MY GOAL is to provide experienced legal counsel to those who choose collaborative law. I was admitted to practice law in the State of New York in 1978, after graduating from Cornell Law School in 1977. I spent many years thereafter as a court assistant helping adjudicate family law matters at both the trial and appellate levels. For years thereafter I represented clients in traditional litigation involving custody, child support, maintenance, and property division issues. While in private practice I also served as court-appointed law guardian representing children in contested custody matters.
SINCE 2004, my practice has been limited to collaborative law because I believe it is a better way to resolve family issues.
COMMITMENT to peaceful processes is the defining characteristic of my life and work. I recently returned from a sabbatical during which I served overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am looking forward to meeting you, hearing about your life experiences, and working with you to amicably resolve your family dispute.
I believe that Collaborative Law provides divorcing couples with a far superior method of reaching resolution than traditional litigation. By encouraging couples to maintain a civil and respectful relationship through the divorce process, Collaborative Law allows divorcing couples to come up with creative resolutions which meet the unique needs of their individual family. Prior to attending law school I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology which I believe fundamentally assists me in my practice of matrimonial and family law and specifically in my practice of Collaborative Law.
Leah takes pride in assisting clients with care and respect during arguably one of the most stressful times in their lives- going through a divorce. By taking a collaborative approach to divorce, the parties can manage the divorce in a mindful and respectful way to minimize the damage to their family. Leah focuses her practice on divorce and family law exclusively. Over the years, she has found that when both parties commit to put aside negative emotions, they can focus on settling issues of child custody, child support, and equitable distribution of their assets and debts in a way that benefits each party and their family overall. Collaborative law allows families to come up with carefully tailored plans that are not “one size fits all” and allows the parties to feel in control of the process with a voice at the table.
Leah regularly represents parents and children in divorce and family law matters in multiple local counties. She is honored to participate in collaborative law as a part of her practice. Leah graduated from S.U.N.Y. Geneseo with a B.A. in psychology and minor in sociology. She graduated from Albany Law School with her J.D. and is licensed to practice law in New York, Connecticut, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Leah has received numerous honors, including the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, the Honorable Michael F. Dillon Attorneys for Children Award for zealous advocacy of child clients in court proceedings, and being named to Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” category for Western New York. She is on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Protection and Care of Children (SPCC). While her main office is located in Rochester, Leah also has a satellite office in Canandaigua, New York and is Vice President of the Ontario County Bar Association. Prior to practicing family law, Leah was a criminal prosecutor in Virginia.
Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, I have developed a unique understanding of people and their problems. In collaborative law, I have discovered an approach that naturally fits with my strengths and experience as an advocate. I was a member of the first class of local attorneys trained in collaborative law in 2001 and worked in litigation prior to that time and continue to do so. I also negotiate settlement agreements between divorcing couples, as well as pre-marital and post-divorce matters. The benefits to collaborative law in my view, are to, first and foremost, protect the children from the fall-out of a parent?s divorce and to provide them with a highly functioning family, albeit with two parents living apart. In addition, collaborative law enables both parties to maintain their privacy, dignity and self-respect in a process that can be daunting and devastating.
At Forst Law Firm, we are committed to helping you find the information you need to make the decisions that will bring you to a life you choose. After nearly twenty years as a family lawyer, Kelly Forst has committed her family law practice to Collaborative and mediated matters. These processes foster respect, fair and honest communication, trust, and a holistic approach in moving from married to single life.
I have been a practicing attorney for over 30 years. A significant portion of my practice concerns family law, including matrimonial matters involving issues related to finances and parenting. My involvement in these matters has been as advocate, advisor, mediator and law guardian. The process of Collaborative Law offers an opportunity for separating and divorcing couples to choose a process which is transparent, flexible and respectful. Beyond avoiding some of the worst polarizing aspects of litigation, the Collaborative Law Process has the potential to enhance a family?s ability to make a mutually acceptable transition plan. I believe that the agreements reached are more likely to be honored and the participants are frequently able to react more constructively to future needs due to changing circumstances.
I have been practicing law for over 30 years and have extensive experience in family and matrimonial law. I became involved in collaborative law as an alternative to traditional divorce litigation which I often felt did not meet my client’s needs and resulted in the further erosion of the relationship between divorcing parties. This can be especially destructive when children are involved. Collaborative Law affords me the opportunity to work with people to craft their own resolution of marital issues in a constructive and respectful manner which I find to be extremely rewarding.
Mr. Bezinque assists his clients in their transition from their current relationship — marriage, domestic partnership — and into their new lives, helping them achieve a lasting resolution that meets their core needs related to their family, financial security, individual privacy and personal dignity. As a Collaborative Law attorney, Mr. Bezinque helps people simplify the confusion of the divorce process and enables them to prioritize their needs. Working together with his clients, he explores and pursues their concerns about parenting plans and residency schedules, spousal and child support, location and valuation of assets and valuation of businesses and real estate. By empowering his clients to make sound legal decisions, they are better prepared to achieve a result they can be proud of and that will last into the future. Mr. Bezinque has a close working relationships with professionals in financial management, mental health and valuation that support the effective implementation of the Collaborative Law process. Mr. Bezinque was the first to introduce Collaborative Law to the Rochester community and has since facilitated conferences and workshops on the topic. He is a frequent speaker on Collaborative Law to professionals and the public and is a founding member and Vice President of the Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area, Inc.
Ms. Fazio’s approach is to advise clients on both practical and legal aspects of their issues in a cost-effective manner so as to empower clients in making the best decisions. To this end, Ms. Fazio is trained as a Collaborative Attorney and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area, Inc., supporting alternative means to resolving family law matters.
As a trained collaborative attorney and mediator, I am committed to helping my clients work through the transition of their marriage or partnership with dignity and integrity, while minimizing the emotional toll on themselves and their family. In the collaborative process, each party is represented by an attorney and all parties have a common goal of reaching an agreement out-of-court. As a collaborative attorney, I can advise and guide you through the various issues of divorce: separation, parenting plans, support and asset-liability division. My goal is to provide each of my clients with a flexible process that best meets their individual needs during one of the most difficult periods in their lives.
Work and family. Two of the most important areas of life come under Jennifer Shoemaker’s purview as an attorney practicing Family Law and Labor & Employment Law. Jennifer represents clients in the full spectrum of family law issues, including divorce, custody, support actions, the negotiation of separation agreements, adoptions and prenuptial agreements. Her diplomacy, compassion and people skills are an asset to her clients, as is her extensive background in general litigation, dispute settlement and arbitration.
Matrimonial matters (such as divorce, custody) should lead to a positive restructuring of relationships. As an attorney with over 40 years of practice in this area, I have come to believe that the Collaborative process, where four people (two clients and two attorneys) use their combined skills, knowledge and expertise to forge solutions that facilitate positive adjustments in financial and living situations, is one of the best ways to resolve a dissolution of a marriage or union. Each family, each partner, is unique as a fingerprint and deserves and requires thoughtfulness and creativity in reaching common ground and dignified solutions so that each person can find comfort and peace of mind. Trust can be re-established in the collaborative setting so that all members of a family can interact in the future in the best manner possible. My thoughts are that as an advocate in this process, my clients will be well served, economically, financially and emotionally. Everyone’s family structure deserves issues to be resolved privately, with professional support and guidance. The Collaborative process allows the professional lawyer to be a legal facilitator to reach the personal goals of the client in this situation. Please come join in the collaborative process which is on the cutting edge of matrimonial and family law resolution in the State of New York. Member of: Association of Collaborative Family Law Attorneys, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), Monroe County Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys, Admitted to the New York State Bar February 12, 1980 (Syracuse Law School)
My suburban practice emphasizes divorce and family law. I recognize that legal disputes and family dissolution are traumatic events.
Every client presents with a unique situation. My goal is to help each client transition through the difficult and emotional process in a caring and professional manner.
I personalize my services to provide the legal counseling necessary to respond to the conflicts that accompany family dissolution.
I have over 35 years of experience as an attorney, and more than 10 years of experience in collaborative law. I founded the “The Law Office of June Castellano” in 1999 and place a strong emphasis on educating clients about their rights and responsibilities under the law. As a philosophy, my law office seeks to empower clients so they are partners in making informed decisions in negotiations.
In addition to collaborative law, I am able to offer individuals attorney-based mediation and litigation services.
|Sharon Stiller is a partner at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP and runs the Rochester office.
Ms. Stiller graduated from SUNY Albany, magna cum laude, in three years, and graduated from Albany Law School where she was a notes editor. Ms. Stiller was admitted to practice law in the courts of the State of New York in 1976 and spent the first almost eight (8) years of practice as an Assistant and then Special Assistant District Attorney, in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, where she was one of the first two female full-time Assistant District Attorneys.
Ms. Stiller entered private practice, where she has worked with several law firms until joining Abrams Fensterman in 2010. She is one of a limited number of equity partners in the firm, which has offices in Rochester, Brooklyn, White Plains, and Long Island. She has engaged in litigation for her entire career, and matrimonial litigation since entering into private practice in 1983.
Ms. Stiller has handled more than one hundred matrimonial, child support or custody cases, and has had more than thirty matrimonial trials, motions and appeals, including, J.F. v. D.F., 61 Misc.3d 1226(A) (Sup. Ct., Monroe County, Dec. 6, 2018), and Mina v. Weber, 309 A.D.2d 1252 (4th Dept. 2003).
Ms. Stiller has been recognized for her legal work and community service, and received the Kate Stoneman award from Albany Law School, the Raymond J. Pauley Award, from the Monroe County Bar Association, and the Rochester Women’s Network’s “W” Award. She has been named one of the top 25 Women Lawyers in Western New York. Ms. Stiller has been designated a “Super Lawyer” from 2007-Present, a distinction earned by only five percent of the lawyers in the Upstate New York area. She was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013 through present.
Ms. Stiller received a J.D. from Albany Law School where she was Notes Editor, Albany Law Review and a B.A., magna cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany. Ms. Stiller is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia.
Honors and Awards
Professional Associations and Memberships
As a practitioner for more than 38 years concentrating my practice in the area of family law, I realize that divorce is a very difficult experience for everyone involved, especially the children. Collaborative Law offers an alternative, non-adversarial way for each spouse to help create solutions together for themselves and their family. I am committed to this process as it offers the entire family the best opportunity for resolving their differences in a healthy and productive fashion.
Dan Cantone is a family law conflict resolution advocate specializing in out-of-court Collaborative Practice and divorce Mediation. He emphasizes the client-centered nature of Collaborative Law and welcomes the team approach of working with fellow Collaborative Attorneys and allied professionals to assist clients in transitioning to living apart. With his office in the western region of Onondaga County, Dan represents clients in Collaborative cases in Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, Wayne, Yates, Livingston, and Monroe counties, too. His long tenure as an Adjunct Professor of Family Law and Collaborative Practice at the Syracuse University College of Law and undergraduate civil law courses at SUNY Oswego also keeps him abreast of changes in legislation and case law that impact domestic relations settlement cases. The suburban Camillus office also hosts Dan’s facilitative mediation practice for divorcing couples known as Mediate West. He is a popular speaker and trainer in the areas of Collaborative Practice, New York divorce law, and legal education.
As an attorney in practice for over 30 years, I am committed to using my legal and mediation skills to develop solutions for matrimonial and family law conflict that are constructive not destructive for those involved. The Collaborative Law process allows parties to develop a lasting agreement that provides for their needs and the needs of their children as they move into the future. Collaborative Family Law empowers those who are separating or divorcing to control the outcome of their conflict and challenges them to focus on the future. The Collaborative process helps harness the fear and uncertainty of separation or divorce by establishing a process for managing the conflict that is based on knowledge, honesty, commitment and respect.
I believe Collaborative Law is the best way for most couples to resolve the issues they will encounter during a divorce. Unlike traditional divorce litigation, which is often typified by numerous court appearances, high costs, delays, and hurtful accusations, ultimately resulting in life-altering decisions being made for you and your children by a judge; Collaborative Law allows divorcing couples to maintain control over their lives during a time of great uncertainty and emotional upheaval. By empowering you to reach a mutually acceptable, comprehensive agreement within a manageable timeframe, you can move confidently toward the next phase of your life, secure in the knowledge that you have reached a resolution which addresses the short and long term goals for you and your family.
Besides the issues of financial support, equitable distribution, and child custody/residency, divorce cases often involve other specialized areas of law such as estate planning, real estate, and corporate/business issues to name a few. As a partner with a firm whose family law department has over 100 years of collective experience as well as other locally and nationally recognized attorneys in their respective practice areas, I can utilize these invaluable resources to get the best results for you.
I have offices conveniently located in downtown Rochester as well as a suburban office in Pittsford.
Upon graduating with a B.A. in History from Binghamton University, I went on to earn my J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. I am a member of the Family Law Section of the New York, and Monroe County Bar Associations as well as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. I am admitted to practice in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia. Prior to practicing solely in the area of matrimonial and family law, I handled a variety of complex litigation matters in federal and state courts.
Diana is an experienced Collaborative Attorney and Family Mediator. Her work is client centered and she is committed to helping clients avoid a bad separation or divorce process and achieve the best possible result through constructive negotiation. Her priority is to help clients move forward with minimal disruption to their lives, and with the best possible outcome. Named in Best Lawyers In America since 2009, recognized by Top Lawyers in New York, Best Lawyers in Rochester and recipient of Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award. Published by Thomson-Reuters and frequent speaker at local, national and international conferences on Collaborative Law. Diana has been a member of the CLARA Board of directors for 15 years, and is the current President.
As a Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, I help divorcing clients reach good, long-lasting agreements without resorting to the courts. With guidance from caring and experienced professionals, couples can divorce intelligently and creatively, considerate of one another and of their children.
I am an experienced family law attorney having practiced in the court system for many years. Named in Best Lawyers in America from 1995 to the present, in Upstate New York SuperLawyers since 2008 and as Best Family Lawyer Mediator by the Rochester Business Journal, my current practice is limited to Collaborative Law and Mediation. I also provide consulting services for constructive conflict engagement for other professionals.
Our Rochester community has a dedicated group of family law attorneys, mental health professionals, mediators and financial specialists working together in whatever combination meets the clients’ needs. I was the first president of our Association and continue to be involved as an active member. I take part in teaching both beginning collaborative law and advanced skills, and, from 2001 to the present, have providing training across the United States and Canada.
I work in the Collaborative process because it is a process I believe in. While I am an expert in law, you are an expert in your family and this is something that the court system simply does not consider. The court system’s rigid and inflexible nature can exacerbate conflict and lead to poor results for you and your family. The Collaborative Process allows for creative and adaptive results in order to fit your unique family and situation. I believe one of the most important things in life are relationships and that is why it is my hope, that with guidance and understanding, the collaborative process will lead to the best result for you and your family.
The best outcomes are achieved by clients who retain control over their own decisions and find a professional that will listen to them. You are the expert about your family and what is most important to you. I provide legal advice and experience and negotiation skills to help you achieve a creative out of court settlement. As a founding member and past president of the Rochester Collaborative Association, I have developed successful working relationships with other collaborative professionals to support you and your family in achieving maximum results. I have completed the program on negotiation at Harvard Law School, lectured frequently on collaborative law nationally and internationally and I am honored to be named a Best Lawyer in America.
I work with separating and divorcing clients to help them achieve the best possible outcome without escalating conflict. With assistance from caring, knowledgeable collaborative professionals, divorcing and separating couples can craft settlements that work for them and their families. As an attorney who has been practicing in the family law area for more than thirty years, I have experience in complex financial matters and in high conflict parenting matters. I have well established working relationships with othoer collaborative attorneys, financial porfessionals, child specialists, and mental helath professionals who can help to achieve a successful outcome. I am a partner in the law firm of Olver Korts LLP. I am a frequent speaker on collaborative law and family law, both to professionals and to the public. I am th Vice President of the Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area, Inc. and serve on its Board of Directors and as the chairperson of the Protocols/Membership Committee.
Attorney Nicole A. Fitzgerald has been practicing matrimonial and family law since 2006 and has successfully negotiated hundreds of matters. Nicole is a trained mediator and collaborative law attorney committed to helping clients settle their conflicts outside of court.
Nicole’s first-hand knowledge of the litigation of family disputes informs her belief that these issues are best resolved in a collaborative setting. Nicole’s knowledge of matrimonial and family law, gained from years of litigation and continuing legal education, allows for a balanced and realistic view of the situations facing her clients.
Nicole provides mediation and collaborative law services for divorce, separation, custody, post-divorce, and prenuptial agreements.
Nicole offers weekday, evening, and weekend availability to better accommodate your schedule.
I have practiced matrimonial and family law for over 30 years as a litigator, mediator and, since 2001, as a collaborative lawyer. I also teach Collaborative Law to other attorneys, judges, financial professionals and mental health professionals here and throughout the country. I help clients solve the potentially difficult problems of spousal maintenance, child support, custody, relocation and the division of assets (including real property, business interests, retirement assets, and professional degrees and licenses) at a most difficult time in their lives. In my experience, the collaborative process works for almost all divorcing couples, no matter how angry or hurt, no matter how complicated the issues, no matter how significant the amounts.
Meredith believes in family, community and volunteering, but also understands divorce, custody, and child support are sometimes a part of life in today’s society. For the last fifteen years, she has practiced law in the areas of family law and matrimonial law in New York and North Carolina. Collaborative Law is a rewarding way to guide clients through the process of divorce with less stress and more certainty on avoiding the traditional courtroom setting while receiving very specialized guidance specific to the client’s divorce.