Mary Madden is a District Court Referee with Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District's Family Court. She practiced family law exclusively for close to 20 years, including 11 years as a solo family law practitioner, before joining the Family Court bench in 2008.
Since 2013, the District has been the recipient of three grants funded by the Department of Justice – Office of Violence Against Women, specifically, the Family Court Enhancement Project grant, a Mentor Court grant and a Justice for Families grant. Referee Madden has served as the lead judicial officer for all of those grants. She has co-authored two articles about this grant work published in the Spring 2018 edition of CW360°, an annual publication of the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work – Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, and the January 2019 edition of the Journal of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts quarterly publication, Family Court Review – An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Referee Madden also spearheaded the development of the District's Family Court firearms surrender protocol in civil protective orders required under both state and federal law.
In 2019, Referee Madden was one of 13 judicial officers in the Country selected as a fellow to participate in the Judicial Engagement Network (JEN) Inaugural Fellowship Program. JEN identifies and brings together judicial officers to promote cutting-edge practices that result in better outcomes for families; provides opportunities for judicial officers to craft and hone leadership skills; and supports the passing of knowledge and expertise to the next generation of judicial officers.
Referee Madden served on the Custody Dialogue Group established by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton whose work preceded the passage of the Minnesota's revised custody and parenting time "best interest" factors in 2015. The factor on domestic abuse was specifically crafted based on the Battered Women's Justice Project's SAFeR approach.
Referee Madden serves as the chair of the District's Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and Advisory Board. She is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law teaching Domestic Violence and the Law, and has served as a mentor to numerous University of St. Thomas School of Law students. She also serves as a trainer with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Referee Madden is a former president of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Minnesota Chapter Board of Directors, and a former board Member of Minnesota Women Lawyers, during which time she received the Minnesota Women Lawyers Public Service Award. She has served on numerous community non-profit boards over the years devoted to addressing issues of sexual assault, commercial sexual exploitation and chemical dependency.
Early in her career, Referee Madden volunteered with Volunteer Lawyers Network - Homeless Project for 10 years, along with Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights - Asylum Project. In 2011, Referee Madden was part of a Minnesota State Bar Association delegation that traveled to Cuba on a professional research visa. During that time, Referee Madden had the opportunity to meet with a Cuban Family Court judge with a similar passion on the issue of domestic violence.
Referee Madden is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and William Mitchell School of Law (n/k/a Mitchell Hamline School of Law).