Gary A. Debele

Attorney

Minneapolis

612-672-3667

gdebele@messerlikramer.com

Assistant: Lisa Olson

612-672-3620

Profile

Gary Debele is a 1987 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and since 1991 has focused his practice on a uniquely broad and all encompassing conception of family law. Through his membership in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Law Attorneys, and the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, he has built relationships with professionals in his areas of family law expertise across the United States and across the globe.

His family law practice includes not only the usual areas of divorce, custody, and parentage, but also several specialized areas that many family law practitioners avoid. He has represented clients with large and complex closely held family businesses, often with accompanying sophisticated estate planning vehicles. He has been involved with divorces and custody disputes with interstate and international aspects. With particular expertise in the interplay of juvenile and family court, he is also experienced in juvenile court practice and can address child protection issues that might spill into anyone’s family court proceeding.

In addition to assisting with family and relationship breakdowns, he has a sophisticated family formation practice which has him working in all aspects of adoption—from the simplest stepparent adoption to complex interstate and international adoptions, and even contested adoptions and adoptions that are dissolving. Gary works with all aspects of assisted reproduction and surrogacy, drafting donor contracts for all varieties of genetic material, gestational carrier and traditional surrogate contracts; and works to establish parentage in all of those situations, whether within the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, across the country or internationally.

Gary assists clients with appeals at all levels of state and federal courts. He is also a certified mediator and member of the Collaborative Law Institute, assisting clients who wish to avoid litigation.

Gary is experienced with estate planning for small to moderate sized estate, guardianship provisions for children, and prenuptial, postnuptial, or cohabitation agreements. He also handles matters in tribal court including those associated with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Representative Experience
  • Represented all manner of family law clients in more than 50 appeals before the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals, as well as numerous appeals at the Minnesota Department of Human Services resulting in significant appellate decisions affecting adoption, litigation leading to the creation of the Minnesota Father’s Adoption Registry, child protection, relocation issues in divorce, and third-party custody.

  • Represented numerous clients at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court on matters including spousal maintenance; First Amendment free speech and religious liberty issues; third-party custody; dissipation of assets; business valuation; and custody and parenting time.

  • Represented aunt and uncle seeking custody of their niece and nephew before the Minnesota Supreme Court, establishing a seminal precedent and leading to a revision of Minnesota’s third-party custody and visitation statutes.

  • Represented owner of large closely-held business in divorce that included a billion-dollar estate with multi-generational estate plans, high-conflict and high-stakes litigation and requiring coordination with multiple advisors,  with the result being obtaining successful resolution without publicity or disruption to the business. 

  • Represented numerous clients residing in other states (e.g., Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, California) or countries (e.g., Lebanon, Kuwait, France, Venezuela)  with divorce and custody matters, addressing implications under the Hague Convention and Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in state and federal courts.

  • Represented members of Indian tribes located throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, in matters involving divorce, custody, paternity, adoption, surrogacy, child welfare, conservatorships and guardianships, and complex jurisdiction disputes, including one case  requiring representation of a  tribal member client in tribal court, a Canadian provincial court, federal district court, and state district court all in the same divorce proceeding. 

  • Represented adoptive parents, foster parents, birth parents, children, and adoption agencies involved in all kinds of adoptions  —  ranging from the simplest step-parent, relative, and adult adoptions, to complex state ward adoptions involving foster children and governmental entities, complex interstate and direct placement adoptions, and also international adoptions and litigated adoptions.

  • Represented many intended parents, gestational carriers, traditional surrogates, and donors of genetic material in a whole variety of assisted reproduction matters, including  drafting complex contracts to address all aspects of assisted reproduction,  assisting in legal proceedings to establish parentage through  a variety of legal proceedings in various judicial venues, and helping to protect clients’ stored genetic material  in the event of death or divorce.

  • Represented parents and children in various juvenile proceedings involving child protection investigations and threatened terminations of parental rights, maltreatment findings and appeals, removals of children from the family home, child protection issues in family court, and threatened criminal charges.  Cases have included children injured in daycare settings, shaken baby allegations, intra-family sexual abuse allegations, with many of these cases requiring working with criminal defense attorneys and forensic evidence and experts.

  • Represented gay and lesbian clients over the years in various family law issues, including drafting cohabitation agreements, litigating complex and challenging custody and parenting time issues,  completing many second parent adoptions  before the adoption code specifically allowed for these, and now working with same sex couples to address their family law needs in a  post Obergefel (legalized same sex marriage) world.

  • Represented clients with modest estates who have just divorced or who have built families through adoption or assisted reproduction and who are in need of basic  estate planning instruments such as simple wills, health care declarations, powers of attorney, and funeral and burial directives. 

 

Publications & Presentations

Publications

  • Co-Author, “Legal Issues Surrounding Embryos and Gametes: What Family Law Practitioners Need to Know” – Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 701, 2018

  • Co-Author, “Shifting Ethical and Social Conundrums and ‘Stunningly Anachronistic’ Laws: What Lawyers in Adoption and Assisted Reproduction May Want to Consider” – Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 101, 2017

  • Editor, The Complete Family Lawyer’s Quick Answer Book – Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2015

  • Author, “Third Party Custody” – The Complete Family Lawyer’s Quick Answer Book, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2015

  • Author, “Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Technology” – The Complete Family Lawyer’s Quick Answer Book, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2015

  • Reviewer, “Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family” – Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 491, 2015

  • Co-Author, “Ethical Issues in Assisted Reproduction: A Primer for Family Law Attorneys” – Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 289, 2015

  • Author, “Family Law Issues for Same-Sex Couples in the Aftermath of Minnesota’s Same-Sex Marriage Law: A Family Law Attorney’s Perspective” – William Mitchell Law Review 157, 2014

  • Reviewer, “Intimate Associations: the Law and Culture of American Families” – Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 257, 2014-2015

  • Editor, The Family Law 50: The 50 Cases Every Family Law Lawyer Must Know Inside and Out – Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2012

  • Author, “Third Party Custody” – The Family Law 50: The 50 Cases Every Family Law Lawyer Must Know Inside and Out, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2012

  • Author, “Adoption and ARTS” – The Family Law 50: The 50 Cases Every Family Law Lawyer Must Know Inside and Out, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2012

  • Editor, Minnesota Custody and Child Support Deskbook – Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Second Edition, 2011

  • Author, “The History of Custody” – Minnesota Custody and Child Support Deskbook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Second Edition, 2011

  • Co-Author, “Tribal Court Practice and the Indian Child Welfare Act in Minnesota” – Minnesota Custody and Child Support Deskbook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Second Edition, 2011

  • Author, “Third Party Custody” – Minnesota Custody and Child Support Deskbook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Second Edition, 2011

  • Co-Author, “Child Abuse Allegations in Custody Cases” – Minnesota Custody and Child Support Deskbook, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Second Edition, 2011

Presentations

  • Presenter, “Overview of Assisted Reproduction: History, Basic Concepts & Setting the Context” – American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Annual Meeting, November 9, 2018

  • Co-Presenter, “Same-Sex Issues in Minnesota Family Law” – Fourth Judicial District Fall Bench Retreat, November 2, 2018

  • Presenter, “Ethics and Dealing with the Alleged Birth Father” – American Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys 2018 Annual Conference, April 30, 2018

  • Presenter, “Indian Child Welfare Act: Avoiding Litigation and Settlement with Tribes” – American Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys 2018 Annual Conference, April 29, 2018

  • Main Plenary Speaker, “2018 Family Law Update” – 39th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 26, 2018

  • Presenter, “Contested Adoption Proceedings in Juvenile Court: A Review of the Statutes and Practical Pointers” – Hennepin County Bar Association, February 27, 2018

  • Facilitator, “Law & Literature: Legal Ethics & Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, February 22, 2018

  • Co-Presenter, “What is the Standard of Care? How Various State Statutes And Professional Guidelines Address ARTS Ethics Issues — And Why You Should Care” – Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys Webinar, January 10, 2018

  • Presenter and Course Co-Chair, “Same-Sex Issues in Minnesota Family Law” – Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE, November 2017

  • Presenter, “Assisted Reproduction and Family Law” – Family Law Section of the Olmsted County Bar Association, October 10, 2017

  • Co-Presenter, “Modern Day Matchmaking in Assisted Reproduction: Ethics and Standards of Practice” – Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys Mid-Year Conference, September 17, 2017

  • Co-Presenter, “Avoiding A Mad Tea Party: Malpractice 101 for ARTS Attorneys” – Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys Mid-Year Conference, September 17, 2017

  • Presenter, “Inside Minnesota’s Child Protection System: What Works and What Doesn’t Work” – Minnesota CLE, May 30, 2017

  • Co-Presenter, “What is the ‘Standard of Care’ for Assisted Reproduction: the Ongoing Evolution of Professional Ethics and Liability and Why You Should (Really) Care” – American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys Annual Conference, May 10, 2017

  • Presenter, “Surrogacy and the Indian Child Welfare Act: the Next 25 Years in Indian Law – Cutting-Edge Issues” – 2017 Indian Law Conference, May 5, 2017

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, April 6, 2017

  • Presenter, “How to Make the Transition from Associate to Partner/Owner in a Family Law Practice” – 38th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 22, 2017

  • Main Plenary Speaker, “2017 Family Law Update” – 38th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 21, 2017

  • Course Chair and Co-Presenter, “Advanced Family Law Series: The Interplay of Juvenile Court and Family Court: Practice, Procedure, and What All Family Law Attorneys Must Know” – Minnesota CLE, December 1, 2016

  • Course Chair and Co-Presenter, “Advanced Family Law Series: The Indian Child Welfare Act: New Guidelines and BIA Regulations and Federal Court Challenges to ICWA” – Minnesota CLE, December 1, 2016

  • Co-Presenter, “Family Law Series: Child Custody Deskbook – Adoption and ART Law: Creating Families by Traditional and Non-Traditional Means” – Minnesota CLE, November 30, 2016

  • Presenter, “Family Law Series: Child Custody Deskbook – Alternative Custody and Abuse Allegations in Custody Cases” – Minnesota CLE, November 22, 2016

  • Plenary Co-Presenter, “Ethics in Adoption and ARTS: Evaluating Decisions, What Duties Are Owed, and Whose Interests Are Served” – American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys Mid-Year Conference, September 24, 2016

  • Presenter, “The Complete Lawyer Series: Adoption Law and ARTS Law” – Minnesota CLE, July 27, 2016

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 16, 2016

  • Presenter, “Adoption Law and ARTS Law” – The Complete Lawyer, May 11, 2016

  • Lecturer, “Legal Aspects of Third Party Reproduction: Issues Surrounding the Use and Handling of Cryopreserved Genetic Material and Other Topics” – Mayo Clinic: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Didactics Program, May 11, 2016

  • Presenter, “Update on the Indian Child Welfare Act: Appellate Case Law in the States after Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl – Trends and Controversies” – Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, May 5, 2016

  • Presenter, “Out of the Freezer and Into the Divorce: What Family Law Attorneys Need to Know about Cryopreserved Genetic Material” – 37th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 29, 2016

  • Presenter, “The Creation, Storage, and Use of Genetic Materials in Assisted Reproduction: What Divorce Lawyers Needs to Know” – International Academy of Family Lawyers, USA and Canadian Chapters Annual Meeting, February 4, 2016

  • Presenter, “Family Law Series: Receiverships and Divorce” – Minnesota CLE, November 20, 2015

  • Course Chair and Presenter, “The Complete Family Lawyer: Answers to 101 Questions in 16 Areas of Family Law” – Minnesota CLE, November 18, 2015

  • Co-Presenter, “Unlocking the Secrets of Chambers Conferences” – Walling, Berg & Debele, P.A., October 13, 2015

  • Presenter, “Embryo Planning in the Context of Parentage, Divorce, and Death: Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth a Pound of Cure?” – American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys, October 6, 2015

  • Course Chair & Presenter, “Minnesota’s New Family Laws” – Minnesota CLE, August 24, 2015

  • Presenter, “A Brief History of Minnesota’s Child Protection System” – Inside Minnesota’s Child Protection System: How New Reforms Will Better Protect Children, Minnesota CLE, August 10, 2015

  • Co-Presenter, “Complex Civil Jurisdiction Issues in Tribal Court: The Teague Factors and Beyond” – 2015 Indian Law Conference, May 15, 2015

  • Presenter, “Adoption Law (and ARTS)” – The Complete Lawyer: Answers to 101 Questions Asked by Your Clients, Family, and Friends, Minnesota CLE, May 6, 2015

  • Co-Presenter, “Juvenile Protection Law In Minnesota” – Minnesota CLE, April 20, 2015

  • Co-Presenter, ”Smoke Screen or Fire: Sexual Abuse Allegations in Family Court – Part II: Legal Issues and Judicial Involvement” – AFCC-MN Chapter, February 20, 2015

  • Presenter, “Representing Children in Juvenile, Probate, and Family Court” – Advising the Disadvantaged 2015, Minnesota CLE, February 4, 2015

  • Keynote Speaker, “How to Earn a Good Reputation as a New Lawyer” – The New Lawyer Experience, Minnesota CLE, January 29, 2015

  • Conference Course Chair and Co-Presenter, “Advanced Parentage Issues in 2014: Where Are We Now, How Did We Get Here, and Where Are We Going?” – Advanced Family Law 2014, Minnesota CLE, November 17, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “New Rules – Adoption Procedure and Juvenile Protection Procedure” – Minnesota CLE Family Law Series, November 11, 2014

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, October 3, 2014

  • Presenter, “Issues at the Start of Life: Parentage, Adoption, and Surrogacy – Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going” International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Annual Meeting, September 11, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “Assisted Reproduction: Parentage Determinations Across the 49th Parallel” – Federation of Law Societies of Canada, 2014 National Family Law Program, July 16, 2014

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 19, 2014

  • Presenter, “Planning in Light of Minnesota’s New Marriage Laws” – Financial Planning Association of Minnesota, June 17, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “Modern Family: Grandparent and Other Third Party Disputes in the United States and Canada” – 51st Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, May 29, 2014

  • Presenter, “Adoption Law (and ARTS)” – The Complete Lawyer: Answers to 101 Questions Asked by Your Clients, Family, and Friends, Minnesota CLE, May 15, 2014

  • Presenter, “Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl: Implications for Adoption Practice and the Future of the Indian Child Welfare Act” – 2014 American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Annual Conference, May 8, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “Custody and Parentage for Same-Sex Couples: Legal Issues, Litigation Strategies, and the New Gender Neutral Marriage Law” – 35th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 24, 2014

  • Moderator, “The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Minnesota Family Law” – 35th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 24, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “The Legal Status of LGBTQ Parents in an Era of Assisted Reproductive Technology” – University of Minnesota Law School and Law Students for Reproductive Justice, March 13, 2014

  • Presenter, “Representing Children in Juvenile, Probate, and Family Court” – Advising the Disadvantaged 2014, Minnesota CLE, January 29, 2014

  • Co-Presenter, “Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples – Special Planning Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls” – 2013 Probate & Estate Planning Flex Series, December 18, 2013

  • Presenter, “Divorce, Separation, Custody and Parentage for Same-Sex Couples: Legal Issues, Litigation Strategies, and the New Gender Neutral Marriage Law” – University of Minnesota Law School, November 18, 2013; Minnesota Guardian Ad Litem Training Institute, December 4, 2013

  • Course Chair and Moderator, “Advanced Family Law 2013” – Minnesota CLE, November 21, 2013

  • Co-Presenter, “Family Law Series: Child Custody Deskbook – The Indian Child Welfare Act and Tribal Courts in Minnesota” – Minnesota CLE, November 19, 2013

  • Presenter, “ARTS and Divorce: General Concepts and Considerations for ARTS Practitioners” – 2013 American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Technology Attorneys Mid-Year Conference, November 12, 2013

  • Co-Presenter, “Managing Client Expectations” – American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Minnesota Chapter, September 27, 2013

  • Presenter, “Domestic Adoption 101” – 2013 Family Building Conference, RESOLVE Midwest Region, September 21, 2013

  • Presenter, “The Impact of Minnesota’s New Gender Neutral Marriage Law: Family and Juvenile Court Proceedings” – Twin Cities Estate Planning Counsel, September 17, 2013; Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, September 19, 2013

  • Co-Presenter, “Custody and Parentage for Same Sex Couples: Legal Issues, Litigation Strategies, and the New General Neutral Marriage Law (Minnesota)” – AFCC-MN, September 4, 2013

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 14, 2013

  • Presenter, “Legal Issues Surrounding Per Capita Payments and other Distributions of Tribal Revenues: Taxation, Bankruptcy, and Divorce” – 2013 Indian Law Conference, June 7, 2013

  • Panel Moderator, “ICWA at the U.S. Supreme Court: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, Birth Father, and the Cherokee Nation” – 2013 Indian Law Conference, June 7, 2013

  • Presenter, “Family Law 50: Third-Party Custody Cases and Adoption/ARTS Cases” – 34th Annual Family Law Institute, March 20, 2013

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, March 15, 2013

  • Presenter, “Third Party Custody in Minnesota” – Dakota County Bar Association, March 12, 2013

  • Presenter and Panel Moderator, “Hot Topics in Family Law Appeals” – 7th Annual Appellate Practice Institute, March 8, 2013

  • Presenter, “The History of Adoption and Adoption Law Today” – Polish Genealogical Society of Minnesota, March 2, 2013

  • Co-Presenter, “Principles of Federal Indian Law Applicable to Family Law Issues in State Courts” – International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, US/Canada Chapter, Annual Meeting, February 14, 2013

  • Co-Presenter, “Paternity, Maternity, and Reproductive Technology: International Perspectives on the Changing Faces of Parenthood” – International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, US/Canada Chapter, Annual Meeting, February 14, 2013

  • Presenter, “Representing Children in Juvenile, Probate, and Family Court” – Advising the Disadvantaged I: A Toolkit for Pro Bono and Public Interest Attorneys, Minnesota CLE, February 5, 2013

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, January 18, 2013

  • Course Chair & Presenter, “The Family Law 50: The 50 Cases Every Family Lawyer Must Know Inside and Out” – November 29, 2012

  • Presenter, “Family Law Series: Child Custody Deskbook – Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Technology Law – Creating Families by Traditional and Non-Traditional Means” – Webcast, November 29, 2012

  • Presenter, “Interstate and International Family Law Matters: What you Need to Know to Tell Your Clients” – North Star Alliance Annual Meeting, October 11, 2012

  • Facilitator, “Literature & the Law – Ethics and Professionalism through the Lens of Literature” – 47th Annual Criminal Justice Institute, August 27, 2012

  • Presenter, “Adoption Law” – The Complete Lawyer: Answers to 101 Questions Asked by Your Clients, Family, and Friends, August 23, 2012

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, 21, 2011

  • Co-Presenter, “Issues in Assisted Reproduction Law in the United States and Canada” – 49th Annual Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, June 9, 2012

  • Presenter, “Legal Aspects of Adoption” – RESOLVE 2012 Family Building Conference, April 21, 2012

  • Moderator, “Basic Appellate Practice for Family Law Attorneys” and “Advanced Appellate Practice for Family Law Attorneys” – 33rd Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 26, 2012

  • Panelist, “Adoption Panel” – University of Minnesota Law School Diversity Week 2012, University of Minnesota Law School, March 8, 2012

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, February 17, 2012

  • Presenter, “Family Law Series: Adoption, Assisted Reproduction and Third Party Custody Arrangements: Building Families in the 21st Century” – Hennepin County Bar Association, 6-part webcast, November 10, 2011, December 8, 2011, February 9, 2012, March 8, 2012, April 12, 2012, and May 10, 2012

  • Facilitator, “Law and Literature: Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, December 16, 2011

  • Co-presenter, “Family Law Series: Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Law – Creating Families by Traditional and Non-Traditional Means” – November 22, 2011

  • Course Chairperson & Presenter, “Minnesota Child Custody Deskbook, 2nd Edition” – Minnesota CLE, October 26, 2011

  • Presenter, “Current Issues in Assisted Reproduction Technology” – Top 10 Current Challenges in Family Law, National Business Institute, October 12, 2011

  • Panelist, “Dealing with Difficult Lawyers, Clients, and Judges” – The New Lawyer Experience, Summer Session 2011, July 7, 2011

  • Co-Presenter, “Love and the Law: Drafting and Enforcing Premarital, Postmarital, and Cohabitation Agreements” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 29, 2011

  • Co-Presenter “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Child Custody Cases” – Minnesota CLE webcast, May 10, 2011

  • Presenter, “Avoiding Contested Adoptions When Possible; Litigating Contested Adoptions When Necessary: Tips and Strategies for Adoption Attorneys Handling Contested State Ward Adoptions” – 22nd Annual Conference of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, May 6, 2011

  • Facilitator, “Law, Literature, Legal Ethics, and Elimination of Bias” – 32nd Annual Family Law Institute, March 29, 2011

  • Presenter, “Managing High-Conflict Family Law Disputes as Problem Solvers” – 32nd Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 28, 2011

  • Lecturer, “When Parents Can’t Parent Their Children: Third Party Custody, CHIPS Proceedings, De Facto Custodians, Guardianship, and Adoption” – Hamline University Law School, March 17, 2011

  • Presenter, “Legal Aspects of Adoption” – Resolve Midwest Region, March 12, 2011

  • Presenter, “Managing Child Abuse Allegations in Custody Cases” – Volunteer Lawyers Network, February 25, 2011

  • Course Co-Chair & Presenter, “Strategies for Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Loss Prevention, Management, and Litigation Covering Disrupted and Wrongful Adoptions” – American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Mid-Year Meeting, October 14-15, 2010

  • Facilitator, “Law, Literature, Legal Ethics, and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 18, 2010

  • Co-Presenter, “257C: Third Party Custody and Non-Traditional Families” – Family Law for the Minnesota Judiciary 2010, June 8, 2010

  • Co-Presenter, “Training and Re-Training Lawyers to Manage High Conflict Family Law Disputes as Problem Solvers” – 47th Annual Conference, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, June 5, 2010

  • Presenter, “Interstate and International Custody and Parenting Time Issues” – 31st Annual Family Law Institute, March 23-24, 2010

  • Presenter, “Domestic Adoption 101” – Resolve’s 2010 Family Building Conference, Midwest Region, March 13, 2010

  • Facilitator, “Law, Literature, Legal Ethics, and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, February 18, 2010

  • Presenter, “Representing Children in Juvenile, Probate, and Family Court” – Advising the Disadvantaged I: A Toolkit for Pro Bono and Public Interest Attorneys, Minnesota CLE, February 16, 2010

  • Panelist, “Immigration Law and Family Law: Marriage, Divorce, Adoption and the Rights of Children” – Minnesota CLE, December 10, 2009

  • Course Chairperson and Presenter, “Solving the Most Difficult Problems in Divorce Cases: An Advanced Level Seminar” – Minnesota CLE, November 17, 2009

  • Presenter and Course Chairperson, “Interstate Custody Disputes: Understanding and Applying the UCCJEA” – International and Interstate Family Law Conflict: Custody, Parenting Time, and Child Support Issues, Hennepin County Bar Association, September 24, 2009

  • Presenter, “Legal Questions about Assisted Reproductive Technology: Drafting Agreements and Establishing Parentage” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 17, 2009

  • Facilitator, “Law, Literature, Legal Ethics and Elimination of Bias” – Hennepin County Bar Association, June 11, 2009

  • Presenter, “Tribal Court Practice in Child Protection and Custody Matters” – 46th Annual Conference, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, May 28, 2009

  • Presenter, “Negotiating and Litigating Step-Parent Adoptions, Disrupted Adoptions, and Contested Adoptions” – 30th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, March 30, 2009

Professional & Community

Admissions

  • Minnesota

  • Wisconsin

  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Tribal Court

  • Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Court

  • Lower Sioux Tribal Court

  • Upper Sioux Tribal Court

Certifications

  • Adoption Mediator, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

  • Mediator, Minnesota Court of Appeals Family Law Mediation Project

  • Qualified Neutral under Rule 114, Family & Civil Mediator, Minnesota Supreme Court

Associations

  • American Bar Association, Family Law, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Sections, Member

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Family Law, Elder Law, Probate and Trust Law Sections, Member

  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Family Law, Probate and Estate Law Sections, Member

  • Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, Special Member

  • National Native American Bar Association, Member

  • Wisconsin State Bar Association, Member

Honors & Distinctions
  • Fellow, International Academy of Family Lawyers, 2013-Present

  • Fellow, American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, Washington, D.C., Charter Member, 2009-Present

  • Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Chicago, IL, 1998-Present

  • Fellow, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Washington, D.C., 1996-Present

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability

  • Recognized Lawyer, The Best Lawyers in America©, 2001-2019

  • Top 100 Super Lawyer, Minnesota Law & Politics and Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2005-2018

  • Top 40 Minnesota Family Law and Appellate Attorney, Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2003-2018

  • Super Lawyer, Minnesota Law & Politics and Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 1998-2018

  • Family Law Lawyer of the Year in Minneapolis, Best Lawyers®, 2011

  • Top 10 Super Lawyer, Minnesota Law & Politics, 2009

  • Top 10 Super Lawyer, Minnesota Law & Politics, 2007

  • Century III Leadership Award, Cloquet Senior High School

  • Honors Graduate, Cloquet Senior High School, 1980

  • Representative, Presidential Classroom for Young Americans, Washington, D.C.

  • Junior Rotarian, Cloquet, Minnesota

  • Recipient, Junior Rotarian Scholarship