Attorney Kathleen E. Rusler O’Connor relies on more than two decades of experience handling family law issues in Minnesota to provide strong yet compassionate legal representation. Over the years, she has handled hundreds of family law cases, from initial pleadings to settlement or court proceedings.

Practice areas include:


At O’Connor Law and Mediation, Kathleen has the experience to see beyond the conflict and assist you in navigating through the fact specific areas of marital dissolution law in Minnesota. Minnesota is a no fault divorce state so that if a party alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken the divorce will happen; however, Kathleen can assist you in the navigating: child related issues of custody, parenting time, and child support; property division; and spousal maintenance.

Child Custody

Minnesota law requires the Court and parties use the best interests of the children to make the initial determination of the custody of minor children and specifies twelve factors that must be considered as well as certain presumptions. Modification of child custody is governed by statute as well and contains time requirements and application of standards that vary based upon the circumstances.  Kathleen has the experience to guide you determining how Minnesota law applies to your specific facts whether the issue of custody arises in a proceeding for:  dissolution of marriage, custody (unmarried parents with a recognition of parentage), paternity or order for protection.

Order for Protection

Attorney O’Connor has experience in assisting you in obtaining an Order for Protection and as in defending against requested Orders for Protection.  Minnesota law requires that you meet certain criteria before obtaining an Order for Protection and Kathleen can assist you in drafting the Petition and representing you at the hearing.


In mediation, the parties reach a compromise solution to their family law situation with the assistance of a mediator. Attorney O’Connor is a Rule 114 qualified mediator and provides mediation services for parties representing themselves or for those represented by attorneys.  She also uses her mediation training when she represents clients in mediation.

Legal Separation

In Minnesota, a legal separation affords you certain protections; however, it is important to have legal advice to make the decision as to whether a dissolution of marriage or a legal separation is the best type of proceeding for your case.  Attorney O’Connor has the experience to advise you in making this important decision of type of proceeding.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance (formerly alimony) is one of the more complex areas of family law as there are no guidelines governing the award of money from one party to another. Minnesota Statute 518.552 sets forth the grounds for an award of spousal maintenance as well as factors governing the amount and duration. Before there can be an award, the person requesting must demonstrate need and an inability to meet their need from resources available to them. Once that hurdle has been met then the Court must consider 8 factors to determine amount and duration including the ability of the payor spouse to contribute while meeting their own needs.

Property Division

Minnesota law requires that the Court divide marital property in a just and equitable manner, which is most often an equal division. Attorney O’Connor has the experience to assist you in determining what property is marital, what is non marital and what property has components that are both marital and non-marital. The valuation and division of various types of property can be complicated and Kathleen has the experience to assist you in determining values, evaluating and proving non-marital claims and the division of marital property. Finally, she has the experience evaluate the unusual case of whether the facts of the case support a claim of hardship allowing one spouse to be awarded a portion of non-marital property.

Other services offered include:

Child Support
Parenting Time
Early Neutral Evaluations
Grandparents Rights
Post Decree Issues
Step-Parent Adoption