Family Law SECTION AFTERNOON SESSION- Room 202A
1:15 - 2:00
+ Joy Bennett, LISW
Joy Bennett is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who has been in practice for twenty-five years as a therapist and twenty years as a Divorce Mediator. She provides therapy to children, adults, and families, specializing in the areas of divorce and blended families. She also assists divorcing parents in devising customized Parenting Plans and has her own practice as a Divorce Mediator. Joy graduated from the University of Illinois and received her Masters in Social Work at the University of South Carolina. Joy has assisted in Family Mediation Trainings sponsored by the S.C. Bar for several years and currently co-leads Family Mediation Trainings for the Bar.
(45 minute CLE)
The Parental Alienation Study Group
+ Leslie Armstrong
Leslie Armstrong, Esq./J.D./M.A./LPC/I is a licensed attorney in Charleston, South Carolina, and owner of her solo practice, Armstrong Family Law, LLC, where she practices exclusively in family court. Ms. Armstrong is also a licensed mental health counselor and works with alienated children and their parents in conjunction with her legal practice. She is a certified family court mediator who works to assist parties in settling their cases through alternative dispute resolution and an attorney Guardian ad Litem representing children who are involved in custody disputes and is also a member of multiple multidisciplinary professional organizations including the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG). She is trained as a provider of Family Bridges, an intervention program for severely alienated children, and is passionate about presenting educational programs for legal and mental health professionals designed to facilitate cooperation among the professions in serving families undergoing high-conflict separation and divorce.
+ Helen Wheeler
Helen Wheeler is a graduate (With Distinction) from The Citadel with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling. She has been a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) since 2001, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor preparing and supervising future counselors. In addition, she is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Counseling Program at Webster University. Ms. Wheeler’s private counseling practice specializes in family counseling with emphasis on high conflict co-parenting, marriage counseling, children counseling and reunification/clarification issues. The Center for Families is a teaching facility cooperating with many graduate schools. She is also a 20 year veteran Certified Public School Teacher. Ms. Wheeler is a Certified Family Court Mediator and was a Guardian ad Litem for DSS. She has received specialized training in working with high conflict divorcing couples and is a Nationally Certified Parent Coordinator. She has been qualified as an expert in the Ninth and First Judicial Districts in working with high conflict divorcing couples, the impact of high conflict divorce on children, as well as child development, family counseling, and parent coordination, among others. She is a member of the Association of Mental Health Counselors of America (AMCHA) who has named her a Diplomate in Marriage and Family Counseling and the local South Carolina Association of Licensed Professional Counselors (SCALPC). She is also a member of Association of Family Conciliation Courts (AFCC), America Association of Christian Counselors, (AACC) and the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG). She has presented CLE activities for the SC Bar (“Dealing with High Conflict Clients”) and the statewide GAL CLE (“Alternative Dispute Resolution: Parent Coordination” and “Visitation Refusal: Is It Parental Alienation?”) She has presented on several occasions for the Family Court Bench Bar.
Break with refreshments
Pet Custody Litigation
(15 Minute CLE)
+ Kristine Braswell-Amin
Kristine was born in San Diego, California, but began calling South Carolina home at 5 years of age. She graduated from the University of South Carolina – Spartanburg with a BS in Business
Administration and the University of South Carolina with a Master in Personnel and Employee Relations. After graduation from USC she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force and spent the next 11 years as an Air Force Officer in various locations including South
Korea. Kristine was fortunate in having the Air Force send her to The George Washington University for a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice where she fell in love with the study of law.
After leaving the Air Force she attended law school at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, CA and was barred in California in 2003. She practiced various types of law, but focused most
of her private practice in family law. After living in Los Angeles, CA for 14 years, she finally returned home to South Carolina and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar September 2016.
After working for the SC Judicial Department in the Family Court as an assistant to the Honorable Tarita A. Dunbar she took her current position as an associate with Carter, Smith, Merriam, Rogers & Traxler, P.A. in Greenville, SC on January 22, 2018.
Kristine is married to Dr. David J. Amin originally from Indiana and they have three children, Jessica (24), Alexander (22), and Katelyn (21). Kristine and Dave are also "proud parents" of three dogs, three cats, a horse, a donkey, a pig and a snake.
+ Reid Sherard
Reid Sherard is a partner at Nelson Mullins practicing in his hometown of Greenville. He concentrates his time in divorce-related litigation, particularly involving significant assets, income, or other challenging financial issues as well as contested custody matters. He also maintains a litigation and appellate practice. He has tried cases in the family court, federal district and magistrate courts, and various state and local courts. He has briefed and argued cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
+ TErry Reed
Terry Reed is employed by the Greenville County Clerk of Court and has served for 39 years, and for the last 31 years, she has served as the Greenville County Family Court docketing clerk.
Terry has served on the Supreme Court’s Docket Management Task Force since its inception in 2011.
Terry has been recognized by the Chief Justice’s Task Force for her service to the bench, bar, and citizens.
Terry is married to Jim Reed, who is a retired Greenville City Police Officer and a 28-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. They have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
Case Law Update
(20 Minute CLE)
+ The honorable Rochelle Conits
Judge Conits is a native of Lexington County, South Carolina, where she graduated from the Lexington County public schools. She attended Lander University in Greenwood and was a member of the Lander College Women’s Basketball team. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of South Carolina in 1987. After college, she worked for two years as a legal assistant in Columbia. In 1992 Judge Conits graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
After law school, Judge Conits worked as an associate attorney for King & Vernon, P.A., Columbia, South Carolina, where she practiced until December 1996. Her family relocated to Greenville, South Carolina in January 1997, and she joined Wilkins & Madden, P.A. as an associate attorney, becoming partner in that firm in March 2000. In February 2006, Judge Conits was elected to the South Carolina Family Court bench and sits in Greenville County. As a practicing attorney, Judge Conits was rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell. She was admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts in South Carolina and before the United States Supreme Court. She is an active member of the South Carolina Bar, where she served on the Family Court Task Force and the Family Law Council. She served on the Editorial Board of Marital Litigation in South Carolina Third Edition. Judge Conits has served as a speaker and instructor for continuing legal education seminars for both the South Carolina Bar and the South Carolina Trial Lawyers. She has served as a judge for the South Atlantic Mock Trial Tournament and the South Carolina Bar Mock Trial Competition.
Judge Conits is married to Spero John Conits of Greenville, South Carolina. She has one son, Capers Brooks Williamson, who is now 26 years old; and a daughter, Heather Elizabeth Conits, who is 9 years old.
+ Jessica Christophillis
Jessica Christophillis started Christophillis & Gallivan 6 years ago with her law partner, Amanda Gallivan. Jessica focuses her practice predominately on family law issues such as divorce and child custody. She is a graduate of the University of South
Carolina where she earned her J.D. and B.S. in accounting. Jessica also attended Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois where she earned her L.L.M. in taxation.
Prior to starting her firm, Jessica worked at PWC where she focused on taxvcompliance and planning for individuals, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations. Jessica is a Certified Family Court Mediator. She is also a graduate of the Houston Family Law Trial Institute and has been named as Greenville Business Magazine’s Legal Elite of the Upstate in Family Law for the past 3 years. Jessica is the author of the article “What to Expect When Expecting Marital Litigation: Protecting Assets with Beneficiary Interest in a Divorce or Separate Support and Maintenance Action” published in the SC Lawyer in July 2017.
Jessica is the current board chairman for Compass of Carolina, a non-profit organization that focuses on counseling services for families impacted by domestic violence. Jessica and her husband Cory live in Greenville with their two-year-old twin boys.