A prominent family law attorney known for managing the “tough stuff” in divorce and related parenting cases, Susan C. Rhode uses her legal leadership to smooth and resolve the transitional challenges that many of her clients experience. She has been involved in several of Minnesota’s leading cases concerning nonmarital property, spousal maintenance, and premarital agreements.
A four-time selectee of Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of family law in Minneapolis, Susan also works extensively as a mediator, consensual special magistrate, arbitrator, neutral evaluator, and parenting coordinator. The well-being of children in divorce is an area of particular care and concern for Susan, which is a reflection of her prior experience as an educator and her commitment to children’s issues.
Areas of Family Law Practice
Susan’s practice focuses on the complex financial issues in divorce. This includes dividing businesses, executive compensation, intellectual property, retirement, and other unusual assets. She also helps clients with cash flow and support issues.
Working beyond traditional family law counsel, Susan not only represents clients in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) forums, but also manages and facilitates the ADR process for other counsel and their clients.
Susan’s counsel covers the full range of family law concerns, from asset and income management to parenting matters, agreement enforcements, and innovative settlement programs for families in transition. Areas of counsel include:
- Complex property valuation and division
- Child support and modifications of support and property orders
- Parenting agreements and paternity
- Third-party parental rights and grandparents’ rights
- Asset and income management
- Premarital, post marital, and cohabitation agreements
- Appeals, trials, and motion practice
- Mediation, arbitration, and evaluative processes representation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutral
- Parenting coordinator/consultant
Landmark Cases and Professional Leadership
Susan has worked on some of the seminal cases in current Minnesota law, which include such issues as nonmarital property in Gottsacker v. Gottsacker, spousal maintenance in Hecker v. Hecker, and premarital agreements in McKee-Johnson v. Johnson.
In her frequent articles and presentations before law schools, the Bar and Bench, and professional associations, Susan addresses topical issues ranging from ethics to spousal support strategies and family advocacy. A selection of Susan's programs and presentations from 2007 to the present are listed here. Previous programs are available upon request.
Susan is the immediate past chairperson of the Minnesota ADR Ethics Board, to which she was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to promote the ethical use of ADR in the court system. Additionally, Susan was appointed in 2010 by the Minnesota Supreme Court to a six-year term as chairperson of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association’s Ethics Committee. Susan also serves as a mediator in the Family Law Appellate Program, to which she was appointed in 2010 by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
- Minnesota ADR Ethics Board, 2011-2013; Chairperson, 2012
- Minnesota Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial District Ethics Committee – Chairperson, 2010-2016
- Hennepin County Early Case Management and Early Neutral Evaluation Statewide Steering Committee, 2004-Present
- International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, National and Minnesota Chapter
- American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, National and Minnesota Chapter
- The Warren E. Burger American Inns of Court
- American Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Minnesota Women Lawyers
- Hennepin County Bar Association
Honors & Recognition
- "The Best Lawyers in America" – Minnesota Domestic Relations Attorneys, 1995-Present
- "The Best Lawyers in America" – "Lawyer of the Year," Family Law, Minneapolis, 2014
- "The Best Lawyers in America" – "Lawyer of the Year," Family Law Mediation, Minneapolis, 2013
- "The Best Lawyers in America" – "Lawyer of the Year," Family Law, Minneapolis, 2012
- "The Best Lawyers in America" – "Lawyer of the Year," Family Law, Minneapolis, 2010
- "Minnesota Super Lawyers," 2003-Present
- Hennepin County Bar Association – "Professionalism Award," 2006
- Minnesota Judicial Council – Recognition for Early Neutral Evaluation Statement Training Programs
Certifications / Specialties
- Family Law Mediation Certified Training – Mediation Center for Dispute Resolution, Hamline University, August 1995
- Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice – Family Adjudicative, Facilitative/Hybrid and Evaluative Panels, Civil Adjudicative Panel
- Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, MN, J.D.
- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, M.A., Speech/Theater
- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, B.S., Education
- Courage Center – Foundation Board of Directors, 2007-Present; Guardians of Courage
- Travel, food, wine, and entertaining