Karen Irvin is an icon within the family law community. She was recently acknowledged by her colleagues in the AFCC with a virtual tribute hosted by the AFCC as she moves to Arizona to be with her daughter and enjoy the warmer climate. Many in our ADR and mental health community have been trained or mentored by Karen or have consulted with her in some respect. Lawyers in our community have engaged her services in many capacities, and judicial officers have read her reports. Karen ably served on the ADR Ethics Board including serving as its Chair. As recently as last September, Karen was a featured speaker at the AAML’s Divorce Camp.
It is not possible to overstate how important Karen has been to the family law community. She was one of the movers and shakers who brought mediation to family court in Minnesota. Similarly, she helped bring parenting consultants into our family law toolbox. Most times a person who wanted to bring a new idea or develop a best practice for family law consulted with Karen at some point.
Karen received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, majoring in secondary education. After teaching at the secondary level for six years, she obtained her master’s and doctorate in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota. She worked with Hennepin County Court Services Domestic Relations Division in Minneapolis for six years, serving as a mediator, counselor and custody evaluator, and working in a supervisory capacity for four of the six years. Dr. Irvin was in private practice as the owner and director of Minnesota Mediation & Counseling Center since 1981 where she specialized in working with separating and divorcing individuals, couples and families, providing mediation, parenting consulting, custody evaluations, closure therapy, and coaching. In addition, she taught marriage and family therapy courses at Argosy University and St. Mary’s University, with an emphasis on human sexuality, ethics, and mediation. Karen is also an approved supervisor through the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy in Minnesota, and through AAMFT.
In 2013, Karen retired from clinical practice, but continues to teach, train, and provide supervision and consultation to professionals. In fact, there is a good chance you are in one of her many consultation groups. One of Karen’s most lasting legacies in our community is the way she has brought the legal and mental health disciplines together, and to expand our mutual understanding of systems and change.
We are confident Karen will remain involved with our chapter; she can be seen attending the community chats. Nothing so ordinary as approximately 1,000 miles distance is enough to cut Karen’s ties to the Minnesota Chapter of the AFCC.