Reimagining Custody in Modern Family Contexts Under the UCCJEA and The Hague Convention

November 3, 2023
9:00 a.m.-1:15 p.m. CST

(reception to follow)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 East Pearson Street, Chicago, IL 60611
Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom

Register for the Symposium

About the Symposium

This year’s symposium will explore how the UCCJEA and the Hague Convention are meant to provide clarity in the resolution of multi-jurisdictional disputes involving children, both nationally and internationally. However, as our understanding of family structures continues to expand, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of existing legal frameworks in meeting the needs of children arising from non-traditional circumstances, including same-sex marriages, surrogacy arrangements or other reproductive technologies, and families with nontraditional parental and guardianship configurations.  

The symposium will explore the capacity of the UCCJEA and The Hague Convention to address the unique needs of children from increasingly diverse family backgrounds, aiming to explore innovative solutions by drawing insights from diverse cultural perspectives, relevant legislation, and new precedents. By incorporating the goals of cultural preservation, utilizing extended support networks, and acknowledging the evolving nature and unique challenges presented by modern family dynamics, the UCCJEA and the Hague Convention can be reimagined in a manner that establishes a more inclusive and efficient framework for custody proceedings and aligns more effectively with the evolving needs of contemporary families. 

Cost & CLE

This event is free and open to the public, and has been approved for 3.25 hours of General MCLE credit.

About the Children’s Legal Rights Journal

CLRJ is a journal published by law students at Loyola University Chicago in cooperation with the National Association of Counsel for Children. CLRJ focuses on issues affecting all professionals who work with children, including child welfare, juvenile justice, adoption, mental health and education. Generally, the readership consists of lawyers, social workers, physicians, researchers, mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, and educators.

Symposium Agenda

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. - Continental Breakfast and Registration

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 p.m. - Welcome and Introductions

9:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. - Featured Speaker – Mark Fiddler, Attorney at Fiddler Osband Flynn, LLC

Applications if the UCCJEA to custody proceedings involving Native Americans

10:10 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. - Featured Speaker - Harry Tindall, Chair for the drafting committee for revisions to the Uniform Parentage Act

The Forgotten Reformers of Family Law

10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. - Featured Speaker - Timothy Reeb, Attorney at Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, LLP

Representing Clients in Custody Disputes under the UCCJEA

11:35 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. - Featured Speaker – Melissa Kucinski, Owner and Attorney at MKFL: International Family Law

The Hague Abduction Convention in an Evolving World - Safely Returning Abducted Children

12:25 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. - Featured Speaker - Chief Judge Richard Blake, Chief Judge of the Redding Rancheria Tribal Court and Hoopa Valley Tribal, and Judge of the Tolowa Dee-ni Nation Healing to Wellness Court.

Tribal - State Collaboration Keeping Tribal Families Intact & Culturally Healthy

12:55 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. - Closing Remarks

Reception to follow

Symposium Presenters


Mark Fiddler, JD
Mark Fiddler, a partner at Fiddler Osband Flynn, LLC, is a life-long advocate for children’s rights. As a private practice attorney, he has been a lifelong advocate for the cause. Additionally, he serves as the founding director of the Indian Child Welfare Center and as an attorney for guardians ad litem. He brings a wealth of courtroom experience, having litigated cases across the state of Minnesota, including appearances in the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. He has litigated Indian Child Welfare cases in the United States Supreme Court and in various state and federal courts across the Unites States.  Notably, he co-authored the book Contested Adoptions: A Legal Guide to All Sides published by the American Bar Association on Indian Child Welfare Act and adoptions.

Proudly belonging to the Turtle Mountain Bank of Chippewa Indians, Mark Fiddler is one of twenty Americans awarded a Kellogg International Leadership Fellowship. He was named the Minnesota “Attorney of the Year” in 2013. He believes that he has been called to the legal profession as a way of “doing justice.” Fiddler knows that what he does has a lifetime impact on children and those who love and care for them.


Harry L. Tindall, JD
In 1975, Harry L. Tindall was among the first attorneys in the State of Texas to become board certified in the area of family law. Representing parties in all types of family law matters for over 35 years, Harry understands the uniqueness of every circumstance and is able to provide clients with an experienced point of view. Most recently, he has enthusiastically embraced the practice of collaborative law, believing that this client-centered practice offers individuals the ability to preserve financial resources and maxime future amicability, reshaping their families in the least restrictive way.

Harry is past president of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists (1996-1997), attended the Harvard Law School Negotiation Project (1996), has been Board Certified in Family Law since 1975 and is a Member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy (1996). He currently serves as a Texas Commissioner, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (1995-2009) and was Vice-Chair, U.S. Commission on Interstate Child Support (1989-1992). He is a certified Arbitrator and Mediator, a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was Chair, Family Law Section, State Bar of Texas (1987). He is currently Chair for the drafting committee for revisions to the Uniform Parentage Act. He is co-author of Sampson & Tindall’s Texas Family Code Annotated, and is a frequent speaker and author of legal articles for seminars sponsored by bar associates and law schools. When he is not practicing law, Harry enjoys traveling with his wife, and spending time with his children, and eight grandchildren.


Timothy Reeb, JD
Tim Reeb is a partner at Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, LLP, in Joliet, Illinois, where his practice covers all areas of family law. Tim has litigated many cases that involved nuanced issues relative to child custody, including numerous cases that involved application of the UCCJEA.  In addition to his substantial experience working on behalf of clients to advance their own custody-related interests, Tim’s experience working as Guardian ad Litem, where his aim is to focus more closely on what serves the best interests of the children, and as Mediator in custody-related disputes, where his aim is to get disagreeable parents to find a common agreement relating to how they will parent their children, provides Tim with a more balanced perspective relative to custody litigation.

Tim graduated magna cum laude from Loyola’s School of Law in 2010, and is extremely proud to be a Rambler.  While at Loyola, Tim was awarded several CALI awards, worked in Loyola’s Tax Clinic, acted as a legal writing tutor, and served as research assistant for Professor Neil Williams.

Outside of his work as a partner at Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, Tim lives in Naperville, Illinois, and enjoys golfing and playing the guitar. Tim can often be found at Mistwood Golf Course, in Romeoville, Illinois, where he and fellow Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb partner, Greg Jumbeck, are members.


Melissa Kucinski, JD
Melissa Kucinski is an international family law expert with her principal office in Washington, D.C. She owns the boutique international law firm of MK Family Law, PLLC.  She served as a consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2013 and has written a dozen articles published in more than one language on international children’s issues and mediation of complex cross-border custody and child abduction cases. Melissa has presented at over 80 national and international conferences on international children’s issues and mediation. Melissa has traveled to Tokyo twice for meetings on the Hague Child Abduction Convention – first in 2014 as part of a U.S. delegation and again in 2019, at the invitation of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Melissa has been a long-standing member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law.  She served as a private sector advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Hague’s Sixth Special Commission meeting in 2011 to review the practical operation of two international children’s treaties, and she attended the Seventh Special Commission meeting in 2017 with International Social Service (ISS).  She chaired ISS’s efforts to create a global network of international family mediation resources.

Melissa has served in a variety of capacities within the American Bar Association (ABA), including past chair of an International Family Mediation Task Force, and chair of two separate international family law committees.  She is the recent co-chair of the ABA International Family Law Committee and current co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s International Family Law Committee. Melissa has taught the International Family Law course at the George Washington University School of Law since 2010.  She is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and has been elected to its Board of Governors.  She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and co-chairs its International Issues committee.  Her book, A Practical Handbook for the Child's Attorney: Effectively Representing Children in Custody Cases, included a chapter on representing children in complex international abduction and relocation cases.  Her newest book, Family Law Across Borders: Cases and Comments was released in 2021 by West Academic.  She is the author of an international family law blog.

Richard Blake, Chief Judge, JD
Richard Blake, Chief Judge of the Redding Rancheria Tribal Court and Judge of the Tolowa Dee-ni Nation Healing to Wellness Court. Judge Blake is the Chief Judge Hoopa Valley Tribal Court after four elected terms as the Chief Judge of the Tribal Court, serving his tribe for over 17 years on the bench.  Judge Blake is a proud member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe.

Judge Blake is the founder of the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, a collaborative developed to address common issues and concerns shared by tribal court systems in Northern California, a 501 (c)(3) organization.  The organization just celebrated its first decade as an organization. Judge Blake is the President of the National American Indian Court Judges Association (“NAICJA”) and has been a board member for the past 15 years.  As President of the organization Judge Blake has the ability to reach numerous tribal communities. Judge Blake is also a member and faculty of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association and participated in Domestic Sex Trafficking Trainings, Domestic Violence and Judicial Engagement faculty/participant. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Gould School of Law, Judge Blake previously prosecuted gang cases. 

Judge Blake has been honored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2016) with Innovator of the Year Award, National American Indian Court Judges Association, (2017), Judicial Excellence Award and the California Judicial Council (2018) for Leadership Award for California Tribal-State Court Forum. Judge Blake has actively participated in training events with subject matters such as “Child Sex Trafficking”, “Domestic Violence”, & “Drug Endangered Children.” As an elected official Judge Blake has worked hard to educate tribal communities on critical issues on a national level.