Ottawa family law judge honored by State Bar

Ottawa County's 20th Circuit Court Chief Judge Jon Van Allsburg is being honored for contributions to the field of family law.

The State Bar of Michigan has named him the 2021 recipient of the Marilyn J. Kelly Award for Outstanding Judicial Service in Family Law.

The award is in honor of former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn J. Kelly, who was well-respected for her knowledge of family law and her advocacy for youth and families engaged with the justice system. In 2015, the State Bar of Michigan established the award to recognize judges for contributions to family law in Michigan.

Since his election to the 20th Circuit Court, Van Allsburg has handled a busy Family Division docket and has been appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to serve as business court judge and chief judge. 

Active beyond his courtroom

In addition to his scheduled courtroom cases, Van Allsburg authors numerous family law opinions, is active with the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and is a frequent lecturer and presenter for judicial and attorney continuing education programs.

"Assisting families as they navigate complicated and often divisive legal situations is an extremely rewarding part of my service as a Circuit Court judge," Van Allsburg says. "Promoting the rule of law with respect, compassion and patience for the litigants and attorneys appearing in court is how we provide excellent public service while administering justice and resolving these often-complex court cases."

Van Allsburg is an honors graduate of the Michigan State University College of Law. He joined the Circuit Court in 2005 after a 25-year career in the practice of law, during which he served as chairman of the board of the Michigan West Coast (formerly Holland Area) Chamber of Commerce.

He is immediate past-president of the Michigan Judges Association and will continue serving in the Family Division of the Circuit Court.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.