Our Practice Areas

You’re not alone. At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we understand the emotional turmoil and uncertainty of divorce and family disputes. Our seasoned team of family law attorneys is here to provide the support and guidance you need during these challenging times.

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Stamford and Westport
With over 100 years of combined experience, our attorneys practice exclusively in all areas of family law, including:


  • Legal Separation
  • Child Custody & Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Property & Asset Division
  • Alimony & Spousal Support
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Mediation
    • Arbitration
    • Collaborative Divorce
  • Divorce Litigation
  • Post Divorce Appeals, Disputes, & Modifications

Family Law

  • Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
  • Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders
  • Paternity Actions
  • LGBTQ+ Representation

Compassionate and Supportive Representation

Family disputes can be emotionally taxing. We recognize that every case is unique. That’s why we take a personalized approach, carefully evaluating your situation and crafting a strategy tailored to your needs.

We are here to provide compassionate and supportive legal representation throughout these transitions. Our goal is to minimize conflict, help you make informed decisions, and enable you to move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

Advocating for Your Best Interests

Whether your case requires aggressive litigation or can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative divorce, we are committed to protecting your rights and interests.

Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to navigate the intricacies of the legal system and to achieve the best possible outcomes for you and your family. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and honoring your goals throughout the legal process.


A legal separation in Connecticut can resolve issues of alimony, child support, child custody, and property division, just like a divorce. However, you remain legally married while living separately and leading your own lives. A legal separation is not necessarily the best choice for couples, and we would discuss the benefits and pitfalls of this option. 

The grounds for legal separation in Connecticut are the same as those for divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage 
  • Living apart for 18 months 
  • Fraud
  • Abandonment for seven years
  • Willful desertion for one year
  • Intolerable cruelty 
  • Imprisonment 
  • Confinement for mental illness

At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we have over 100 years of experience helping couples through legal separation. We can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your family.

Here are some of the critical things to know about legal separation in Connecticut:

  • A legal separation is a legal proceeding that allows couples to live separately while remaining legally married.
  • The legal separation process is like the divorce process, and the same issues are addressed, such as alimony, child support, child custody, and property division.
  • A legal separation does not terminate the marriage. You will still be considered married for tax purposes and other legal matters.
  • If you decide to reconcile, you can do so at any time without legal intervention.

Navigating child custody laws in Connecticut can be complex and emotionally challenging. Having an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options is crucial.

At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we have over 100 years of experience helping families with child custody issues. We will work with you to get the best possible outcome for your child, whether that means reaching an agreement with your spouse or fighting for your rights in court.

Here are some of the critical things to know about child custody in Connecticut:

  • There are two types of child custody- legal custody and physical custody
  • Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, religion, and medical care
  • Physical custody refers to where the child lives more of the time and the schedule of parenting
  • The court will award custody based on the best interests of the child

Sole Custody in Connecticut
A parent with sole custody in Connecticut has the ultimate authority to make all child welfare decisions. The court considers several statutory factors, known as the Best Interest of the Child standard when determining custodial orders.

Some of the factors the court will consider include:

  • The child’s wishes if the child is of age to assist the Court
  • The parent’s fitness to parent
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The child’s stability and continuity of care
  • The parent’s ability to cooperate

Child support relates to the cost of raising and educating children in a marriage.

The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines are a set of formulae used to calculate child support. They consider the parents’ incomes, the number of children, and their needs to determine the amount of support. The noncustodial parent typically makes a payment to the custodial parent. In Connecticut, parents are generally responsible for child support until the child turns 18 or 19 if the child is still in high school.

However, the Child Support Guidelines are not always the final word on child support. They do not make specific provisions for high-income families. That’s where we come in. At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we handle unique situations requiring a deep understanding of the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines and a tailored approach to each case. Drawing on his years on the bench, Siegel, Colin & Kaufman partner Thomas D. Colin brings a deep and personal understanding of how judges make these decisions.

Calculating Child Support
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling high net-worth child support cases, ensuring that your case reaches the resolution you deserve. The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines allow the amount to be adjusted based on parents’ expenses, a child’s special needs, parenting expenses, parents’ medical or disability expenses, employment-related expenses, substantial assets or resources, division of marital assets in a divorce, differences in income between the parents, and needs of other dependents.

Modifying and Enforcing Child Support
Child support can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. Our attorneys are prepared to assist you in proving the income of each parent and achieving the child support award that meets your needs.

If the obligated parent is not paying child support, we can help enforce your child support order. The court can enforce child support orders by income withholding orders, incarceration, withholding of state and federal tax refunds, placing liens against property, and accessing bank accounts.

Support for a Child with a Disability
Support for a child with a disability can extend to age twenty-one in Connecticut. The amount of support is based on the child’s needs and the parent’s abilities to provide care. Our attorneys can help you navigate this complex situation and ensure your child’s needs are adequately covered.

If you’re going through a divorce in Connecticut, you’ll want to know how your property will be divided. The laws in Connecticut can be complex, and it’s essential to have an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.

At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we have over 100 years of experience helping families with property division issues. We know the law, and we know how to get results. We will work with you to get the fairest possible outcomes, regardless of whether you are the spouse seeking to keep the property or the spouse seeking to receive it.

Here are some of the critical things to know about property division in Connecticut

  • Connecticut is an “all-in-property” state. This means that all property owned by either spouse during the marriage is subject to division, regardless of how it is titled.
  • The court will divide the property equitably, which means fairly but not necessarily equally.
  • The court will consider several factors when dividing property, including:
    • The length of the marriage
    • The age and health of the spouses
    • The income and earning capacity of the spouses
    • The needs of the spouses and any children
    • The contributions of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, and appreciation of the property

Three-Step Approach to Property Division
In Connecticut, the division of assets in a divorce follows a three-step approach:

  1. Identify the Assets The first step is identifying all the assets that need to be distributed.
  2. Establish the Value The next step is to establish the value of these assets. This may require expert opinions, especially when the value of an asset is disputed.
  3. Determine the Distribution The final step is determining how the assets will be distributed. The spouses can agree upon this, or if an agreement can’t be reached, the judge will decide.

Alimony, often called spousal support, is a financial obligation one spouse may pay the other during and/or post-divorce. The purpose is rooted in a continuing duty to support the other spouse.

Understanding Alimony in Connecticut

If you are facing a divorce, you will want to know how alimony is determined or how to avoid alimony in Connecticut. Unlike child support, there are no set statutes, guidelines, or formulas for alimony. This means that the amount and duration are entirely at a judge’s discretion.

The lack of statutes or guidelines underscores the importance of having an attorney who understands the nuances of Connecticut law and has experience handling cases where alimony is a significant issue. It is based on several factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the spouses
  • The income and earning capacity of the spouses
  • The needs of the spouses and any children
  • The property division award, if any
  • The desirability and feasibility of the recipient spouse’s securing employment

If you are a spouse seeking alimony, it is essential to have an experienced attorney who can help you argue your case and get the alimony you deserve.

If you are a spouse paying alimony, you want an experienced attorney who can help you minimize your alimony payments.

Our first goal at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman is to resolve family disputes without the need for a contested hearing or trial. However, we understand that not all disagreements can be settled amicably. When this occurs, you need a skilled litigator to effectively present your case to the court. You need someone who is in tune with the outcome you need and desire.

Our experienced attorneys concentrate on high-asset divorce and family law cases. You can be assured that you will receive targeted and qualified representation across the table or before the court.

Preparing for Trial
The preparation for trial is a meticulous process. It begins with defining your goals and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your case and those of the opposing party. This could include obtaining a divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, or division of property. This understanding forms the foundation of a litigation strategy designed to achieve your objectives.

At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we don’t just prepare for trial. We strategize. We work closely with you to develop a comprehensive understanding of your situation, which allows us to represent your interests effectively and advocate on your behalf during the trial.

Our Approach
At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we recognize that every individual and every family is unique. We understand that your story is different, and it’s our job to help you tell it.

We work with you to understand your narrative, your needs, and your goals. This understanding allows us to represent you effectively and ensure the trial judge hears your story.

When you’re coping with a challenging family issue such as divorce, a smoother path forward can be alternative dispute resolution (ADR), although it is not appropriate in all cases.

ADR can be a faster, more efficient, and more affordable way to get the results of a dispute outside of court. There are three main types of ADR:

  • Mediation This is a voluntary process in which you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party to help you reach an agreement with counsel, perhaps in the background.
  • Arbitration This is a process in which you and your spouse agree to have a neutral third party decide your case.
  • Collaborative divorce This is a process in which you and your spouse work together with your attorneys, a neutral financial expert and divorce coach to reach an agreement.

ADR can be a good option for high net-worth divorces because it can help you:

  • Avoid the expense and stress of a trial
  • Maintain control over the process and outcome of your case
  • Protect your privacy
  • Craft a creative solution tailored to your unique needs

At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we have over 100 years of experience helping families resolve their disputes through ADR. We understand each process, and we know how to get results. We will work with you to find the proper ADR method that will help you reach a fair and amicable resolution.

Here are some of the things we can help you with:

  • Explaining the different types of ADR and helping you choose the right one for your case
  • Negotiating a settlement agreement with your spouse
  • Representing you in mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce

Divorce Mediation
Are you going through a divorce in Connecticut? If so, you might want to consider mediation, one of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) types, to resolve your disputes.

Mediation is a voluntary and non-binding process in which you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, called a mediator, to help you reach an agreement.

Mediation is available at any stage of your case:

  • At the outset of a case, working directly with a mediator
  • After the case has begun and the discovery phase is completed
  • At an impasse when settlement negotiations have broken down
  • Towards the end of a case as an alternative to an impending trial

Mediation has many benefits, including:

  • It can be more cost-effective than going to court
  • It is more confidential than going to court
  • It gives you more control over the outcome of your case
  • It allows you to maintain a positive relationship with your spouse if you have children

Mediation can take several forms. Sometimes, parties are represented by counsel during the mediation process. In other instances, spouses meet with an individual attorney who serves as a neutral mediator. In this scenario, we recommend that each party consult their independent counsel before finalizing the divorce.

The Benefits of Mediation
Mediation minimizes conflict and fosters a peaceful environment for spouses and children. You can find common ground and develop mutually satisfactory solutions by promoting open communication, understanding, and cooperation.

In mediation, you have some control. While mediators provide guidance, you can address critical issues and proceed quickly. As active participants in the decision-making process, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the outcomes and be able to create a resolution that works best for your family.

A Voluntary Journey to Agreement with a Mediator

Siegel, Colin & Kaufman lawyers are experienced, trained, and skilled mediators in helping couples resolve their disputes. In this process, we do not represent either spouse but rather facilitate discussions to help you reach a voluntary, fair, and amicable agreement.

SCK attorneys who can work with you in this manner include:

  • Frederic J. Siegel, with more than 40 years of practicing family law in Connecticut and New York, and is certified by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers as a divorce mediator.
  • Thomas D. Colin, a retired Family Court judge, brings his years of experience on the bench to each mediation he engages in.
  • Dyan Kozaczka, an experienced family law attorney and litigator, completed divorce mediation training at The Center for Mediation and Training.
  • Jaime S. Dursht, is a trained Collaborative Divorce attorney and has completed the divorce mediation training at Quinnipiac Law School Center for Mediation.

Divorce Arbitration
Divorce arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) available to couples divorcing in Connecticut. Arbitration is when you and your spouse agree to have a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, decide your case.

This alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method allows families to settle disagreements without the stress of a court trial. Instead, a trained, impartial third-party arbitrator makes the decisions, providing a more controlled, efficient, and private resolution process.

Our partner, Thomas D. Colin, is a retired Family Court judge who often acts as an arbitrator for spouses or parents with family law disputes. He works with you to understand your needs and goals to help you reach a fair and equitable settlement. Frederic J. Siegel is also an experienced arbitrator. 

Why Choose Divorce Arbitration?
One of the key benefits of arbitration is its speed. The arbitrator is required to issue a decision within 30 days of the final hearing, providing a swift resolution compared to a maximum of 120 days judges have to issue a decision after hearings. The benefits of divorce arbitration versus going to court include:

  • It is faster
  • It is more private
  • The arbitrator’s decision is final, which means you do not have to be concerned with a possible lengthy appeals process

Divorce Arbitration is a voluntary process that puts you in control. You and your spouse decide what matters will be arbitrated, when, who the arbitrator will be, and what rules will apply. This method is available for all family law disputes, including divorce, custody, alimony, child support, and post-judgment disputes.

Privacy and Finality– Hallmarks of Divorce Arbitration
Arbitration offers a private setting for dispute resolution. Unlike court trials, which are public proceedings, arbitrations are conducted in private, and confidentiality agreements often protect disclosure of facts you don’t want to be disclosed. This ensures that your family matters remain confidential.

Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce is another effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) type. Both spouses and their attorneys work together with a neutral financial expert and divorce coach to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Some of the benefits of collaborative divorce are:

  • It can be more peaceful than traditional litigation
  • It can be more productive, as you can reach a resolution more quickly and efficiently
  • It can be more flexible as you develop options without limitations
  • It can be more affordable, as you can save on legal fees
  • It is more confidential, as the proceedings are not public
  • It can allow you to maintain a positive relationship with your spouse for the sake of your children.

More Peaceful and Productive Way to End Your Marriage
Collaborative divorce is a unique approach. Each spouse retains their own counsel, specially trained in collaborative law. All parties sign a participation agreement, committing to resolve the issues without the stress and uncertainty of going to court.

Collaborative divorce encourages open communication and cooperation between spouses. It fosters a cooperative atmosphere where both parties openly discuss their concerns with a neutral financial expert and work together with a divorce coach to find solutions that meet their needs.

This approach provides a creative space to tailor flexible solutions unique to your circumstances and your family’s needs and priorities. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach but a personalized journey to a new chapter in your life.

Collaborative divorce is often more cost-effective and less time-consuming than traditional litigation. The family is considered to be the client and by working together with a trained divorce coach, you can save on legal fees and resolve more efficiently.

One of the key benefits of collaborative divorce is its confidentiality and flexibility. It protects the privacy and dignity of both spouses during the process, ensuring your family matters remain private.

As an alternative to traditional litigation, collaborative divorce allows you to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions, minimizing the adversarial nature of divorce.

Are you unhappy with a decision made in your divorce case? If so, you might consider appealing the decision. An appeal is a process by which you can ask a higher court to review and change the lower court’s decision. The attorneys at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman can help you with an appeal.

Here are some of the reasons you might want to appeal a divorce decision:

  • The lower court made a mistake of law
  • The lower court did not consider all the relevant evidence
  • The lower court’s decision was unfair or unjust

A divorce appeal allows you to challenge a final order from the trial court. You must initiate it within 20 days of the trial court’s decision, making it crucial to act swiftly and use an experienced appellate attorney to preserve your rights. Your attorney will file an appellate brief that explains why you believe the trial court misinterpreted or misapplied the law.

Purpose and Process of Divorce Appeals
Divorce appeals are not a second chance to present your case or introduce new evidence. Instead, they are used to challenge the trial court ruling.

The rules for appellate practice are separate and distinct from those in the trial court. In general, appeals are a two-step process consisting of written briefs and oral arguments.

All aspects of the presentation before the Appellate or Supreme Court focus on what happened at the trial court, including testimony, exhibits, evidentiary rulings, and the court’s decision.

Witnesses do not testify in appellate proceedings. Instead, the Appellate and Supreme Courts review the case history to determine if the trial court made an error. In general, the appellate process can take several years for resolution.

The appellate process is complex and can be time-consuming. It is essential to have an experienced appellate attorney like those at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman to help you navigate the process and get the best possible results.

Post-Judgement Disputes 
On occasion, one or both parties do not perform what is required of them post-divorce. It might be that a transfer of property is not made, support is not paid, or some other obligation is not met.  This may require filing of a post-judgment motion with the Court to get relief.

Divorce Modifications
Circumstances post-divorce may differ greatly from what they were at the time of divorce. Adjusting your original divorce order to accommodate your current situation may be necessary when permissible.

Under certain circumstances, you can possibly modify parts of your divorce judgment, mostly as it pertains to custody, child support and alimony. At Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, we have successfully modified many divorce orders and will work with you to file the appropriate motions to change court orders.

Our team of experienced attorneys concentrates on high-asset divorce and family law cases, so you can be assured you are receiving targeted and qualified representation. We understand the intricacies of modifying divorce orders and will work with you to get your desired result. Some of the reasons you might need to modify your divorce order include:

  • A change in income
  • A change in schedules, which may affect the parenting schedule
  • A change in employment
  • Extraordinary expenses
  • Remarriage
  • Cohabitation
  • Desire for relocation

Understanding Motions to Modify Court Orders
No matter the reason for your desire to modify a court order, our attorneys can help you start the process. Child custody, child support, and alimony can be modified through a settlement. We will file the necessary paperwork, represent you in court, and negotiate with the other party to reach a fair agreement.

How Long Do You Have to Modify Your Divorce Order in Connecticut?
There is no statute of limitations on modifying divorce orders if the provision you seek to modify is still in force. If your children are still minors, you can modify parenting. If you are still receiving alimony or child support, you can seek to alter that portion of the order. Our attorneys help you consider the options for modification and lead you through the settlement and court process quickly and smoothly.

What Happens If You Remarry or One Spouse Relocates?
Child custody and parenting schedules remain in effect unless and until the parties agree to modify it or a Court does so.

Family Law

The reasons couples might choose to enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement include:

  • To protect assets that were acquired before the marriage
  • To protect assets that were acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance
  • To ensure that each spouse is responsible for their own debts
  • To agree on how alimony will be handled in the event of a divorce
  • To avoid a lengthy and expensive divorce

Navigating the complexities of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be challenging. The attorneys at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman are very experienced in drafting, analyzing, interpreting, and litigating these agreements, providing you with the guidance and support you need.

Prenuptial Agreements in Connecticut
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract entered into by a couple before they get married. In Connecticut, prenuptial agreements are enforceable if they meet certain requirements that include:

  • The agreement must be in writing
  • Both parties must have the opportunity to have independent legal counsel
  • Both parties must be fully informed of the financial circumstances of the other party
  • The agreement must be fair and equitable and not unconscionable

The intent of a prenuptial agreement is to significantly reduce issues in the event of a divorce, saving time and legal fees. Most prenuptial agreements address assets owned prior to the marriage and sometimes assets acquired during the marriage through gifts and inheritance.  They also may deal with estate rights.

Prenuptial agreements generally do not address issues such as custody and child support. The trend in Connecticut and other states is to enforce prenuptial agreements as written contracts.

Postnuptial Agreements in Connecticut
A postnuptial agreement is like a prenuptial agreement, except that it is entered after marriage. While Connecticut has statutory authority for prenuptial agreements, there is no such authority for postnuptial agreements. However, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held that postnuptial agreements are enforceable contracts, provided that they are made in a fashion similar to that of a prenuptial agreement.  

Enforcing or challenging the validity of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement takes place at the time of divorce or legal separation. In Connecticut, there are four specific grounds on which a party can challenge the enforceability of an agreement. It shall not be enforceable if a party can prove:

  • The agreement was not signed voluntarily
  • The agreement was unconscionable at the time it was signed or at the time enforcement was sought
  • The party seeking enforcement did not provide a fair and reasonable financial disclosure before the agreement was signed
  • The challenging party was not allowed to consult with independent counsel

Connecticut has the following two ways to establish paternity:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity If both parents agree on the child’s father, they complete the “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form. This can be done at the hospital after birth or at a later date. Once processed, the father’s name is added to the birth certificate.
  2. Court-Ordered Paternity If the parents disagree on who the father is, a court can make a legal determination as to paternity. In these cases, the court uses genetic paternity testing, which can take several months to resolve.

If the parents are married when the child is born, they are presumed to be the child’s legal parents. A divorce does not alter a determination of paternity.

The Importance of Determining Paternity
Determining paternity is crucial for several reasons:

  • Peace of Mind Paternity answers questions for everyone involved, whether you are wondering if you are the father or the mother, hoping to confirm who the father is.
  • Child’s Right to Know The child may someday want to know who their father is and have a relationship with him and his family.
  • Health Reasons Knowing who the father is means the child has a complete family medical history.
  • Benefits Establishing paternity may give the child the right to inheritance and benefits from the father’s Social Security, pension, veteran’s benefits, and medical insurance.
  • Child Support Establishing paternity can be key to resolving difficult child support cases.

Father’s Rights in Connecticut
If the mother does not agree to sign an acknowledgment of paternity form, you can begin a case in Connecticut courts to have paternity determined by a paternity test. Our family law firm, Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, is experienced in representing fathers’ rights and is ready to help you connect with your child.

Once paternity is established, the parents can agree on a parenting plan through negotiation, collaborative law, or mediation. If they cannot agree, an action for parenting time can be brought in court. The judge determines if parenting time is in the child’s best interests and sets a schedule for the parties to follow. The same guidelines that are used in custody cases are often applied after paternity has been established.

Our staff of family lawyers handles your case from paternity testing through custody, visitation, and child support, always staying focused on your needs and situation.

A Negative Paternity Test in Connecticut– What Does It Mean?
A negative paternity test in Connecticut means that the man in question is not biologically related to the child. As a result, he has no parental rights or responsibilities such as custody, visitation, and child support. Additionally, his name will not be added to the child’s birth certificate, and the child will not be eligible for any government benefits that are available to a legal father, such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

Get the Legal Help You Deserve
With offices in Stamford and Westport, our attorneys at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman understand the intricacies of paternity actions in Connecticut.

Take Your Next Step Today

The attorneys at Siegel, Colin & Kaufman are committed to helping you through the complexities of divorce and family law problems. We’re here to help you take the first steps towards a new chapter in your life, offering the guidance and support you need during these challenging times. 

With offices in Stamford and Westport, we serve clients from Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Ridgefield, and throughout the Northeast.

Let us be your trusted partner as you embark on this new chapter in your life. Remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation