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Judge Melissa J. Houghtaling

Hennepin County Courthouse
Fourth Judicial District
(612) 348-2040

Chambers Phone: (612) 543-4962
Law Clerk: (612) 543-4985

Fourth Judicial District Judicial Officers

Judge Melissa J. Houghtaling


Referee, January 2018, Hennepin County Civil and Criminal Divisions
Judge, June 2022


J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, 2007
B.A., Hamline University, 2002 


Human Services Judge, Minnesota Department of Human Services (2017)
Appeals Attorney, Minnesota Tax Court (2016-2017)
Hearing Officer, Saint Paul Public Housing (2017)
Conciliation Court Referee, 2nd and 4th Judicial Districts (2015-2017)
Private Practice (2007-2016)

Professional Memberships:

Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Legislative Committee (2007-2011)
Member, Minnesota Lavender Bar Association
  • Chair (2008-2010)
  • Treasurer (2010-2011)
  • Board of Directors (2004-2011)
Member Ramsey County Bar Association
  • Family Law Section Co-Chair (2012-2014)
Member, Minnesota Women Lawyers
Member, National LGBT Bar Association

Community Activities:

2017 St. Paul Civilian Police Academy
St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission
  • Chair (2017)
  • Rules Committee Chair (2014-2017)
Volunteer Lawyers Network
MSBA High School Mock Trial Program


Adjunct Professor, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (2017-2018)
  • Lawyering: Advice and Persuasion
  • Internship Supervising Attorney
Adjunct Professor, Hamline University (2012-2017)
  • Legal Research and Writing  
  • Family and Gender Issues in Law
Adjunct Professor, Inver Hills Community College (2011-2016)
  • Family Law
  • Field Supervising Attorney


Minnesota Child Custody Deskbook, 3rd Ed., Chapter 20: Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Families, Fall 2016
Minnesota Child Custody Deskbook, 2nd Ed., Chapter 20: LGBT Family Issues
The Complete Family Lawyer, Unmarried and Same-Sex Couples, November 2015
Marriage Equality in Minnesota for the Already Married, Lavender Magazine, August 8, 2013.
Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families Deskbook, 2nd Ed. December 2010, updated December 2014.