Announcing the Barry Goldstein Veronica York Partnership

Barry-Goldstein-Veronica-York.jpgIn July of 2021, Veronica York started working as my assistant with the hope and expectation this would lead to a professional partnership. The first time we met in person was for my testimony in a difficult Texas case. The court recognized the enormous harm caused by the abusive father, the children’s lives were saved, and they never had to be exposed to their abuser again. This successful case was the start of a successful relationship that has provided great benefits to clients, children, and our movement.

Veronica already possessed great knowledge and understanding of the issues, and I have been gratified by her growth as we have worked together. We enjoyed successful presentations for the Center for Judicial Excellence, NOMAS, Battered Mothers Custody Conference, Domestic Shelters, a medical inspired webinar for judges and the Diverse Voices Conference from Edmonton, Canada. We have written some important articles together including a list of 20 common mistakes evaluators make when they fail to consider ACE and Saunders. Veronica has expanded her work on behalf of our clients to include patterns of abuse, reports, and now expert testimony. During this time, I have grown ever more confident and trusting in Veronica’s work.(see Veronica's bio below)

If anyone has any questions, they can contact us here.

Introducing Veronica York

Veronica York headshotAfter a 20 year Sales and Marketing career in the Television Industry, Veronica York felt a passion and a calling to make a career change. Following a 10 year marriage that was both mentally and emotionally abusive, and going through a difficult custody battle, she started her High Conflict Coaching practice. During her experience with the family court system, she realized that the best interest of the children was not the first priority. Parental rights are trumping children’s rights and children are suffering unnecessarily due to the outdated practices of judges and other court professionals. Along with helping her clients navigate their custody battles, she is also an advocate for change in the family court system as well as a champion for Domestic Violence training and education. Veronica is certified with the High Conflict Divorce Certification Program and has advanced training in family law mediation. She performs speaking engagements and writes articles regarding the topics of Child Custody Issues that involve Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse. She also does training on the misuse of Parental Alienation and the effects of Post Separation Abuse during a divorce.

The custody court system has long looked to professionals with mental health degrees for expertise in domestic violence cases. This was based on popular assumptions at the time courts first developed practices to respond to DV at a time when no research was available. This is odd because until very recently the academic training for psychologists and psychiatrists provided no information about DV and even now discussion of intimate partner abuse in academic classes is extremely limited. The one profession that works full time on DV issues, receives extensive training and can provide the courts with exactly the information they need is domestic violence advocates. This should have been obvious and has now been confirmed by the US Department of Justice study led by Dr. Daniel Saunders.

Dr. Saunders found that the training court professionals need to respond effectively to domestic violence allegations includes screening for DV, risk assessment, post-separation violence and the impact of DV on children. This is exactly what DV advocates work on constantly and that is missing from so many of the evaluators and other professionals the courts listen to. Dr. Saunders found that advocates have better training and understanding of these issues than evaluators, judges and lawyers. The only reason courts continue to rely on less qualified professionals is because that is the way it has always been done. I have heard judges refuse to listen to an advocate because she did not have a degree, but there is no legal requirement for this specific qualification. In cases that require expertise about fixing cars, a court will routinely qualify an experienced auto mechanic, even one without a high school diploma.

Although the evidentiary laws about qualification of expert witnesses varies by state, the basic qualification is that by virtue of education, training or experience the witness has substantially more knowledge and expertise than a layperson regarding an issue of relevance to the court. By any reasonable interpretation, most DV advocates should easily qualify as expert witnesses in cases with allegations of DV

Nevertheless we have seen too many cases in which a judge refused to listen to an advocate saying the judge had many years of experience and already had sufficient knowledge about DV. The Saunders’ study demonstrates this is wrong. Furthermore a party has a right to put this information on the record. This is the only way to bring current scientific research before the court. Another common excuse is to claim that DV experts are biased because they “always oppose domestic violence.” In other words they support existing laws. Ironically, courts routinely qualify evaluators who are part of the cottage industry that makes its money supporting abusive fathers. They frequently appoint professionals from the cottage industry as GALs and evaluators and treat them as if they were neutral. And these professionals are seeking to undermine the laws designed to take domestic violence seriously. If there was a case involving arson fires, the court would have no trouble qualifying an expert in arson which would likely be someone from the firefighting community. No one would think to disqualify a firefighter because they always oppose arson. The difference is that arson has always been a crime; the firefighting community is overwhelmingly male and in our still sexist society we tend to place more value on what men say; and there are no arsonist rights groups.

I have an unusual level of qualifications and expertise as an expert in domestic violence. I have written or edited some of the leading books in the field. I have been an instructor in a batterer program since 1999. I have worked directly with well over 1000 battered women and well over 1000 batterers. I have worked in the movement since 1983. I have been qualified as an expert in NY, NJ, CA, ND and NM. I am trying to provide more court testimony in order to promote the practice of courts hearing from genuine DV experts in cases involving DV allegations. Eventually I hope that advocates from the local dv agency can serve as the experts so protective mothers will have access to this expertise. Under present rules they should qualify. Given the Saunders’ study and other recent research, it should soon be routine for courts to hear from DV experts in DV custody cases. Imagine if courts start to regularly hear accurate information and research.


We won our relocation case ...The judge understood everything! …I am so happy. She said she found it so "disturbing" that the DV was so minimized (probably a side eye to the GAL) because she doesn't think that DV just goes away because the parties don't live together. That he took no responsibility, no accountability, didn't do the therapy, continued to have excuse after excuse and that there are new allegations about his home life don't speak to any meaningful change. I mean it was all so beautiful.

Client, IL

In a time where there is no shortage of misconceptions and a general lack of understanding surrounding domestic abuse and the effects of trauma on survivors and their children within local justice systems, Barry Goldstein has the experience and expertise to shed light on this very important issue. Having personally worked with Mr. Goldstein as an expert witness, I can speak to the justice that occurs for abuse survivors and the children at issue as a direct result of Mr. Goldstein's insight and expert opinions contributing to the evidence before the court. I highly recommend Mr. Goldstein for any party or attorney in need of an expert to establish the dynamics of abuse and effects of trauma for their bench officer.

Sarah Yacoub, Esq., Equal Justice Inc., WI

Thank you for your unwavering patience and support through this difficult process. The judge provided her ruling yesterday ... I got the move away and they kept the restraining order in place for both my daughter and me. I could not hold back my tears as the judge read specific messages of harassment from my ex-husband in her ruling. It was very hard to listen to…Even though we did not end up requiring your testimony, the fact that we had presented you as a witness kept the opposing counsel on their heels. Thanks so much, God bless both of you.

Client, CA

The judge listened to Barry and the relevant info…Thanks to you both for your fantastic work on this case and the support.

Thea Gilbert, Esq., AZ

I just wanted to say thank you for your testimony yesterday. I know that the judge prides herself on her knowledge of DV but the information you provided I believe made her take a step back and rethink what she is going to do in this matter.

Attorney, CA