Get to Know Carlo Martina


Carlo J. Martina is president of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, and has served as chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association.  He also is a member of the Oakland, Washtenaw and Livingston County Bar Associations.

Besides speaking at seminars put on by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the State Bar Family Law Section, the Referees Association of Michigan and various other Bar and civic organizations, he wrote Chapter One of ICLE’s two-volume set, Michigan Family Law as well as articles for the Michigan Family Law Journal and other Bar and civic publications.

An alumnus of Wayne State University Law School, Martina has been awarded the Purple Rose Award by the Arab American Coalition Against Domestic Violence and a Special Recognition Award by the Wayne County Council Against Family Violence at their 25th anniversary celebration.

Martina, who is married to family law attorney Marie Pulte, is the father/stepfather of four.

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

What was your proudest moment as a law student?
Having just started my term as Student Board of Governors president, with the efforts of other student organizations and community leaders, we stopped the faculty from implementing changes in the admissions policy as a knee jerk reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bakke decision, at a time when our law school had but a handful of minority students and women were still grossly underrepresented.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer?
It’s a toss-up. After working for over 6 years to change the draconian, custody fight- inducing “shared economic child support formula calculation,” with the help of several lawyers working on Council’s Family Support Committee, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to the changes we were recommending, ending the cliff effect which caused support to irrationally plummet at 128 overnights instead of tapering off.  The other was while president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association. With the help of many  lawyers, judges and other organizations, we were able to  stop a court administration attempt to end Wayne County Circuit Court’s dedicated Family Division which had begun assigning general civil cases to Family Division judges.
What did you learn  as chair of the State Bar Family Law Section and president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association? The best ideas for solving a problem come when you engage the input of well-intentioned attorneys who may have divergent ideas of defining the problem and how to solve it, but are open minded towards collaborating on reaching a reasonable solution. 

What’s the best compliment you’ve received?
That I was fair.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B?
Teaching history and civics to high school students.

What is your most treasured material possession?
A T-shirt my boys made for me for Father’s Day 25 years ago where they dipped their hands in fabric paint and put their hand prints all over the back of it, with their names painted under them.

What would surprise people about your job?
You can’t help but worry about how your client will fare once their divorce is over.

What do you wish someone would invent?
A code of principles that all the faiths of the world would recognize as universal, thus reducing the motivation to fight over differences in one’s faith.  (OK, a long shot I know.)

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most?
Spending more time with our four children.

What is your most typical mood?
Optimistic. I really think that with enough effort, solutions can be found to most problems.

What historic event would you like to have witnessed? Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address with its emphasis on equality, respect for the sacrifices made to preserve our nation’s most fundamental principles, and that final note of hope that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

What is the best advice you received?
After giving a commencement address at law school graduation as Student Board of Government president, my father asked I promise to do two things: remember where you came from (he was an immigrant and we were a working class family of modest means) and give the same advice to clients as you would if they were a member of our family.

What kind of time-managing system do you use?
One that clearly is insufficient for my purposes.

What question do you most often ask yourself?
Did I do the right thing?

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Assuming I could also be instantly imbued with the appropriate skills, a surgeon. 

What word do you overuse? “Honestly.”