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Melissa  Needle

Melissa Needle

Needle | Cuda: Guidance and Direction to Move Forward
  • Divorce, Family Law
  • Connecticut, New York
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Biography

Attorney Melissa J. Needle focuses her practice exclusively on Family Law. Based in Westport, Connecticut, she provides astute advice and counsel to clients throughout Fairfield County--serving Westport, Greenwich, New Canaan, Wilton, Darien, and Fairfield. Ms. Needle has been admitted to practice before all Connecticut state courts since 1990, and she is also admitted to practice in New York.

Attorney Needle's approach strikes a hard-to-find balance between aggressive client representation and the preservation of family. Before starting Needle|Cuda, Attorney Needle found that most firms in the market practiced at the extreme ends of the spectrum -- either being overly aggressive or collaborative to a fault.  Needle|Cuda strives to deliver a service that brings clients the best of both worlds because the long-term dynamic and health of your family is worth protecting.

Attorney Needle specializes is high net worth divorces and deals frequently with closely held family businesses, hedge fund investments/ownership interests, private equity ownership interests, complex family trusts, and other complex assets valuations. A forceful courtroom advocate and expert family law litigator, Attorney Needle has also worked on highly contested custody and relocation disputes, although she strives to help her clients come to an agreement in a less-adversarial manner such as mediation when that is possible.

Ms. Needle's experience has also encompassed the preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and various types of protective orders for domestic violence victims.  Attorney Needle also helps clients who have already divorced and who are seeking enforcement of or modifications to existing support and parenting orders.

Practice Areas
Divorce
Collaborative Law, Contested Divorce, Military Divorce, Property Division, Same Sex Divorce, Spousal Support & Alimony, Uncontested Divorce
Family Law
Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support, Father's Rights, Guardianship & Conservatorship, Paternity, Prenups & Marital Agreements, Restraining Orders, Same Sex Family Law
Video Conferencing
  • Google Meet
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • WebEx
Fees
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Connecticut
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New York
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Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Attorney
Needle | Cuda Divorce and Family Law
- Current
Attorney
Rutkin & Oldham
-
Attorney
Schoomaker & George
-
Attorney
Law Offices of Gary Cohen
-
General Counsel
American Infrastructure LLC
-
Education
Whittier Law School
J.D. (1990) | Law
Whittier Law School Logo
Tufts University
B.A. (1987) | English Language & Literature/Letters
Tufts University Logo
Awards
Best Lawyer Award - Family Law
The Best Lawyers in America
10.0 Superb Rating
Avvo
Peer Review Rated
Martindale-Hubbell
2018-2023
Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
2019-2023
10 Best Attorney in Client Satisfaction
American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
2019-2021
Clients’ Choice Award
Avvo
Professional Associations
American Bar Association  # 01302717
Member
Current
Activities: Family Law Section
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Connecticut Bar Association
Member
Current
Activities: Family Law Section
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Fairfield County Bar Association
Member
Current
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American Association of Certified Financial Litigators
Founding Member
Current
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American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
Member
Current
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Greater Bridgeport Bar Association
Member
Current
Activities: Family Law Section
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Connecticut Family Lawyer
Editorial Board, Former Member
Current
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Connecticut Superior Court
Special Master
Current
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New York State Bar  # 2434157
Member
- Current
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Connecticut State Bar
Member
- Current
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Publications
Articles & Publications
Today's Business: Divorce, expert testimony and delivering a “winning narrative”
New Haven Register
Speaking Engagements
Earning Capacity in Family Law: Understanding the Law, Litigating the Issue, and Using an Expert, Annual Conference, Connecticut Bar Association, Hartford, CT
Divorce Law, Annual Meeting, Connecticut Bar Association
Websites & Blogs
Website
Videos
"How to Hire a Divorce Attorney?" with Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 1 - Divorce Doesn't Suck podcast, Hosted by Wendy Sloane The first (1st) installment of a twelve (12)... How to Hire a Divorce Attorney? with Attorney Melissa Needle - Divorce Doesn't Suck - Episode 1

"How to Hire a Divorce Attorney?" with Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 1 - Divorce Doesn't Suck podcast, Hosted by Wendy Sloane The first (1st) installment of a twelve (12)...

The third (3rd) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title - "Getting Started... "Getting Started with Your Attorney" with Attorney Melissa Needle; Podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck"

The third (3rd) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title - "Getting Started...

The fourth (4th) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title: "Strategy and Priorities... "Strategy and Priorities" in CT Divorce (Part 1); Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 4 - DDS Podcast

The fourth (4th) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title: "Strategy and Priorities...

The second interview with Melissa Needle in a twelve (12) part series featured on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Attorney Melissa Needle's monthly series, "Mapping your new path forward," deals with hard hitting questions about divorce and offers practical tips for individuals confronted with the prospect of divorce. "The Anatomy of a Connecticut Divorce" with Attorney Melissa Needle (Podcast - Divorce Doesn't Suck"

The second interview with Melissa Needle in a twelve (12) part series featured on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Attorney Melissa Needle's monthly series, "Mapping your new path forward," deals with hard hitting questions about divorce and offers practical tips for individuals confronted with the prospect of divorce.

"Contested Custody in Connecticut Divorce" with Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 6 from the "Divorce Doesn't Suck" Podcast, Hosted by Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title - "Contested Child Custody"... Contested Custody in CT Divorce with Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 6 DDS Podcast

"Contested Custody in Connecticut Divorce" with Attorney Melissa Needle - Episode 6 from the "Divorce Doesn't Suck" Podcast, Hosted by Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title - "Contested Child Custody"...

What is the difference between Mediation and Arbitration in Connecticut Divorce? Attorney Melissa Needle offers essential information about the nuances of each process on WICC-AM / WEBE FM "Melissa in the Morning" Show. For more videos about Divorce and Family Law in Connecticut go to https://www.youtube.com/.../UCHNDVp83... Needle | Cuda is a divorce and family law firm focused on matters involving high-net-worth divorce, contested custody, and complex property division. Mediation vs. Arbitration in Connecticut Divorce discussed by Attorney Melissa Needle

What is the difference between Mediation and Arbitration in Connecticut Divorce? Attorney Melissa Needle offers essential information about the nuances of each process on WICC-AM / WEBE FM "Melissa in the Morning" Show. For more videos about Divorce and Family Law in Connecticut go to https://www.youtube.com/.../UCHNDVp83... Needle | Cuda is a divorce and family law firm focused on matters involving high-net-worth divorce, contested custody, and complex property division.

The fifth (5th) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title: "Strategy and Priorities... Strategy and Priorities in CT Divorce (Part 2); Attorney Melissa Needle; Episode 5 DDS Podcast

The fifth (5th) episode in a twelve (12) part series with Attorney Melissa Needle on the podcast "Divorce Doesn't Suck" with Wendy Sloan and Dan Herrold. Title: "Strategy and Priorities...

Attorney Melissa Needle, Managing Partner of Needle|Cuda: Divorce and Family Law discusses high-net-worth divorce in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Contested Child Custody. Needle|Cuda proudly serves clients in Greenwich, Darien, Fairfield,... WICC MELISSA IN THE MORNING NEEDLE CUDA 031622

Attorney Melissa Needle, Managing Partner of Needle|Cuda: Divorce and Family Law discusses high-net-worth divorce in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Contested Child Custody. Needle|Cuda proudly serves clients in Greenwich, Darien, Fairfield,...

Attorney Melissa Needle, Managing Partner of Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law, discusses contested child custody, narcissistic personality disorder/extreme personalities in divorce actions, and COVID-19 impacts on and the... WICC MELISSA IN THE MORNING with ATTORNEY MELISSA NEEDLE discussing Divorce

Attorney Melissa Needle, Managing Partner of Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law, discusses contested child custody, narcissistic personality disorder/extreme personalities in divorce actions, and COVID-19 impacts on and the...

Attorney Melissa Needle discusses: Preparing for the "Divorce Journey," Property Division ("Equitable Distribution"), and Prenuptial Agreements in Connecticut Divorces on WICC-600 AM "Melissa in the Morning." Needle | Cuda is a divorce and family law firm focused on matters involving high-net-worth divorce, contested custody, and complex property division. Your "Divorce Journey" - Attorney Melissa Needle talks with "Melissa in the Morning" on WICC-600 AM

Attorney Melissa Needle discusses: Preparing for the "Divorce Journey," Property Division ("Equitable Distribution"), and Prenuptial Agreements in Connecticut Divorces on WICC-600 AM "Melissa in the Morning." Needle | Cuda is a divorce and family law firm focused on matters involving high-net-worth divorce, contested custody, and complex property division.

Legal Answers
2 Questions Answered
Q. Can I hire a GAL for my grandchildren so that I know their best interests are being presented?
A: GAL's are either appointed by the Court in a Divorce or Family Law Action or determined by mutual agreement of the Parties and "approved" by the Court.

WHAT IS A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL)?

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a court appointed individual, by either the successful motion of a party or when the family court determines a GAL is necessary to advocate for the best interests of the child. The court considers appointment of a GAL when parties (parents) are unable to resolve a parenting or child related dispute, and they are frequently appointed when the matter is a highly contested custody dispute.

The GAL’s role is different from that of an Attorney for a Minor Child (AMC). GALs ONLY represents the best interests of the child, and may testify as a witness, providing the court with what they believe to the best interests of the child based, while an AMC represents both a child legal interests AND best interests, but does not testify before the court.

DOES A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL) NEED TO BE A LICENSED ATTORNEY?

Only individuals who have completed the comprehensive training program outlined in the Connecticut Judicial Branch’s Practice Book are eligible to be a GAL. Unlike AMCs, GALs do not have to be attorneys.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL)?

A GAL only represents the best interests of the child. The court may require the GAL to perform certain functions.

Some of the functions could be:

Investigate facts;

Interview the parties, the child, and close relatives;

Review files and records;

Talk to teachers, coaches, and people involved in the lives of the children;

Speak with medical professionals, including mental health providers;

Participate in court hearings;

Make recommendations to the court with respect to visitation and the mechanics of a proposed parenting plan;

Encourage settlement of disputes between the parties;

The court may also need the GAL to perform other functions to promote the best interests of the child. The court will delineate the role of the GAL in each case, which role will be made an order of the court.

Who pays the GAL?

The parties to the case (parents) pay the fees for the GAL. Each party is required to submit a financial affidavit to the court prior to and/or simultaneously with the appointment of a GAL. The court will consider each party’s financial situation and order how the payment is to be divided between them. In some cases, the parties may qualify for the appointment of a GAL that is paid for by the state, or the GAL fees may be on a sliding scale based on financial resources of the parties.
... Read More
Q. What’s my rights as a grandparent
A: Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights? (Connecticut)

Yes, grandparents can petition the courts for visitation rights just as any third party. The courts will use the same standard of the child’s best interest to determine if the grandparents should have visitation rights. In order to be awarded visitation, the grandparents must also convey to the court that they have a parent like relationship with the child and that depriving them of visitation rights would significantly affect the child.
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Contact & Map
Needle | Cuda Divorce and Family Law
830 Post Road East Suite 301
Westport, CT 06880
Telephone: (203) 557-9500
Fax: (203) 557-9504
Monday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed (Today)
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