediator and is often appointed as Guardian ad Litem for children in court processes.  She is a Past-President of the Board of  Directors for the Indiana Association of Family and Conciliation Courts ( (AFCC) and a founding member of the Bloomington Association of Collaborative Professionals ( (BACP).


Melissa Richardson, Guardian ad Litem

Melissa Richardson has been a Guardian ad Litem since 2012 serving mostly in Monroe, Lawrence, Owen, and Greene Counties. Melissa also has wires at Family Solutions since 2006. From 1991 to 2006, Melissa worked for the Indiana Department of Child Services. Melissa has a BA in Sociology.


The Hon. Catherine Stafford, Monroe Circuit Court IV

Judge Stafford is an active participant in the Monroe County Domestic Violence Taskforce and a frequent speaker with groups such as the United Way/PACE roundtable, CASA, Bloomington Police Department, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Indiana Chapter. She also organizes CLEs for the local bar on such topics as Evictions & Damages in the COVID era, Intimate Partner Violence in Family Court, and presents often at the Monroe County Bench Bar Conference. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Stafford was in private practice as the Managing Attorney of Stafford Law Office, LLC, handling high conflict family cases including adoption, cohabitation, CHINS, termination of parental rights, Collaborative Divorce, legal separation, LGBTQI concerns, guardianships, paternity, protection orders, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.  She was a Certified Family Law Specialist, as certified by the Family Law Certification Board of Indiana, and a Registered Domestic Relations Mediator.


Kris Sullivan, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)

  • MSW:  Indiana University 2000 

  • Certified Co-Parenting Specialist (CoPS) Mosten Guthrie 

  • IACP (International Association of Collaborative Professionals)

  • Member:

  • Trained Mediator 

  • Private practice since 2010; Specializing in depression, anxiety, relationships and stress management with adults

  • Co-Parenting Sessions designed to improve family interactions and resolve conflicts outside the courtroom

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