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MSBA Family Law Section
Annual Report
2011-12

Section Membership
As of June 22, 2011, the Family Law Section has 1065 members. 

Financial Status
Our section balance as of April 30, 2012 was $22,695.57.  After three fiscal years of expenses exceeding revenues, we reversed course and are on pace to spend approximately $8,000-10,000 less than our annual revenues for 2011-2012.  The bulk of the savings came from our decision to issue the vast majority of the Family Law Forum editions electronically, with a few remaining hard copies going to the Courts and our members who opted-in.  Now that we have a one-year test run under our belts, we can explore ideas over the summer regarding how to direct our newly created (hopefully annual) surplus.

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted 13 CLE programs in fiscal year 2011-12.  In addition to the monthly Saturday CLE programs, the Family Law Section co-sponsored the Family Law Institute with Minnesota CLE.

To encourage outstate participation in the Section and fostering networking for attorneys outside the metro, the Section offers satellite locations which teleconference or webcast into the meeting/CLE that is held at the MSBA.  All programs are offered at no cost to Section members.

Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees

9/10/2011

Can I Keep the Home?

159095 / 1.0 Standard

50

10/8/2011

Cooperative Practice: The Flexible ADR Framework

160609 / 1.0 Standard

41

11/12/2011

Paperless Office Protocol

161152 / 1.0 Standard

33

12/10/2011

What Every Divorce Lawyer Needs to Know About Assisted Reproduction

162652 / 1.0 Standard

36

12/10/2011

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

162937 /0.5 Standard

6

2/11/2012

The Fun of Working with Vocational Consultants

165569 / 1.0 Standard

49

2/11/2012

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

164774 /0.5 Standard

21

3/10/2012

Family Court Red Flags for Non USC Citizens/Dual Citizens

165334 / 1.0 Standard

44

3/10/2012

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

166347 / 0.5 Standard

15

4/14/2012

Lawyer Safety Issues for Family Lawyers

166810 / 1.0 Standard

25

4/14/2012

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

166811 /0.5 Standard

22

5/10/2012

Linking the Particular Features of Domestic Violence in a Custody Case to Parenting and to the Child's Needs and the Family Law Section's Annual Meeting

167574 / 1.0 EOB

35

5/10/2012

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

167575 /0.5 Standard

10

5/16/2012

The Marriage Amendment - Exploring the Potential Impacts on Law and Life

/ 2.0 EOB Applied For

31

Legislation and Amicus Briefs

The Family Law Section’s Legislative Committee worked on the following legislation in the 2011-12 session:

Bill

Status (as of 6/2012)

Family Law Section’s Position

HF322/SF1402 (Joint Physical Custody)

Passed by legislature, vetoed by governor

Opposed

HF473/SF1334 (Calculating Child Support Before Spousal Maintenance)

Not heard by Senate

Supported

HF292/SF498 (Parenting Plans/Custody Designation)

Not heard by Senate

Sought amendments

HF1135/SF1161 (Dissolution Education Before Filing)

Tabled

Sought amendments

HF2962/SF1966 (Waiting Period/Grounds for Divorce with Child(ren))

Tabled

Opposed

Hf2531/SF2244 (Judicial Parenting Plan Education/Mediation)

Tabled

Opposed

Amicus Briefs:

The Family Law Section submitted a petition to participate as amicus curiae in Seaborn v. Merrill, to address the establishment and enforcement of parenting time and parent-child relationships, where one parent could well be hostile to the idea of any contact between the other parent and child(ren). This case raised the question as to whether a father convicted of a crime against the other parent had to prove by clear and convincing evidence an entitlement to parenting time, even if the conviction occurred before a final order establishing his right to parenting time.  The Family Law Section also sought to address the entitlement of a parent to an evidentiary hearing as the only way to meet his burden of proof.  The Supreme Court denied further review of the Court of Appeals’ unpublished decision, Seaborn v. Merrill, No. A10-2213, filed November 7, 2011, rev. denied January 25, 2012.

The Family Law Section submitted a petition to participate as amicus curiae in the Riopel case, to address the court’s characterization of marital and nonmarital homestead-farm, the issue of appreciation of value and the argument the farm was gifted to the husband.  The Supreme Court denied further review of the Court of Appeals’ unpublished decision, Riopel v. Riopel, No. A11-445, filed January 17, 2012, rev. denied  March 28, 2012. 

The Family Law Section was invited to participate in Rew  v. Bergstrom, __ N.W. 2d __ (Minn. App. 2011), rev. granted March 20, 2012.  The Section’s amicus curiae brief filed with the court in May, 2012 supported the affirmance of the Court of Appeals’ decision. The Family Law Section argued that the trial court’s entry of a 50 year extension of an order for protection prohibiting the Appellant from any contact with his former wife and their two minor children was an appropriate response to Appellant’s recurring convictions for violations of prior OFPs entered against him.  Constitutional issues were raised as to whether such prohibition violates ex post facto laws and constituted double jeopardy.  Besides the Family Law Section, there were several other amici on this case supporting Minn. Stat. § 518b.01, subd. 6a(b), with an amicus brief submitted by the Minnesota Attorney General  and a joint amicus brief from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project and the Battered Women’s Justice Project.  An amicus brief in favor of Appellant’s claimed parental entitlements, notwithstanding the abuse documented in the OFP and criminal files, was submitted by the Family Innocence Project and the Center for Parental Responsibility.   

The above amicus cases resulted in the Section’s Amicus Committee applying for and obtaining revisions to the bylaws of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Family Law Section.

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Family Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with the Section’s monthly Saturday CLE on May 12, 2012. 

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers in 2011-12:

            Chair:  Karen Kugler
            Vice Chair:  Rana Alexander
            Treasurer:  Ryan Anderson
            Secretary:  Margaret Erickson
            Program Chair:  Vice Chair, Rana Alexander

The following individuals were elected to serve on the Family Law Section Governing Council from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013:

Out-State Reps:  Brad Frago, Sara Runchey, Brenda Denton
Committee Co-Chairs:  Bruce Kennedy, Jennifer Sommerfeld, Mary Catherine Lauhead, Michael Dittberner, Tracy Reid, Emily Cooper, Tifanne Wolter, Larry McGee

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate in 2011-12:

            Representative:  Pamela Waggoner, Past Chair
            Alternate:  Steven Snyder, Past Chair

Other Section Accomplishments

The section worked primarily on financial, legislative, and amicus issues (see above).  Nevertheless, there were several other areas addressed, as well.

In order to enhance mentorship, the section added a monthly CLE called “There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question” as an opportunity for newer attorneys to speak directly with experienced practitioners about any question that impacted the younger attorneys’ practices.  We also collected names of prospective mentors/mentees at the annual conference and will be matching appropriate pairs with each other for more in-depth connection and assistance.

In order to increase member participation throughout the entire state, we also worked at increasing the technology available to members from out-state, remote locations to participate meaningfully in our section meetings and monthly CLE presentations.  For the first year, we added video connection to our remote access so that members could see, as well as hear, the presentations.  We still need to enhance the quality of the audio connection, but that will hopefully happen as the overall MSBA enhances its technological capacity over the next year or two.

In a smaller, but perhaps more impactful step, to increase both effective mentorship and member participation, we changed our section listserv to an opt-out rather than an opt-in format.  The underlying belief was that many valuable participants on the listserv were not included because they were unaware they had to opt in and, if so, did not know how to do so.

We also moved forward in gathering past work product and preserving it for future use by our Strategic Planning Committee.  Historically, this committee has had to start from scratch and annually reinvent the wheel, leading to disjointed and delayed effort and work product.  This year we gathered all previous materials, put them in locations to be preserved for future reference, and expanded the scope of impact by adding past chair, current chair, and vice chair all as members of the committee.  In this way, we hope to create and implement a broader and more over-arching view of our strategic planning.

Submitted By:
Steve Snyder, Section Chair

 

MSBA Family Law Section
Annual Report
2010-11

Section Membership
As of June 22, 2011, the Family Law Section has 1081 members.  This reflects a 5% increase in Section membership since July 1, 2010.  The Section unanimously approved another tier of membership dates for members whose annual incomes are less than $35,000.  Dues for such members will be $15 per year.

Financial Status
The Family Law Section had an account balance of $28,067.22 as of April 30, 2011.  The Section’s reserves have steadily decreased over the past two years.  The Strategic Planning Committee will be developing a Section Budget in the coming year.

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted seven CLE programs in fiscal year 2010-11.  In addition to the monthly Saturday CLE programs, the Family Law Section co-sponsored the Family Law Institute with Minnesota CLE, at which 728 attorneys, judicial officers and family court specialists were present.  On June 6, 2011, and June 7, 2011, the Family Law Section co-sponsored with Minnesota CLE a two-day clinical training program by Dr. Jennifer McIntosh on Child Informed Mediation.

To encourage outstate participation in the Section and fostering networking for attorneys outside the metro, the Section offers satellite locations which teleconference into the meeting/CLE that is held at the MSBA.  All programs are offered at no cost to Section members.  Skype technology in the MSBA conference rooms would allow increased participation. 

Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees

9/11/2010

Using Facebook to market your firm and win your family law cases"

148325; 1.0 Law Office Management

54

10/9/2010

What the Family Law Attorney Needs to Know About Real Estate

148868; 1.0 Standard

53

11/13/2010

Identifying Domestic Abuse, Lethality Factors and Dangerousness:  Having the Difficult Conversations with Clients

149847; 1.0 Standard

28

1/8/2011

Convergence of the Ethics and Malpractice Areas and How They Affect the Family Law Practice

151747; 1.0 Standard

42

2/11/2011

How to Market Your Family Law Firm and Make Friends on LinkedIn

152355; 1.0 Law Office Management

47

4/9/2011

Personality Disorders: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

154232; 1.0 Standard

31

5/14/2011

Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts

155958; 1.0 Standard

16

Legislation and Amicus Briefs

The Family Law Section’s Legislative Committee worked on the following legislation in the 2011 session:

Bill

Status (as of 6/2011)

Family Law Section’s Position

HF473/SF1334  Child support calculated before spousal maintenance

Included in HF1023, which passed the House, but the bill was removed when HF1023 passed the Senate.  Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Drafted and supported by the Family Law Section.

HF322/SF1402  Joint physical custody presumption established, Children’s Equal and Shared Parenting Act created, and parenting plans required.

Passed the House Civil Law Committee.  Heard but not voted on in the House Judiciary Committee.  Offered as an amendment to another bill on the House floor but the amendment was withdrawn.  Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opposed by the Family Law Section.

HF292/SF498  Marriage dissolution parenting plan requirement.

Passed House Civil Law Committee; referred to House Judiciary Committee.  Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opposed by the Family Law Section.

HF1135/SF1161  Mandatory marriage dissolution education program.

Referred to House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

Opposed by the Family Law Section.

SF344/HF436  Collaborative law process evidence availability limitation. 

Referred to House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

Supported by the Family Law Section.

HF644/SF727  Paternity and maternity determination provisions modified.

Referred to House Civil Law Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.

Drafted and supported by the Family Law Section.

HF1198/SF1175  Updates to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

Passed the House Civil Law Committee; referred to the House Judiciary Committee.  Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Vetted and supported by the Family Law Section.

Upon request by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Amicus Committee drafted and submitted a Brief and Appendix of Amicus Curiae on behalf of the Family Law Section in: In Re the Marriage of Loretta Marie Angell and Guardian William Angell, Jr. on May 7, 2010.  Decision was rendered by the Court on December 9, 2010.

The Family Law Section reviewed, revised, and made public comment by letter dated June 1, 2011 on the proposed changes to the Minnesota Family Court Rules to the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Family Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with the Section’s monthly Saturday CLE on May 14, 2011. 

The following individuals were unanimously elected to serve as officers in 2011-12:

            Chair:  Steve Snyder
Vice Chair:  Karen Kugler
Treasurer:  Ryan Anderson
Secretary:  Margaret Erickson
Publications Committee Chair: Linda Wold
Publications Committee Vice Chair: Tiffane Wolter
Greater Minnesota Members:         Brad Frago
Sara Runchey
Laura Weintraub

 

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative in 2011-12:

            Representative: Pamela J. Waggoner

Other Section Accomplishments

The Publications committee published four issues of the Family Law Forum from the Summer 2010 to the Summer of 2011.  Each issue provided practitioners with substantive legal articles pertinent to the practice of Family Law.

Submitted By:
Pamela J. Waggoner, Section Chair

 

ANNUAL REPORT
2005-2006 Family Law Section


Membership in the Family Law Section gives a practitioner an excellent opportunity to interact collegially with other practitioners at the monthly Section meetings in Minneapolis. The networking is invaluable, the conversation is always enjoyable, the discussion is always interesting, and the impromptu debates are always lively. Family law attorneys are nothing if not opinionated.

We benefited from the regular attendance at the monthly meetings by a number of practitioners from greater Minnesota, attorneys who do not office in the seven-county Metro area. There were some months when attendance by the greater Minnesotans at the monthly meetings exceeded attendance by the "locals."

Members who attended the monthly meetings had the opportunity to obtain free CLE's each month. Following the business meeting we had CLE presentations on topics including Non-Marital Tracing; Spousal Maintenance: Preparing a Budget; The New Child Support Law; a Panel Discussion: The Effect on Children and Families of a Legal Presumption of Joint Physical Custody; Legal Issues that Affect Same Sex Couples; the Statewide GAL Programs/Rules; the Federal Bankruptcy Reform Act and Its Application to Family Law; and Marketing Your Practice.

In March, Minnesota CLE presented the 27th annual Family Law Institute which once again was planned with the input of Family Law Section members under the guidance of Vice-Chair Barb Runchey. Thanks are due to those who contributed their time and talent in planning and presenting this important educational event.

Section members also had the opportunity to participate in the submission of an amicus brief on the Antone v. Mirviss case regarding the limitations period for attorney malpractice in the drafting of an antenuptial agreement. The brief submitted by the Section's Amicus Committee, which is ably chaired by Mary Lauhead and Michael Dittberner, is available for review and down load at the Section website. That case was argued to the Supreme Court in January.

Pamela Waggoner, the Section's Legislative Chair was again very active in monitoring the keeping the Section informed about family law related bills presented to the legislature this year. Her commitment to this Herculean effort and the countless hours she dedicated to this important work cannot go unrecognized.

Loretta Frederick continues to helm the Domestic Abuse Committee, which met a number of times during the year and helped us communicate our perspectives to the legislature about the important bills and enactments relating to domestic abuse in the last legislative session.

Immediate past-Chair Gary Voegele took over the Strategic Planning Committee and under his energetic leadership that committee has focused on the long-range goals and objectives of the Section and proposed a number of initiatives which are sure to enhance the operations and the value of the Section to the members.

One issue of the Family Law Forum was produced. For next year, Jamie Driggs, the new chair of the Publications Committee will be looking into alternate means of publication, including shifting to an on-line interface rather than a magazine format for future issues of the Forum. He will also be looking at re-vamping the Section's Web Page and would welcome input from any and all interested members.
Once again, Pete Taylor, who has served as the Section's Treasurer for a number of years, did not abscond with any money, and for that we can all be grateful. Pete will be stepping down from that position to let new blood take over. We appreciate his participation in a leadership role for the Section.

The officers elected to fill leadership positions in the Family Law Section for 2006-2007 are as follows:
Chair: Ellen Abbott
Vice-Chair/Chair Elect: Cheryl Prince
Treasurer: Ryan Anderson
Secretary: Linda Wold
Legislative Committee Chair: Pamela Waggoner
Publications Committee Chair: Jaime Driggs
Executive Committee Member at Large: Margaret Erickson
Executive Committee Member at Large: Barb Runchey
Executive Committee Member at Large: Gary L. Voegele
These worthy colleagues need and deserve your support in the coming year.

Finally, it should be noted that we lost a good friend and colleague in May of 2006 when Bill Haugh died unexpectedly. Bill was the first Chair of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Bar Association. In fact, it was largely through his efforts that our practice area came to be recognized as a Section rather than as a Committee of the Bar. Bill's professionalism, his courtesy, his knowledge of the law, and the respect that he afforded to the people he worked with, both the clients and opposing counsel, set a standard that all who knew him respect, and that all who practice in this area should strive to emulate.

Respectfully submitted,
Donald L. Enockson
Section Chair, 2005-2006



ANNUAL REPORT
2004-2005 Annual Report

There are 922 current members of the Section.

Some of the notable achievements of the Section this year include:


The Outreach Social Activity that occurred in August 2004 in Waseca in conjunction with the Cahill-Gallagher Annual Golf Tournament of the Fifth District Bar Association meeting. It was fun to get together and socialize with some of the out-state members of the Bar from the Fifth District. Our Section sponsored a CLE program in the morning for this event that was well attended by the Fifth District Members.

The preparation and distribution of a comprehensive Section Members Survey in the fall. I would invite you to read the results of the Survey that are contained in the Spring 2005 issue of the Family Law Forum.

The 2005 Family Law Institute was a big success. Many members in attendance gave very positive remarks on the program, sessions, and the Section as to the manner in which the Institute was carried out by Minnesota CLE. Many thanks to those who contributed their time and talent in planning of and presenting for our annual educational event.

The authorization of an $11,000.00 disbursement of a portion of the Section fund reserves for Section leadership development and program activities. An Ad Hoc Committee was established to consider suggestions on how to spend this agreed upon amount for worthwhile projects and activities. We received many constructive suggestions on how to put some of our available reserve funds to use for the betterment of our Section and provide value to our members.

Our Section's Legislative Chair for this year has been very active. Pamela Waggoner volunteered countless hours to help monitor legislative activities for this current legislative session. It is a lot to ask for one of our members to dedicate the amount of time and effort necessary to represent our Section in St. Paul at the legislative session to the extent that Pamela did. There were many bills introduced, not to say the least, the new income shares legislation that have been enacted in Minnesota. It was a direct result of efforts of Pamela Waggoner that we have a balanced and well thought out income shares bill that is truly bipartisan, and which has taken some of the best provisions of all competing bills that were being considered. We are all indebted to Pamela for her service in this important position as Legislative Chair for our Section this year.

 

Other Committees of the Section have also been active, including our Amicus Committee and Domestic Abuse Committee. Our Section voted to petition to intervene as amicus curie in two important cases. One case involved the issue of the State of Minnesota dropping enforcement services for spousal maintenance only cases. The other case dealt with an appeal on what should be the appropriate statute of limitations for practice relating to the preparation of antenuptial agreements. The Domestic Abuse Committee has put its finishing touches on a new and informative brochure for victims of domestic abuse.

Finally, the Publications Committee put out three or four issues of Family Law Forum in the course of our business year.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary L. Voegele
Section Chair


MSBA Family Law Section
2002-2003 Annual Report

The Family Law Section currently has 961 members.

During the year, we were active in the following activities:

a. Appellate Court Pro Bono Program.
b. Updated Family Law Section Brochure.
c. Organized a Futures Committee and submitted a proposal containing Strategic Planning Recommendations.
d. Elected new officers and executive committee members for the upcoming year.
e. Supported proposal for grant application to draft pro se dissolution forms.
f. Participated in MSAB "Meet the Bar" events held at each of the 4 local law schools to introduce students to MSBA.
g. Presented 8 Continuing Legal Education programs.
h. Awarded Distinguished Member designation to William E. Haugh, Jr.

Our legislative committee chair spent countless hours at the legislature testifying for and against various bills affecting the practice of family law. Many pieces of legislation were discussed, analyzed and voted during the course of Section meetings. Much work remains to be done as the legislature will likely propose a re-codification of Chapter 518 and an income shares child support bill.

Two issues of the Family Law Forum entitled "Love & Aliens" and "Put The Money Down" were published and mailed to members.

The 23rd Annual Family Law Institute was planned and presented in connection with Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. Over 75 presenters were involved and 680 individuals attended this Institute.

The Section, which meets on the second Saturday September through May continues to be active and well attended. Scheduled meetings for the 2003-2004 year include: September 13, 2003; October 11, 2003; November 8, 2003; December 13, 2003; January 10, 2004; February 14, 2004; March 13, 2004; April 10, 2004 and May 8, 2004. Free one hour CLE's are offered at every Section meeting. All practicing family law attorneys are encouraged to attend and participate.


MSBA Family Law Section
1999-2000 Annual Report

The Family Law Section, with more than 700 members, has completed another successful year of service to its members, the bench, legislature, and community.

The outgoing Chair of the Section served for 17 months on the Supreme Court Parental Cooperation Task Force, which resulted in recommendations for significant changes in the practice of family law, many of which were subsequently adopted into law.

Our Legislative Committee Chair spent countless hours at the legislature lobbying for and against various bills affecting the practice of family law. Section members proposed several pieces of legislation which were adopted.

One of our members represented the Section on the Child Support Guideline Task Force which will be making a report to the legislature next session. We also had able representation on the Committee which developed the Interim (now permanent) Expedited Child Support Process Rules.

After some production problems, two issues of the Family Law forum were published and mailed to members.

The Section is actively working with the MSBA staff to develop and maintain an extensive web page which is available at no cost only to members of the section.

Section members worked closely with the staff of Minnesota CLE over a period of several months beginning last fall to put on the two day 21st Annual Family Law Institute in March. The Institute was attended by more than 800 people.

The Section, which meets monthly on the second Saturday of the month, September through May, continues to be an active and lively group. Anyone practicing family law is encouraged to attend and participate.

Suzanne Born, Chairperson

- Last Updated 06/17/2013 -