Four paralegal students and Kofi Montzka, executive paralegal program chair, left Minnesota School of Business-Blaine headed for New Hope Recovery Center in Minneapolis with a plan. The students spent many hours researching topics such as parenting time statutes and procedure, child support laws, and how to modify child support while they are not working and in recovery, and found cases to support their research. The students were equipped to provide the residents of New Hope Recovery Center—males recovering from addiction—with information on these topics, under the supervision of Kofi Montzka, who is a licensed attorney.
In class, the students discussed many options for this applied learning project, but decided to work with New Hope Recovery Center because of the need for family law help, as this population has issues with support with child support and parenting time information. New Hope Recovery Center was picked also for their need of information—they were very interested in having the students present this information.
“Minnesota statute states that if a parent requests parenting time with their child, it is presumed that the non-custodial parent will get at least 25 percent parenting time,” stated Montzka. “This is something that many people do not know.”
The students also prepared informational brochures on relevant family law topics such as orders for protection, property division, spousal maintenance, custody and parenting time. There were about 25 men in attendance for the students’ presentations and students wanted them to feel empowered with this information.
Following the presentations, two of the residents shared their personal stories with the students. The students then went on a tour of the facility. The week following the field trip, students had a discussion in class about the experience with their instructor.
“Preparing for our applied learning project was intense, but after we walked into the recovery center, I felt so at ease and comfortable that nothing else mattered,” Danielle Schmidt, a student in the Family Law class, said. “The gentlemen at the center were so interested in what we had prepared that it went smoothly, and the participation from the group was enlightening. I would have no problem walking in there and talking to them again. They made me feel important.”