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Melissa J. Nilsson

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Henson Efron
225 South Sixth Street, Suite 1600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612-252-2829
Fax: 612-339-6364
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2022
Selected to Rising Stars: 2008 - 2012
Licensed in Minnesota Since: 2005
Practice Areas: Family Law
Attorney Profile

Melissa J. Nilsson is a family law attorney at and shareholder of the law firm of Henson & Efron, P.A. She has over 17 years of legal experience handling a broad spectrum of family law cases in Minneapolis, Minnesota, including divorce, parenting time, third-party child custody and visitation, business and retirement benefits valuation, property division, alimony, paternity, post-decree modifications and family law appeals.

Ms. Nilsson understands that family legal issues can be overwhelming for her clients, both from an emotional and legal standpoint. She remains available and prepared to provide her clients with the level of attention and care they deserve. Over her career, she has been successful in obtaining favorable results for her clients competently and cost-effectively. She also handles a wide range of disputes as a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice.

A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Ms. Nilsson obtained her Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on sociology and psychology and a minor in Spanish in 1997. She completed her legal education at the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2000 and is authorized to practice law in Minnesota. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable James T. Swenson, the Chief Judge of Hennepin County and former Presiding Judge of Hennepin County Family Court.

Ms. Nilsson is actively affiliated with several legal associations such as American Bar Association – Family Law Section and the Minnesota State Bar Association. She functioned as the co-chair of the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Family Law Section from 2014 to 2016. She also volunteers to offer services to those in her community by being part of the Hennepin County Unbundled Law Project, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Family Law Clinic of the Volunteer Lawyers Network. 

An accomplished attorney, Ms. Nilsson was recognized among The Best Lawyers in America by Minnesota Monthly Magazine in 2019 and also named "Lawyer of the Year" in Minneapolis Family Law (2022) by the same. Furthermore, she is among the Twin Cities Business 2022 Notable Women in Law honorees and is rated “Very Good” through Avvo.

Ms. Nilsson regularly publishes articles and presents at professional and continuing legal education seminars on family law topics across Minnesota.

Practice Areas
  • 100%Family Law
Focus Areas

Adoption, Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Name Change, Paternity, Prenuptial Agreements, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Same Sex Family Law


9 Years Super Lawyers
5 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2022
  • Rising Stars: 2008 - 2012

About Melissa J. Nilsson

First Admitted: 2005, Minnesota

Professional Webpage:


  • 2022 Notable Women in Law Honoree, Twin Cities Business
  • Featured in Minnesota Monthly Magazine as The Best Lawyers in America® 2019
  • Selected for inclusion in Minnesota Super Lawyers–Rising Stars®, 2008–2012
  • Selected for inclusion in Top 100: Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2018, 2020 & 2021
  • Selected for inclusion in Top 50: Women Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2017–2021
  • Selected for inclusion in Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2014–2021
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2015-2022, Family Law
  • Named 2022 Minneapolis Family Law "Lawyer of the Year", Best Lawyers in America® (honoring a single lawyer in each specific practice and metropolitan area)
  • 2021 Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year

Educational Background

  • B.A., University of North Dakota, 1997

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Family Law Section, Co-Chair, 2014-2016, 2016
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • American Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Minnesota

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • How to Handle a Divorce Involving a Family Business. Providing valuable insights on the complex issues facing family law attorneys today, Co-Presenter, Is it Okay to Double Dip?, Minnesota CLE Seminar, Family Law Attorneys, 2019
  • Co-Presenter, “Your First Minnesota Divorce Case,” Minnesota State Board CLE, 2013 and 2014
  • Co-Presenter, “Get Ready to Deviate: Calculating Gross Income of Business Owners in light of Haefele v. Haefele,” HCBA CLE, 2013
  • Presenter, “Basics of Custody and Parenting Time” and “A Beginner’s Guide to Property Division,” Family Law Institute, 2013-2016
  • Co-Presenter, “Family Caselaw and Legislative Update,” Family Law Institute, 2013-2015, 2017
  • Panel Member, “New Lawyer Experience: Quick Answers to Questions That Friends, Relatives and Strangers Will Ask You at Cocktail Parties,” Minnesota State Board CLE, 2014
  • Co-Presenter, “Preserving Trust Assets in a Divorce Proceeding–Keeping the Money in the Family,” Probate & Trust Law Institute, 2015
  • Co-Author, “Judicial Contempt Outline” with Judge James T. Swenson, Judicial College, 2003
  • Co-Author, “Understanding Non-Marital Tracing,” Family Law Institute, 2007
  • Co-Author, “Property Division in High Net Worth Divorces,” Family Law Institute, 2009
  • Featured in “Where Intellect and Civility are Key,” Attorney at Law Magazine – Women in Law Special Issue, November 2014
  • Featured in "Melissa Nilsson: Clear Solutions to Complex Problems,” Attorney at Law Magazine, December 2019
  • Reference, Co-author, Family Caselaw and Legislative Update, Family Law Institute, Family Law Attorneys, 2017

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Volunteer, Hennepin County Unbundled Legal Services, 2019
  • Volunteer, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Treasurer and Volunteer Coordinator, Committee to Keep Judge Swenson, Chief Judge of Hennepin County, 2008
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association, Unmarried Couples Task Force
  • Volunteer Attorney, Volunteer Lawyers Network Family Law Clinic

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, 2019
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Office Location for Melissa J. Nilsson

225 South Sixth Street
Suite 1600
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-252-2829

Fax: 612-339-6364

Last Updated: 6/14/2022

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