Michael P. Boulette

Partner Minneapolis
Contact Info
Top Services

Summary

Michael is a skilled family law attorney, committed to helping his clients navigate complex and private legal matters. His deep knowledge of family law and courtroom experience make him a trusted advisor for clients facing divorce, child custody, parentage matters, and family law appeals. 

Many of Michael's divorce clients are business owners, public figures, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, and medical and legal professionals, and their families. Often they're facing divorces involving high and ultra-high net worth estates with closely-held businesses and family partnerships, intergenerational wealth and trusts, executive compensation, and other difficult valuation issues, or fraud and concealed assets.

Michael is among the few family law attorneys who have repeatedly argued cases before Minnesota’s appellate courts, including multiple precedent-setting cases before Minnesota’s Supreme Court, on issues ranging from spousal maintenance, to custody, to property valuation and division.

Michael is also committed to transforming and improving the practice of family law. He teaches the next generation of family law attorneys as an adjunct professor; serves as faculty at continuing education seminars for judges, lawyers, and mediators; and authors articles, columns, and other resources for family law attorneys.

As a trusted resource on issues of divorce and child custody, Michael is frequently cited in the media, appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The Fiscal Times, Forbes.com, and the Star Tribune.  

Awards

  • Minnesota State Bar Association Elmer Wiblishauser Authors Award (2020)

  • American Bar Association Family Law Section Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award (2020)

  • American Bar Association On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyer (2019)

  • Minnesota State Bar Association Professional Excellence Award (2019)

  • Hennepin County Bar Association Excellence Award for pro bono service (2019)

  • Named “Up and Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer (2018)

  • University of St. Thomas School of Law Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2018)

  • Finalist, American Bar Association Wm. Reese Smith, Jr. National Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year (2017)

  • Minnesota State Bar Associations President’s Award (2017)

  • Minnesota State Bar Association New Lawyer’s Section Dedicated Service Award (2016-2017)

  • University of St. Thomas School of Law Living the Mission Award (2017)

  • Leonard E. Lindquist Pro Bono Service Award (2015)

  • Minnesota State Bar Association Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year (2015-2016)

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 24th–27th Editions (2018–2021)

  • Rated AV Preeminent for the Highest Level of Professional Excellence by Martindale Hubbell.

Education

  • University of St. Thomas School of Law (2010)

    magna cum laude

    Journal of Law and Public Policy, articles editor

    Minnesota Justice Foundation volunteer: 275+ hours of volunteer service

  • Bowdoin College (2007)

    magna cum laude

    Double Major: Philosophy and Government & Legal Studies

Admissions

  • State - Minnesota
  • Federal - District of Minnesota

Notable Matters

  • Representing clients at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court on matters including spousal maintenance; First Amendment free speech and religious liberties; third-party custody; dissipation of assets; business valuation; and custody and parenting time.
  • Representing real estate investors and hotel owners in valuation and division of property in excess of $50 million.
  • Negotiating spousal buy-outs on behalf of closely-held business owners and entrepreneurs to preserve business liquidity, profitability, and operational control.
  • Defending client’s interest in valuable irrevocable, family trust against claims for equitable division, spousal maintenance, and child support.
  • Representing client in obtaining nearly $100,000 in relief after spouse attempted to conceal marital assets prior to and during the divorce.
  • Representing successful medical professionals and their spouses in dividing interests in nuanced incentive plans and valuation and division of interests in medical practice.
  • Representing celebrities and public figures with divorce and other family law matters while maximizing clients’ privacy and limiting the risk of public exposure.
  • Representing parents in complex child custody cases involving allegations of sexual and domestic abuse; severe mental illness; chemical dependency; and diagnoses of borderline, narcissistic, and anti-social personality disorders.
  • Representing business owner in successful contested motion to modify spousal maintenance obligation by nearly 60% after several past denials.
  • Protecting millions of dollars in clients’ inherited and premarital wealth through detailed expert tracing and discovery.
  • Representing client against spousal maintenance claim in excess of $1 million, resulting in complete denial of spousal maintenance after trial.

Speeches and Publications

Books

  • Family Law, 14 MINNESOTA PRACTICE SERIES, 2016-2021 editions (Thompson Reuters).

Scholarly Articles 

  • A Practitioner’s Guide to Minnesota’s New Child Custody Best Interest Factors, 9 Wm. Mitchell J. L. & Prac. 1 (2016).
  • An Apology for the Archbishop: Shari’ah Law and the Jurisprudence of Multiculturalism, 2 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LAW & MODERN CRITICAL RACE PERSPECTIVES 1 (2010).
  • That Kind of Sex Which Doth Prevaile: Shifting Legal Paradigms on the Ontology and Mutability of Sex, 50 JURIMETRICS: THE JOURNAL OF LAW, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 329 (2010) (peer-reviewed).
  • Two Concepts of Role-Morality: In Search of a Normative Language of Legal Ethics, 5 ACTA IURIDICA OLOMUCENSIS 10 (2010).
  • Questioning Authority: Just War Theory, Sovereign Authority, and the United Nations, 10 VERA LEX 145 (2009).

Regular Columns 

  • Family Law Notes & Trends, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA (2018-present)

Professional Publications

  • Custody and Parenting Time Case Law Update, FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE CASE LAW UPDATE (Michael Dittberner ed., Minnesota CLE, 2017-2021 editions).
  • Third Child. First Real Parental Leave. What’s Wrong with this Picture, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXXVII, Number 2 (February 2020).
  • The Myth of the Invincible Prenup: Unpacking Minnesota’s ‘New’ Common Law Standards for Antenuptial Agreements, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXXV, Number 8 (September 2018) (with Jennifer Colich).
  • The Cohabitation Conundrum: What’s “new” in Minnesota’s New Cohabitation Law, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. IXXIV, Number 1 (January 2017) (with Theresa Bea).
  • Spousal Maintenance 2016 Case Law Update, FAMILY LAW INSTITUTE CASE LAW UPDATE (Michael Dittberner ed., Minnesota CLE, 2016).
  • When Legal Concepts Collide: Custody, Guardianship, and Minnesota Law, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXXII, Number IV (April 2015) (with Robert McLeod).
  • Taxes, in THE COMPLETE FAMILY LAWYER QUICK ANSWER BOOK (Gary Debele ed., Minnesota CLE 2015, update 2019) (with Sonja Trom Eayrs).
  • Custody and Parenting Time: Minnesota Amendments Codify Compromises, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXXI, Number IX (October 2014) (with William Winter).
  • Deciding Children’s Best-Interests: Is it Time for a Parenting Consultant Statute, THE HENNEPIN LAWYER, Vol. 83, No. 5 (May 2014).
  • No Hearing Necessary for Out-of-State Moves (Maybe), HEARSAY, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (February 2014).
  • Lien In: The Use and Abuse of Marital Liens, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXX, Number IV (July 2013) (with Christopher Pham).
  • Collecting Child Support and Maintenance: A New Role for QDROs, BENCH & BAR OF MINNESOTA, Vol. LXIX, Number IX (October 2012).
  • Co-Author, Comparison of 2017 Uniform Parentage Act and Minnesota Parentage Act, Minnesota CLE (2020).
  • Co-Author, Summary Guide to Minnesota’s New Family Laws and Rules, Minnesota CLE (2016).
  • Understanding the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act—MN Stat. 518E, Parents Forever Fact Sheet, University of Minnesota Extensions (with Ellie McCann and Sara Croymans).

Presentations and Continuing Legal Education 

  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time 2021 Case Law Update,” 42ns Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2021).
  • Presenter, “Do Overs, Mulligans, and Second Chances: Winning Strategies for Post- Decisions Motions,” Ramsey County Bar Association Family Law Section (January 2021).
  • Presenter, “2020 Minnesota Parentage Law Update,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (November 2020).
  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time 2020 Case Law Update,” 41st Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2020).
  • Presenter, “Minnesota’s Parentage Laws: Past, Present & Future,” 41st Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2020).
  • Presenter, “Goodwill: What It Is and What to Do With It,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (November 2019).
  • Presenter, “Update on Efforts to Adopt the Uniform Parentage Act in Minnesota,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (November 2019).
  • Panelist, “Careers in Family Law,” University of St. Thomas School of Law Family Law Society (2016–2019).
  • Panelist, “Enhancing Well-Being across Minnesota: Challenges and Opportunities for Bar Associations and Local Legal Communities,” Practice Well, Minnesota CLE (May 2019).
  • Panelist, “Marketing and Business Development for New Lawyers,” Minnesota State and Hennepin County Bar Associations New Lawyer’s Section (April 2019).
  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time 2019 Case Law Update,” 40th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2019).
  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time Modifications Post In re M.J.H.,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (November 2018).
  • Panelist, “New Lawyer’s Leadership Panel,” New Lawyer’s Leadership Conference, Minnesota State Bar Association New Lawyer’s Section (November 2018).
  • Presenter, “Overview of the Appellate Process,” Minnesota CLE (September 2018).
  • Presenter, “Drafting and Litigating Antenuptial Agreements in a NEW Post-Kremer World,” Minnesota CLE (August 2018).
  • Presenter, “Modern Marketing Tactics for Lawyers in a ‘Like, Share, Follow’ World,” Minnesota Lawyer/ Minnesota State Bar Association (April 2018).
  • Moderator, “What Does Partnership Look Like?” Path to Partnership, Hennepin County Bar Association New Lawyer’s Section (April 2018).
  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time 2018 Case Law Update,” 39th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2018).
  • Presenter, “Electronic Bad Behavior: Keeping Your Clients of Out (Electronic) Trouble,” 39th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2018).
  • Presenter, “Safe Harbor or Lost at Sea: Effectively Using Safe Harbors to Protect Therapy Records” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (January 2018).
  • Moderator and Conference Chair, “What Matters Most in Family Law,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (December 2017).
  • Presenter, “Advanced Issues in Custody and Parenting Time: What Standard is it Anyway?” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (November 2017).
  • Presenter, “Transforming Your Family Law Practice through Technology: Business Development,” Minnesota State Bar Association (December 2017).
  • Presenter, “Preparing for ‘I don’t’: New Landmines in Antenuptial Agreement Drafting and Enforcement,” Hennepin County Bar Association/ Ramsey County Bar Association Family Law Sections (June 2017).
  • Presenter, “2017’s Hot Topics in Spousal Maintenance,” First Judicial District Bar Association (May 2017).
  • Presenter, “Drafting and Litigating Antenuptial Agreements in a post-Kremer World,” Minnesota CLE Webcast (May 2017).
  • Conference Co-Chair, Path to Partnership, Hennepin County Bar Association New Lawyer’s Section (April 2017).
  • Presenter, “Custody and Parenting Time 2017 Case Law Update,” 38th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2017).
  • Presenter, “Minnesota’s New Cohabitation Law,” 38th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2017).
  • Presenter, “Family Law Legislative Update,” Minnesota State Bar Association (March 2017).
  • Presenter, “Spousal Maintenance in the 21st Century: Updated or Outdated,” 2016 Annual Forum, Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota (December 2016).
  • Presenter, “Advanced Strategies for Modifying Spousal Maintenance: Minnesota’s New Cohabitation Law,” Advanced Family Law Series, Minnesota CLE (December 2016).
  • Presenter, “What CFP’s Need to Know to Keep Their Clients Happy, Healthy & Wealthy Through Divorce” 2016 Annual Symposium, Financial Planning Association of Minnesota (October 2016).
  • Presenter, “Divorce and the Affordable Care Act: Tips and Tricks for Protecting Your Client and Your Settlement,” Divorce Alliance (October 2016).
  • Presenter, “Recap of Minnesota’s New Family Law Statutes and Rules,” 37th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2016).
  • Moderator, “Judicial Perspectives on Minnesota’s New Family Law Statutes and Rules in Practice,” 37th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2016).
  • Presenter, “Taxes,” The Complete Family Lawyer, 37th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2016).
  • Presenter, “Spousal Maintenance 2016 Case Law Update,” 37th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2016).
  • Presenter, “Managing High Conflict Parties in Early Neutral Evaluation,” Advanced ENE Training, Fifth Judicial District (February 2016).
  • Presenter, “A New Model Order for Court-Involved Therapy,” Court-Involved Therapy for Young Children: When, What, How, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (February 2016).
  • Moderator, “Ethical Challenges for Professionals Doing Court-Ordered Therapy,” Court- Involved Therapy for Young Children: When, What, How, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (February 2016).
  • Presenter, “Taxes,” The Complete Family Lawyer, Minnesota CLE (November 2015).
  • Presenter, “When Legal Concepts Collide: Custody, Guardianship, and Minnesota Law,” Minnesota CLE Webcast (November 2015).
  • Presenter, “Six Family Law Changes You Need to Know,” Hennepin County Bar Association, Family Law Section (November 2015).
  • Presenter, “Unpacking Minnesota’s New Best Interest Factors,” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (October 2015).
  • Presenter, “What Have You Done to My Statute: The New Best Interest Factors,” Divorce Camp, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Minnesota Chapter (September 2015).
  • Presenter, “Legislative Session Wrap-Up: Gender-Equity Style,” Minnesota Women’s Consortium and the Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women (May 2015).
  • Presenter, “Custody & Parenting Time: Understanding and Applying Evolving Standards,” Minnesota CLE Webcast (May 2015).
  • Presenter, “Handling 5 Critical Financial Issues Related to Children,” 36th Annual Family Law Institute, Minnesota CLE (March 2015).
  • Moderator, “Smoke Screen or Fire: Sexual Abuse Allegations in Family Court Part II,” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (February 2015).
  • Presenter, “Splitting the Baby: 5 Things You Need to Know About the New Changes to Minnesota’s Custody and Parenting Time Statutes,” Minnesota State Bar Association (February 2015).
  • Presenter, “Death and Divorce: Where Probate Court Meets Family Court,” Advanced Family Law Seminar, National Business Institute (February 2015).
  • Presenter, “Divorce Law Trends and Hot Topics” and “Divorce Under the Affordable Care Act" Family Law: ACA, Windsor and More, National Business Institute Webcast (October 2014).
  • Presenter, “Family Court and High Conflict Custody Cases: A Roadmap for Professionals,” Understanding the Legal and Ethical Implications of High Conflict Custody Cases, American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (September 2014).
  • Presenter, “The PC ABC’s: Effectively Using Parenting Consultants in Family Law Practice,” Minnesota State Bar Association (February 2014).
  • Moderator, “Parenting Consulting: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Minnesota Chapter (January 2014).
  • Presenter, “Family Law Series: Lien In--The Use and Abuse of Marital Liens,” Minnesota CLE Webcast (November 2013).
  • Presenter, “What’s Up in Family Law,” Minnesota State Bar Association (September 2013). 

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association

    Family Law Section, Member

  • Hennepin County Bar Association

    Board of Directors, 2017-2021

    Finance and Planning Committee 2015-2021, Vice-Chair 2017-2018

    Representative to MSBA Council 2017-2023; Attorney Wellbeing Taskforce, Chair 2019-2020

    Family Law Section - Member

    New Lawyers Section - Board of Directors / MSBA Liaison 2014-2017

  • Minnesota State Bar Association

    Council Member (Governing Body) 2016-2023

    Assembly Member (Policy Body) 2016-2023

    Judiciary Committee 2020-2021

    Governance Committee 2018-2020; Bylaws Committee 2016-2019

    Elections and Appointments Committee 2016-2018; Parental Leave Workgroup 2020-2021

    Appointed as pro bono counsel to assist the Supreme Court in In re: the Matter of the Application of J.M.M. o/b/o Minors for a Change of Name, 937 N.W.2d 743 (Minn. 2020).

    Served as pro bono counsel for the MSBA in In re: Minnesota Rules for Admission to the Bar, No. ADM10-8008 (petition on behalf of the Minnesota State Bar Association regarding amendments to the rules of admission to allow early examination of third year law students) and Thornton v. Bosquez, 933 N.W.2d 781 (Minn. 2019) (amicus brief in appeal regarding application of domestic abuse presumptions in custody disputes).

    Family Law Section - Legislative Committee, Co-Chair 2016-2018; Spousal Maintenance Workgroup, Member 2017

    New Lawyers Section - Past-Chair 2017-2018, Chair 2016-2017, Vice-Chair 2015-2016, Treasurer 2014-2015, Secretary 2013-2014; Awards Committee Chair 2013-2015; Co-Editor “Hearsay” 2012-2013

    Children & the Law Section, Appellate Law Section, Member

  • Minnesota Supreme Court

    Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the General Rules of Practice, Appointed Committee Member (2020-2023)

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota State Guardian ad Litem Board

    Board of Directors, 2018-2020

    Child Advocacy in Family Court Committee, 2018-2019

  • University of St. Thomas School of Law

    Past Member of Alumni Association Board of Directors

    Past Member Minnesota Justice Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship Selection Committee 

    Volunteer Mentor

    Frequent guest speaker and panelist