Melissa Needle

Top rated Family Law attorney in Westport, Connecticut

Needle | Cuda
Melissa Needle
Needle | Cuda

Practice Areas: Family Law; view more

Licensed in Connecticut since: 1990

Education: Whittier Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2024
Virtual Appointments

Needle | Cuda

830 Post Road East
Suite 301
Westport, CT 06880 Visit website


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 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 to its clients 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. The holder of an "Excellent" peer review rating through Avvo, she has been named as one of the 10 Best Family Law Attorneys in Connecticut by the American Institute of Legal Counsel and a Top 10 Family Law Attorney in Connecticut by Family Law and Practice Magazine. Ms. Needle is a 1987 recipient of a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, and she obtained her Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in 1990. She is a member of the Fairfield County Bar Association and the Family Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.

Practice areas

Family Law

Focus areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Prenuptial Agreements, Same Sex Family Law

  • 100% Family Law

First Admitted: 1990, Connecticut

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background:
  • Whittier College School of Law, J.D., 1990
  • Tufts University, B.A., 1987
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Was a lecturer at the Connecticut Bar Association Family Section, Speaker, Connecticut Bar Association, 2010
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Special Master, Connecticut Superior Court, 2014
  • The Greater Bridgeport Bar Association, Family Law Section, Member, 2021
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2021
  • American Bar Association, 2021
  • Connecticut Bar Association/Family Law Section Fairfield County Bar Association Special Master, Family Law Matters, Connecticut Superior Court, 2021
  • Certified Mediation (Quinnipiac University School of Law), 2017
  • Speaker, Connecticut Bar Association 2010 Annual Meeting, 2010
  • Connecticut Family Lawyer, Editorial Board, 2006
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Special Master, Connecticut Superior Court, 2014
  • Certified Mediator, Quinnipiac University School of Law, 2017
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Ex-parte order of custody when there was an allegation of physical abuse toward children, 2020
  • Settled a case with 4 children with time limited alimony, 2020
  • Motion to set alimony and child support, 2019
  • Motion to Modify alimony and child support based on claims of reduced income and increased expenses, 2020
  • Settled a case with a long term marriage and adult children. Was able to negotiate spouse moving and the purchase of house in spouse's home state (not CT), 2019
  • Pendente Lite alimony hearing, 2019
  • Settled a case with 2 small children under the age of 5 with significant child support amounts, 2019
  • Pendente Lite hearing about attorney and professional fees when Husband placed all marital assets in a Trust, 2019
  • Extensive hearing about modification of alimony and child support when Husband lost job and ex-wife alleged job loss was intentional, 2019
  • Represented a mother in a parental alienation case wherein father made a claim that mother alienated the 2 minor children from him. Trial was over a 7 day period in Middletown, Ct in front of the Honorable Barbara Quinn. There were multiple witnesses, including an expert hired by the father who opined the mother was alienating the children. I successfully cross examined this professional witness so that Judge Quinn completely discounted her testimony. The finding was that mother was NOT alienating the children and that father had to pay for mother's legal fees., 2018
  • Hearing about post majority college support, 2019
  • Trial regarding a 15 year marriage and the issue was lifetime alimony and if the husband would receive a credit for his premarital assets. My client was successful on both issues, 2018
  • Litigated a divorce trial in Stamford Superior Court over a 3 day time period that included issues relating to earning capacity. Husband voluntarily quit his job 6 months prior to the commencement of the dissolution action. The Court (Judge Truglila) made a finding that the husband had an earning capacity of $500,000 per year and made a lifetime alimony award to my client. In addition, I disclosed an expert who testified about the value of non-qualified pension plan the Husband forfeited as a result of his voluntary separation. The Court (Truglila, J.) awarded the wife approximately 60% of the assets., 2018
  • Handled a case that was remanded from the Appellate court regarding complex financial issues including the valuation of a closely held business entity. Two forensic accountants testified regarding valuation issues and normalized compensation. My client's position was successful., 2017
  • Outstanding Client Satisfaction and Service, Top 10 Family Law Attorney, Family Law and Practice Magazine, 2021
  • 10 Best Family Law Attorneys, National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, 2021
  • 10 Best Family Law Attorneys, Family Law and Practice Magazine, 2021
  • Awarded for Outstanding Client satisfaction and service., 10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2021
  • Outstanding Client Satisfaction and Service, Top 10 Family Law Attorney, Family Law and Practice Magazine, 2020
  • Awarded for client satisfaction and service., 10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2020
  • Awarded for client satisfaction for outstanding Client Service, 10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, 2019
  • Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations, Super Lawyer, Super Lawyer, 2019
  • Awarded for client satisfaction for outstanding Client Service, 10 Best Attorneys, American Institute of Family Law, 2018
  • AVVO Top Attorney 2018
  • Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2018

Office location for Melissa Needle

830 Post Road East
Suite 301
Westport, CT 06880

Phone: 475-666-5547


6 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2024

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