ITEM #:  1032482101   |   EVENT CODE:  343512

You may use your Pass to register for the live webcast at no charge.

Monday, March 15, 2021 - Tuesday, March 16, 2021

8:45 AM - 5:00 PM   |   Check-In:  8:00 AM

In-Person Passholders – You may use your Pass to register for the live webcast at no charge.

2021 Family Law Institute

Minnesota’s Biggest and Best Family Law Event Is Completely Online in 2021!

Viewing the 2021 Family Law Institute is the best way to ensure that you are completely up to date on all the latest cases, legislation and other new developments in Minnesota family law. It also provides practical instruction on dozens of important topics, as well as extensive written materials. Check out the schedule and make plans to join us online at this year’s Institute.

Powered by the EventMobi platform, the 2021 Family Law Institute will feature . . .

  • The Annual Case Law and Legislative Update
  • 50+ New and Updated Sessions
  • Multiple Perspectives on the Impact of Pandemic
  • Tips for Practicing Family Law Online

Plus these bonus benefits:

  • $50 in Minnesota CLE Bonus Bucks
  • 6 Post-Conference Webcasts
  • Access to All Breakouts for 1 Year Following the Institute (not for CLE credit)
  • And More!
Day 1 – Monday, March 15, 2021

8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
2021 Family Law Update
Gary Debele presents a broad overview of significant developments in Minnesota family law and an update on national trends.
– Gary A. Debele

10:00 – 10:10 a.m.

10:10 – 10:55 a.m.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Family Law Practice – Working with Clients, Facing New Issues and Evaluating Your Practice   
– Traci A. Capistrant, Merlyn L. Meinerts, Lindsey E. O’Connell & Amy E. Sauter
– Dana K. McKenzie (moderator)

10:55 – 11:00 a.m.

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Children and Families – Mental Health and Development, Education, and Coordinating Safety Measures between Households
– Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, G. Bryan Fleming & Dr. Jordan Hart
– Dr. Kirsten Lysne (moderator)

11:45 – 11:50 a.m.

11:50 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.
The Impact of the Pandemic on the Courts and Litigation – Virtual Hearings and Trials, Tips for Remote Advocacy and the Transition Back to “Normal”
– Judge Heidi M. Chandler, Judge Mark R. Ireland & Judge Richelle M. Wahi
– Referee Jason T. Hutchison (moderator)

12:35 – 1:30 p.m.

12:45 – 1:15 p.m.
Online Networking Activity – See Your Family Law Friends and Make New Ones!

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Overview of Your First Divorce

2-hour session
– Laurie A. Mack-Wagner & Lymari J. Santana

Parent-Child Contact Problems – Part I: Building a Tool-Kit

Some of the most difficult cases we face occur when a child resists or refuses contact with a parent. In these cases, conventional wisdom typically does not work.  This session provides an overview of why these "resist/refuse" cases are different, what makes them so challenging, and the tools every family law attorney needs to be able to deal with them more effectively. An expert panel of a judge, an attorney, and a psychologist will discuss the following themes: The consequences (to the children) of doing nothing; Why a whole-family approach is necessary; Why a provider "team" is necessary; and Why time is of the essence.
– Leslie M. Drozd, Ph.D., Jennifer E. Joseph & The Honorable Marjori A. Slabach

Late-Stage College Planning and Divorce

College planning is a complex process for married couples who have children – let alone for those parents who are divorcing, divorced or were never married. There is no purchase as significant as college that families comparatively know as little about, and understanding this hot topic better will elevate you and your practice. We will explore financial aspects of college planning, review relevant statutes and case law, and share tips and cost-saving strategies.
– Marian E. Saksena & Chris Wills

Spousal Maintenance and Retirement: Lessons from Recent Case Law

Insights from recent cases into how retirement impacts spousal maintenance obligations.
– Taylor N. Jordan & D. Patrick McCullough

Real Estate 101 for Divorce Lawyers

This session will cover the flow of a real estate transaction from start to finish, and common problems seen in transactions involving divorce and proposed solutions from a real estate agent’s perspective. 
– Christian Peterson

Judicial and Attorney Insights on Emergency Motions

Perspectives on temporary motions, ex parte motions and emergency motions from The Honorable Paula Vraa, Judge of District Court, and Katie Lammers, family law attorney. This course will cover the mechanics for filing the motions, when or if emergency relief is appropriate, ex parte versus emergency relief, strategies for temporary motion relief and what the judge really thinks when the motion crosses her desk. 
– Kathryn M. Lammers, Judge Jessica J.W. Maher & Judge Paula Vraa

Tips for Making Your Virtual Hearing a Success

Two family lawyers and a judicial officer share their advice for succeeding at virtual hearings.
– Alexandra M. Connell, Referee James J. Street & Thomas W. Tuft

What Can I Say? Doubling Down on Confidentiality

1.0 ethics credit applied for
From obligations to former clients, to potential malpractice claims, to loose lips, to blogging and social media, confidentiality seems to be on the mind of the Minnesota Lawyers Board and the ABA. This seminar will take a look at how the interpretations of Rule 1.6 are shifting and what lawyers should look out for.
– Eric T. Cooperstein

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Overview of Your First Divorce (continued)

Parent-Child Contact Problems – Part II: A User’s Guide for Your New Tool-Kit

2-hour session
Building on the themes explored in Part I, this session takes a closer look at the different components of the practitioner's tool-kit for cases in which a child resists or refuses contact with a parent.  The expert panel offers practical tips and strategies for dealing with these cases, including: Building an effective team to work with the whole family; What therapist/s can (and cannot) do in these cases; Working with opposing counsel; Engaging the Judicial Officer; Developing effective service agreements and court orders as well as measures of accountability; and What to do when a case involves domestic abuse or trauma.
– Leslie M. Drozd, Ph.D., Jennifer E. Joseph & The Honorable Marjori A. Slabach

The Effective Use of Vocational Experts in Litigated Cases

Mark Raderstorf, a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, will: Explain the purpose and stages of vocational evaluations; Identify features of cases that are well-suited for vocational evaluations; Review what vocational evaluations should and should not include; Share advice for preparing clients for vocational evaluations; and Offer techniques to maximize the vocational expert’s impact during deposition and live testimony.
– Jennifer Bey, Tanya Dyer & Mark Raderstorf

How Domestic Abuse Impacts the Interests of the Child

Focus on the impact of domestic abuse on custody and parenting time determinations; Discussion of definition of domestic abuse under Minnesota law; History of the best interest factor regarding domestic abuse and its impact on custody and parenting time determinations; Domestic abuse between parents and its impact on custody and parenting time (including discussion of Thornton v. Bosquez, 933 N.W.2d 781 (Minn. 2019)); Domestic abuse between a parent and child(ren) – how does this impact custody and parenting time determinations under the best interest standard?; and Impact of certain criminal convictions on custody and parenting time – Minn. Stat. 518.179.
– Adam J. Blahnik & Mallory K. Stoll

Who Gets the House? And Related Real Estate Basics in Family Law

The presentation will cover issues relating to non-marital interests in real property, calculating non-marital interests and related issues (such as taking into account the impact of improvements made to real property over the course of the marriage), issues pertaining to potential exclusive use and possession of a marital home during the course of dissolution, and issues pertaining to the impact of rental property in a dissolution (such as income, potential business interests, and related issues). 
– Joshua N. Brekken

To Bates or Not to Bates? Organizing for Trial at the Start of Your Case

Ever wonder if there is a better and less stressful way of organizing your family law case from the start so you are not scrambling to prepare for trial at the last minute? If so, this session is a must. We will discuss various methods used to set up trial books, case preparation, and identifying gaps from the beginning of the case so you are well poised for settlement negotiations or able to conduct an effective (aka organized)  trial that doesn’t leave you in a panic at the end.   
– Johanna P. Clyborne & Samantha J. Gemberling

Trial by Zoom: 9 Tips for Trying Your Next Case Remotely
A judicial officer and an experienced family lawyer share their best tips for trying cases remotely.
– Jana A. Deach & Referee Holly B. Knight

The Ethics of Virtual Family Law Practice

1.0 ethics credit applied for
Insights from the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and an experienced family lawyer about how to maintain ethical standards while practicing online.
– Susan M. Humiston & Susan C. Rhode

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Parent-Child Contact Problems – Part II: A User’s Guide for Your New Tool-Kit (continued)

Your First Divorce: Custody, Parenting Time, and Screening for Domestic Violence Issues

– Mary Pat Byrn & Liselotte D. Schluender

How to Avoid the Top 7 Tax Mistakes Family Lawyers Make

Tax law is complicated, and mistakes in divorce cases can be very costly. Attorney and C.P.A. Claudia Revermann reviews the top 7 mistakes that family lawyers make in divorce cases from the simple (filing status elections) to the more complex (protecting your clients from a spouse's bad tax acts). You’ll learn how to avoid making these mistakes and gain a greater understanding of how the tax code impacts divorcing couples.
– Claudia M. Revermann

3 Hot Topics in Spousal Maintenance: Post-Marriage Assets, Needs of the Recipient and Cohabitation

– Kristy A. Mara & Joani C. Moberg

Joint Ownership of Real Property in the Family

This seminar will cover topics including: Differences in the types of joint ownership of real property; Options for removing a non-owner from a home, including eviction; Actions in partition to terminate joint ownership; and Issues arising from financing provided by family members.
– Julie N. Nagorski & Barbara J. Seibel

Judicial Officers’ Panel: How Family Lawyers Can Be More Effective in My Courtroom

Insights from three judicial officers about how to be more effective when appearing in court, plus introduction to Judge Rachna Sullivan.
– Referee Joshua J. Ogunleye, Judge Nelson L. Peralta, Referee Richard A. Stebbins & Judge Rachna Sullivan
– Margaux C. Soeffker (moderator)

Online Mediation, Custody Evaluations and Parenting Consultant Best Practices

1.0 ADR credit
A review of tools and resources that professionals are using to take their practices online.
– Carl J. Arnold & Janeen L. Massaros

How to Respond (and Not Panic) If You Receive an Ethics Complaint 

1.0 ethics credit applied for
Hear from a fellow family law attorney, who received three complaints against him in the same case (all dismissed), and an Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility attorney about what to do, and what not to do, if an ethics complaint is filed against you. 
– Edward R. Shaw & Alicia J. Smith

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.
ONLINE RECEPTION – Learn How to Make 3 Classic Cocktails!

Day 2 – Tuesday, March 16, 2021

8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(includes one 15-minute break)
The Eugene L. Kubes Annual Case Law and Legislative Update
A comprehensive and indispensable review of the most important cases, issues and trends in family law and legislation.
– Ryan D. Anderson, Michael P. Boulette, Michael D. Dittberner, Zachary A. Kretchmer, Mary C. Lauhead, Sara J. Lauthen, Dana K. McKenzie, Shawn C. Reinke, Melissa A. Rossow & Victoria M.B. Taylor 

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Online Trivia Game – Play to Win Big Prizes!

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Your First Divorce: Property Division
– Katie E. Merkel & Michelle L. Travers

2021 Social Science Update: What the Latest Research Tells Us About Kids and Parenting

– Mindy F. Mitnick

Retirement Survivor Benefits and Other Great Mysteries

A closer look at retirement survivor benefits and other issues related to retirement plans.
– Thomas M. Hughes

2021 Parentage Update

– Michael P. Boulette

Mediation in the Context of Domestic Violence: A Discussion Guide for Mediators and Attorneys

1.0 ADR credit
– Loretta M. Fredrick, Jennifer E. Joseph & Thomas W. Tuft

Family ADR During the Pandemic

1.0 ADR credit
Four experienced ADR professionals discuss how they moved their practices online and what they have learned from doing so.
– Kevin J. McGrath, Susan C. Rhode & Steven B. Schmidt
– Andrea K. Niemi (moderator)

The Power of Mindful Lawyering

This session provides an introduction to the practice of mindfulness – a natural capability of awareness that can be cultivated through training. Learn about how mindfulness can enhance your powers of observation and creativity, promote greater balance and emotional intelligence in charged conflict situations, and reduce the harmful effects of stress. This session will involve some experiential tastes of mindfulness meditation practice.
– Robert Zeglovitch

Elimination of Bias: The Impact of the Opioid Crisis and How We Can Respond

1.0 elimination of bias credit applied for
The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on our country, and its effects have reverberated throughout the legal system, including in family and juvenile courts. Michael Daub will discuss they ways in which family lawyers may encounter opioid-related issues in their clients, practices and communities. He will also discuss the moralization of addiction, how we do not value people who have substance use disorders and the stigma and shame of drug addiction which often prevents people from seeking help. Finally, he will offer advice for identifying potential addiction issues and responding to people who need help.
– Michael H. Daub

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Your First Divorce: Spousal Maintenance
– Elizabeth Due & Robert W. Due

Behind the Curtain: Working with Counties on Child Support Cases

Have you ever wondered why your client’s case has county involvement? Have you ever wondered whether to serve the county with your client’s custody and parenting time action? Have you ever gotten a phone call from an assistant county attorney asking you to modify the court order you just obtained? Join some Assistant County Attorneys behind the curtains to learn why the county is involved in these cases and how to work with the county to benefit your clients.
– Shanika S. Alston, Rachelle R. Drakeford & Heather M. Roy

How to Use Excel to Optimize Your Balance Sheets

– Andrew F. Brower

Lexi’s Case: Minnesota’s First Quad-Parent Adoption

Increasing use of assisted reproductive technologies and open adoption, coupled with the recognition of same-sex marriage, have redefined the meaning of “family.” Attorney Jason Brown will discuss his recent experience in successfully concluding an adoption involving four parents. The family dynamics are as interesting as the legal issues involved in Lexi’s case.
– Jason C. Brown

Direct and Cross Examination of Domestic Abuse Expert Witnesses in Family Court

2-hour session
Because it is important for judicial officers to understand the characteristics of domestic violence, an attorney may consider using an expert in domestic violence. But who would make a good expert? How does one qualify an expert? And how do I make sure I am asking the correct questions to make the most of my expert’s testimony? In this session, you will learn: Who qualifies as a Domestic Abuse Expert Witness; How to qualify the Domestic Abuse Expert Witness during the trial of family court cases using MN Rule of Evidence 702; How to explain to the judicial officer the "Counterintuitive", the “Tough and Bad Facts" of the case; and How to ask questions to the Domestic Abuse Expert Witness and how to answer questions from the attorney in direct-examination and in cross-examination.
– Rana S. Alexander, Margaret Bassett, Marie José Brizard & Maricarmen Garza

From Defending to Blending: Combining Our Best Ideas to Create a Dynamic ADR Practice

1.0 ADR credit
The evolution of innovative family law methods to include mediation, collaboration, interdisciplinary practice and ENEs, has given divorcing people a wealth of new options to help them tailor their divorce to their particular needs. At the same time, the rapid growth of self-representation and unbundling shows that clients are demanding even further innovation in order to help them understand how divorce professionals can truly help them reshape their family. In order to remain relevant in this changing landscape, family law professionals will need to move away from simply defending their current methods to blending the best options for helping clients design their future. This workshop will provide an overview of our current innovations as well as fresh ideas about how to create and maintain a dynamic ADR practice for the next generation.
– Ron Ousky

The Busyness Trap: How to Reduce Overload and Create Space for Things that Matter

The path to being a diligent and effective lawyer involves reducing overload and creating space for things that matter. Yet the emphasis on billable hours and "presenteeism" continue to prevail in the legal industry. Lawyers who work more and stay longer at the office – often at the expense of their personal health and well being – are typically viewed as more successful, productive and committed. But when you're in the busyness trap, you are less able to do high-quality work, think creatively, and solve problems with the greatest impact and least resistance. In this presentation, you will learn effective ways to: Cultivate productive habits by focusing on your top priorities, limiting your to-dos, keeping a startup and shutdown routine, and matching your tasks to your energy cycles; Tackle the problem of facetime cultures and 24/7 accessibility by setting realistic expectations and healthy boundaries; Collaborate and communicate in moderation without having emails, phone calls, meetings and interruptions take over your day; and Take restful breaks and regain lost momentum on important projects.
– Dyan Williams

Elimination of Bias: Suicide Awareness and Prevention

1.0 elimination of bias credit applied for
The stress lawyers face is a predictor for depression and untreated depression is the #1 predictor for suicide. Lawyers also must deal with the fact that clients can be suicidal. This program will help you understand the facts and myths about suicide, recognize signs and indicators for clinical depression, anxiety and suicide and provide resources and a protocol for offering and seeking help to prevent suicide.
– Faith Amdahl & Joan M. Bibelhausen

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Direct and Cross Examination of Domestic Abuse Expert Witnesses in Family Court (continued)

Your First Divorce: Determining Child Support
– R. Leigh Frost & Barbara J. Seibel

Demystifying Child and Adolescent Therapy

This session will present information about resources available to help children cope with separation and divorce. Topics include when and how to make a referral, therapeutic options for children, and how to work with a child-therapist without placing them in an impossible situation or ethical quagmire.
– Samantha Colai, Kent M. Kodalen, Ph.D. & Mindy F. Mitnick

Don’t Leave $ On the Table – Analyze Proposals Like a Financial Expert

Financial considerations to take into account when reviewing a property settlement proposal; What red flags to look for when reviewing a property settlement proposal/balance sheet (presented through a case study); When and how to leverage financial experts.
– Michelle M. Klisanich, Corey J. O’Connell & Courtney J. Schneider

10 Things Every Family Lawyer Should Know About Minnesota Adoption Law

– Jody D. Alholinna, Brittany L. Shively & Bria S. Walling

Building the Best SENE

1.0 ADR credit
Two experienced family law ADR providers will share the steps attorneys can take to ensure that the unique needs and dynamics of individual families are met in the Social Early Neutral Evaluation process.
– Susan Stevens Chambers & James J. Goetz

Creating Physical Space for a Mental Break: How a Basic Yoga Practice Can Support a Busy Family Lawyer

This session will be a mixed presentation of ideas, tips, deep breaths and short movement practices intended to help busy lawyers in the pursuit of balance and well-being. No mat or special attire required.
– Elissa R. Meyer

Elimination of Bias: Religion and Politics – Mediating Values-Based Disputes

1.0 elimination of bias credits applied for
1.0 ADR credit

Discussions about politics and religion often devolve into passionate – and sometimes fraught – discourse. "Values-Based" or "Identity-Based" disputes can seem unresolvable and polarizing. As a mediator, these disputes can be even more challenging when we hold an opinion that threatens our impartiality. Through the use of core ADR practices, such as interest identification and reframing, mediators (and attorney representatives too) can foster mutual understanding and resolution between parties with differing points of view. Join our co-presenters for a review of best practices for dispute-resolvers in situations where values or identity play a significant role.
– Elise M. Chambers & Alexander S. Glassman

Monday-Tuesday, March 15-16, 2021
Attend online

There are no replays.

$495 MSBA members / $495 paralegals / $595 standard rate

Other discounts that may apply:

Scholarships available!
Need-based scholarships are available for in-person and online seminars. For further information or to obtain a scholarship application, contact us at 800-759-8840 or customerservice@minncle.org.

Minnesota CLE is applying to the Minnesota State Board of CLE for 12.0 CLE credits. Minnesota CLE also has applied for the following:

  • 1.0 ethics credit each for sessions 108, 207 and 307
  • 1.0 elimination of bias credit each for sessions 408, 508 and 607

The maximum number of total credits attendees may claim for this program is 12.0 credits.

In addition to CLE credit, sessions 306, 405, 406, 506 and 605 also qualify for ADR credit.


You may use your Pass to register for the live webcast at no charge.