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Matrimonial & Family Law

Our highly respected Matrimonial & Family Law department is comprised of attorneys who use their individual and collective ability to guide clients through difficult and emotional issues.  The chair of our department is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is the co-chair of the Matrimonial Law Section of the New York County Lawyers Association, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.
In counseling clients, Phillips Nizer LLP’s goal is to achieve the maximum and best results in the most cost-effective manner, preferably with minimal conflict through negotiated settlements, if appropriate through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes such as mediation (our attorneys are certified collaborative lawyers and our department chair is trained in divorce mediation) or through litigation in court.  Our attorneys have extensive experience in heavily litigated matters.

Subject matters frequently encountered in matrimonial and family law proceedings include:

Divorce, Equitable Distribution of Property and Support

  • Our attorneys have significant experience in handling complex issues of equitable distribution of property and spousal and child support through negotiation or litigation.
  • Our attorneys have the advantage of being able to work closely with the firm’s Tax, Trusts & Estates, Corporate, and Real Estate practice teams who are familiar with the rules and regulations of federal and state tax laws, retirement accounts, stock options, family partnerships, closely-held businesses, as well as professional practices and licenses.

Child Custody and Visitation

  • Our Matrimonial and Family Law department includes attorneys who are certified Law Guardians, who have represented hundreds of parents and children in court proceedings, and who have a record of success in dealing with expert mental health testimony in custody and visitation matters.
  • We also have experience in proceedings involving grandparents wishing to maintain a legally protected relationship with a grandchild or grandchildren.

Prenuptial, Postnuptial  and Cohabitation Agreements

  • The lawyers in our department have substantial experience preparing prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements.


  • Our attorneys in both the Matrimonial & Family Law practice group and in the Trusts & Estates practice group have substantial experience representing individuals who require the assistance of court-appointed fiduciaries to protect and manage an individual and/or the individual’s assets.

Adoption, Child Custody and Mental Hygiene Law Guardianship Proceedings

  • Our attorneys handle all types of adoptions, including private adoptions, agency adoptions and overseas adoptions.  We are also able to handle immigration issues that may be involved in overseas adoptions Mental Hygiene Law, Guardianship and matters involving incapacitated individuals.
  • Defense of foster parents and family members who desire to adopt children they have cared for, either voluntarily or appointment by the court.

Child Maltreatment, Neglect, and Abuse

  • Defense of individuals charged with child sexual abuse.
  • Defense of individuals involved in allegations of neglect and physical abuse including Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Attorneys practicing in this area:

Richard J. Adago
Elizabeth A. Adinolfi
Mitchell H. Levitin
Athena M. Mihalos
Martin B. Wasser
Elliot J. Wiener