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 1980s. 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 – to 2001, she worked on 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 18 years. She handles trials, settlements, administrative matters, and appeals with the knowledge, experience, and confidence of someone with four-plus 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 was 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.
Daum v. Daum, S-17835 (2022) (representing Dad on appeal) (interstate child support issue; regarding whether dad has to pay post-majority child support for an adult child on the autistic spectrum)
Jordan v. Jordan, 480 P.3d 626 (Alaska 2021) (representing Husband at trial and on appeal) (trial court erred in using husband's VA disability to allocate equal funds to wife)
Roman v. Karren, 461 P.3d 1252 (Alaska 2020) (representing Dad at trial and on appeal) (Dad was properly awarded custody of a child where mom was unable and unwilling to facilitate the relationship between dad and child)
Downs v. Downs, 440 P.3d 294 (Alaska 2019) (representing Wife on appeal) (Wife was properly awarded the majority of assets when Husband's receipt of medical care was dependent on a reduced income)
Geldermann v. Geldermann, 428 P.3d 477 (Alaska 2018) (representing Dad at trial and on appeal) (state custody of young son properly granted to dad; mom ordered to pay child support)
Herring v. Herring, 373 P.3d 521 (Alaska 2016) (representing Husband at trial and on appeal) (divorce-retirement division issues; Husband won on remand)
Dundas v. Dundas, 362 P.3d 468 (Alaska 2015) (representing Husband on appeal) (divorce-property and debt issues)
Becky H. v. Martin G., S-15643 (Alaska July 15, 2015) (representing adoptive grandparents at trial and on appeal) (grandparents' adoption of child affirmed where mom failed to have significant contact with the child)
Kyte v. Stallings, 334 P.3d 697 (Alaska 2014) (representing dad in child support case at trial and on appeal) (child support modification)
James R. v. Kylie R., 320 P.3d 273 (Alaska 2014) (representing dad in custody case at trial and on appeal) (Dad getting out of the military in Alaska and moving to another state; the court found mom more likely to promote and encourage a relationship between the child and another parent)
Co v. Matson, 313 P.3d 521 (Alaska 2013) (representing dad at trial and on appeal) (custody case awarding custody to mom; affirmed)
Gorton v. Mann, 281 P.3d 81 (Alaska 2012) (representing Dad at trial and on appeal) (child support issue on whether dad should get a deduction when he had shared custody of older children) (this case led to a change in Civil Rule 90.3(a)(1)(D), authorizing parents with shared custody of prior children to receive a deduction for those children in calculating child support for a later-born child)
Weinberger v. Weinmeister, 268 P.3d 305 (Alaska 2012) (representing Dad in custody case on appeal) (domestic violence by mom; discrimination by the judge against dad in awarding custody to mom; trial judge's decision reversed)
McDonald v. Trihub, 173 P.3d 416 (Alaska 2007) (representing Mom at trial and on appeal) (trial court properly imputed average wage income to self-employed dad for child support purposes)
Agen v. State, Dept. of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division, 945 P.2d 1215 (Alaska 1997) (representing State CSED) (child support issue – dad cannot unilaterally waive his rights to the child and thereby avoid child support obligation)
State Dept. of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division v. Demers, 915 P.2d 1219 (Alaska 1996) (representing State CSED) (child support issue – trial court prohibited from adding restrictions to CSED's ability to execute on judgment for child support arrears).
Ingram v. State, 703 P.2d 415 (Alaska App. 1985) (representing State at trial and on appeal) (drug prosecution; searches & seizures; sentence appeal)
Elson v. State, 659 P.2d 1195 (Alaska 1983) (representing State at trial and on appeal) (drug prosecution; affirmed)
Resek v. State, 644 P.2d 877 (Alaska App. 1982) (representing State at trial and on appeal) (drug prosecution; sentence appeal) Marsden v. State, 589 P.2d 863 (Alaska 1979) (representing State on appeal) (conviction for assault and sentence affirmed)