Rhonda Butterfield is a strong advocate for men’s rights. She attended law school during an era when women constituted only 20% of her law school class, and were not part of the “good old boy” club. Early in her career, she advocated for women’s equal rights in the workplace. Her philosophy has come full-circle, and she now advocates for men’s equal rights in the family. Her father was an important person in her upbringing. Later, as a single parent raising a son and daughter, she came to appreciate the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that parents give in order to raise their children. She understands the single-parent life – it is the toughest job she has ever had.
Ms. Butterfield has had significant national and international experiences. She lived in Australia for one year in high school as a Rotary Exchange Student. Her college career included one year in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill as a political science intern. She graduated from college early, with high honors, and received a scholarship to attend Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. While there, she was on the staff of the Criminal Law Review. After graduation in 1976, she came to Alaska for a one-year internship with Supreme Court Justice Jay A. Rabinowitz, and she knew before arriving that she would stay. She has lived and practiced in Fairbanks, Kenai, and Anchorage, as an Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General, prosecuting all manner of criminal cases, including domestic violence, assaults, and child sexual abuse. She focused for several years on drug prosecutions, and helped re-write Alaska’s criminal drug laws in the early 1980’s. She represented Alaska in the Western States Information Network, an information-sharing group focused on eliminating illegal drug trafficking from 5 western states. She trained as a trial advocate, and became an instructor in trial advocacy. While in the District Attorney’s Offices and the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals (OSPA), she handled upwards of 150 jury trials, and dozens of appeals. She traveled around the country in 1993 as the alternate member for Alaska House Speaker Ramona Barnes, a member of the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws. From 1994 – 2001, she worked in the civil side of the state Attorney General’s Office, representing the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED, now CSSD) in the Department of Revenue. There, she gained a great deal of knowledge about the ins and outs of child support. After retiring from the state, she entered private practice, and her entire focus has been on family law issues for the past 16 years. She handles trials, settlements, administrative matters, and appeals with the knowledge, experience, and confidence of someone with 4 decades of legal experience in the Alaska court system.
Ms. Butterfield cares about people. She cares about her clients and their families. She is meticulous in her legal work, submitting the highest quality pleadings to the Alaska courts. She is well regarded among her peers in the field of family law, and currently serves on the Family Law Committee of the Alaska Bar Association. Her volunteer legal work includes providing services to veterans, and to low-income obligors relating to child support issues, through the Alaska Legal Services Corp. pro bono program.
Rhonda enjoys the diversity of Alaska and Alaskans. From Alaska, she has visited Japan, Australia (3x), and New Zealand. She has said proudly: my mechanic is from Chile; my hairdresser is from the Philippines; my computer IT people are from Mexico; one of my favorite judges is from Malaysia; my best friend is from Northern Ireland and Australia; and my law partner is from Texas!
Her other volunteer activities reflect her commitment to families and children. She volunteers in the nursery at her church. She has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for nearly 20 years, even though her son earned his Eagle rank in 2009. She is the Chair of the Great Alaska Council Emergency and Risk Management Committee, and an active adult and merit badge counselor in the Boy Scout program, helping a new generation of boys grow up to become good men. She is a small group leader and legal advisor to the Practical Positive Parenting program, helping parents become better parents.
When she is not working or volunteering, Rhonda enjoys quilting, reading, and kayaking. She appreciates the privilege of living in the incredible beauty of Alaska.
Areas of Practice
- Family Law
- Child Custody & Modification
- Child Support & Modification
- Domestic Violence
- Alaska, 1977
- U.S. District Court District of Alaska, 1991
- Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, District of Columbia
- J.D. - 1976
- State University of New York, Brockport, New York
- B.A. - 1972
- Honors: magna cum laude
- Geldermann v. Geldermann, S-16381, S-16401 (Alaska), (custody modification)
- Herring v. Herring, 373 P.3d 521 (Alaska 2016) , (divorce-retirement division issues)
- Dundas v. Dundas, 362 P.3d 468 (Alaska 2015) , (divorce-property & debt division issues)
- Becky H. v. Martin G., S-15643 (Alaska July 15, 2015), (grandparent adoption)
- Kyte v. Stallings, 334 P.3d 697 (Alaska 2014), (child support modification)
- James R. v. Kylie R., 320 P.3d 273 (Alaska 2014), (interstate custody; military service member)
- Co v. Matson, 313 P.3d 521 (Alaska 2013), (custody)
- Gorton v. Mann, 281 P.3d 81 (Alaska 2012), (child support; deduction for shared custody of prior children)
- Weinberger v. Weinmeister, 268 P.3d 305 (Alaska 2012), (domestic violence by mother; discrimination against father)
- Agen v. State, Dept of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division, 945 P.2d 1215 (Alaska 1997), (child support)
- State Dept. of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division v. Demers, 915 P.2d 1219 (Alaska 1996), (child support)
- Ingram v. State, 703 P.2d 415 (Alaska App. 1985), (drug prosecution; searches & seizures; sentence appeal)
- Resek v. State, 644 P.2d 877 (Alaska App. 1982), (drug prosecution; sentence appeal)
Honors and Awards
- Boy Scouts of America, Denali District Award of Merit
- Alaska Legal Services Corp. – Volunteer of the Month, November 2014
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member, 2006 – present, Member, Child Support Committee; Military Members’ Committee
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Member, 2012 - present
- 6th World Congress on International Family Law and Children’s Rights, Attendee, 2013, Sydney, Australia
Past Employment Positions
- Late Justice Jay A. Rabinowitz, Alaska Supreme Court, Law Clerk
- District Attorney's Office and Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, Prosecutor
- Attorney General's Office, Civil Section, State of Alaska Child Support Enforcement Division
Pro Bono Activities
- Boy Scouts of America; Troop Committee Chair; Training Committee; Merit Badge Counselor, 2000 to Present
- Practical Positive Parenting, Small Group Leader, 2006 to Present