Marilyn B. Chinitz

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in New York, NY

Blank Rome LLP
1271 6th Ave
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-885-5564
Fax: 212-885-5001
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1982
Practice Areas: Family Law
Attorney Profile

Marilyn B. Chinitz is a partner at Blank Rome LLP in New York, New York. Ms. Chinitz focuses her practice on family law and has been involved in many cases involving celebrities and high net worth divorces throughout her career.

Ms. Chinitz has been licensed to practice law in New York since 1982 and is also admitted before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the Supreme Court of the United States. She earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University and attained her law degree from the Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Active in numerous community activities, Ms. Chinitz donates her time to various nonprofit groups and children’s programs throughout the New York area. She has been involved with organizations, including the Food Allergy Resource Initiative, the Little Orchestra Society and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and sits on the board of the Foundation for Gender Equality.

Ms. Chinitz has received numerous accolades, including the Geraldine Ferraro award, a “woman of distinction in law” award by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and has been featured in the publication “The Best Lawyers in America” several years in a row. She is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the National Association of Professional Women.

Ms. Chinitz has appeared on various local and national media programs, including Inside Edition, Hollywood Heat and Today and has been quoted in numerous articles on family law and matrimonial topics.

Practice Areas
  • 100%Family Law
Focus Areas

Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Law, Paternity, Prenuptial Agreements, Marital Property, Same Sex Family Law, Father's Rights

Selections

10 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2012 - 2021

About Marilyn B. Chinitz

Admitted: 1982, New York

Professional Webpage: http://www.blankrome.com/index.cfm

Educational Background

  • New York University, BA, with honors  

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Member
  • New York State Bar Association, Member
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of New York
  • National Association of Professional Women, Member
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of New York
  • New York
  • Bar Association of Nassau County, Member

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Avenue Excerpt: The Women of Distinction Luncheon recognizes distinguished New York City women who are dedicated to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s mission and have made a difference in the lives of the 1.6 million Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these inflammatory bowel diseases. Marilyn was introduced by friend and former client Michael Douglas, who said, “she is one of those rare individuals you can depend upon to deliver, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is fierce, she is well-prepared, she is uncommonly loyal, and she leaves no stone unturned in law and in life. [Marilyn] is a truly exceptional mother, attorney, warrior and friend.” “I am incredibly honored,” she said, accepting the award. “As a lawyer, I believe that you have to be a strong advocate for your clients, and I apply that mentality full-force to be a strong advocate for my children and others who suffer from these debilitating diseases,” said Ms. Chinitz. "Woman of Distinction Delivers for Crohn’s and Colitis Sufferers," was published in Avenue Magazine on May 7, 2017. To read the full article, please click here, 2017
  • BLANK ROME ATTORNEYS SECURE JUSTICE IN THE MURDER OF SHELE DANISHEFSKY COVLINA Blank Rome team led by Marilyn B. Chinitz and Jerry D. Bernstein, along with the involvement of Hirsh Cogan, Stephen McSweeney, Inbal Paz Garrity, and Ryan J. Casson, played a key role in securing justice on behalf of Shele Danishefsky Covlin, who was found dead in the bathtub of her apartment on December 31, 2009, in what first appeared to be an accidental drowning. Ms. Covlin’s estranged husband, Roderick Covlin, lived across the hall and was called by his daughter when she found her mother’s body. The authorities accepted his story that his wife had fallen in the bathtub and drowned, thereby leading to her burial without an autopsy in accordance with her Orthodox Jewish faith. Over the next few weeks, Ms. Covlin’s family became increasingly concerned that foul play was involved and hired Blank Rome to assist them in handling not only the criminal investigation, but also the custody issues involving Ms. Covlin’s two children. Our attorneys were instrumental in obtaining an ex parte order to have Ms. Covlin’s body exhumed and sent to the medical examiner’s office, on the mounting evidence compiled by private investigators that she was in fact murdered by her husband in order to inherit her substantial fortune. The couple were in the midst of a contentious divorce, which included Ms. Covlin obtaining an order of protection against her husband that resulted in him being excluded from their marital home. On the same day that she was found dead, Ms. Covlin had planned to cut him out of her will. When the autopsy revealed that she had indeed been murdered by strangulation, our attorneys collaborated with the District Attorney’s office to painstakingly build a circumstantial case against Mr. Covlin. During this time, they also fought for custody of the two children and prevented Mr. Covlin from collecting on his murdered wife’s life insurance policy and inheritance. Mr. Covlin was finally indicted in November 2015, and his trial began in December 2018. Following a nine-week trial in Manhattan Supreme Court, the jury convicted Mr. Covlin of murder.To learn more about this case, please read He Wanted His Wife’s Fortune. So He Killed Her, Then Tried Framing His Daughter (The New York Times, March 13, 2019).Share This, 2019
  • Marilyn Chinitz hosts the Blank Rome LLP original podcast, Seriously Driven.  Candid conversations, unfiltered insights, and a dose of hard-earned wisdom from influential women, committed to helping other women succeed and lead. Past guests include: Emmy Award winner Deborah Norville, Blank Rome Partner Shawn Wright, PR Maven Alison Brod, Broadway Impressario Wendy Federman, leading physician Dr. Erika Schwartzhttps://www.blankrome.com/podcasts/seriously-driven-podcast-introducing-seriously-drivenblankrome.com/podcasts  , 2019

Verdicts/Settlements

  • BLANK ROME ATTORNEYS SECURE JUSTICE IN THE MURDER OF SHELE DANISHEFSKY COVLINA Blank Rome team led by Marilyn B. Chinitz and Jerry D. Bernstein, along with the involvement of Hirsh Cogan, Stephen McSweeney, Inbal Paz Garrity, and Ryan J. Casson, played a key role in securing justice on behalf of Shele Danishefsky Covlin, who was found dead in the bathtub of her apartment on December 31, 2009, in what first appeared to be an accidental drowning. Ms. Covlin’s estranged husband, Roderick Covlin, lived across the hall and was called by his daughter when she found her mother’s body. The authorities accepted his story that his wife had fallen in the bathtub and drowned, thereby leading to her burial without an autopsy in accordance with her Orthodox Jewish faith. Over the next few weeks, Ms. Covlin’s family became increasingly concerned that foul play was involved and hired Blank Rome to assist them in handling not only the criminal investigation, but also the custody issues involving Ms. Covlin’s two children. Our attorneys were instrumental in obtaining an ex parte order to have Ms. Covlin’s body exhumed and sent to the medical examiner’s office, on the mounting evidence compiled by private investigators that she was in fact murdered by her husband in order to inherit her substantial fortune. The couple were in the midst of a contentious divorce, which included Ms. Covlin obtaining an order of protection against her husband that resulted in him being excluded from their marital home. On the same day that she was found dead, Ms. Covlin had planned to cut him out of her will. When the autopsy revealed that she had indeed been murdered by strangulation, our attorneys collaborated with the District Attorney’s office to painstakingly build a circumstantial case against Mr. Covlin. During this time, they also fought for custody of the two children and prevented Mr. Covlin from collecting on his murdered wife’s life insurance policy and inheritance. Mr. Covlin was finally indicted in November 2015, and his trial began in December 2018. Following a nine-week trial in Manhattan Supreme Court, the jury convicted Mr. Covlin of murder.To learn more about this case, please read He Wanted His Wife’s Fortune. So He Killed Her, Then Tried Framing His Daughter (The New York Times, March 13, 2019).Share This, 2019

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Crohns & Colitis Foundation, Board of Directors, Member, 2019
  • Board Member, Women's Health Access Matters (WHAM), an initiative of Access Circles. "We are passionate about women’s health and the impact that we know can be made if research reflects how men and women are different down to the cellular level. WHAM! has been created as an initiative of AccessCircles to focus on increasing awareness of women’s health issues and implementing strategies that will improve the inequities and bias in research and accelerate scientific discovery in women’s health. WHAM! will fund investigators through private donations, providing the much-needed resources for the success of new research that leads to obtaining larger federal grants. An annual convening will bring together AccessCircles members, leaders and stakeholders from academia, foundations, government and technology to share ideas and successes, and they’ll continue to strive for patient-centered, precision medicine. LEARN MORE , 2020
  • Foundation for Gender Equality, Board Member, 2018
  • Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  • Little Orchestra Society
  • Food Allergy Initiative

Honors/Awards

  • , 2021 Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in America, 2020
  • , Top 500 Leading Family Lawyers, Lawdragon, 2020
  • Ms. Chinitz was named to the prestigious Chambers High Net Worth in Tier 2. Chambers USA 2020 ranks more than 6,000 law firms and 18,000 lawyers across more than 50 practice areas/sectors on a state and national level., New York/Family Law -- Chambers High Net Worth, Chambers High Net Worth 2020, 2020
  • Geraldine Ferraro Award, 2011
  • Woman of Distinction in Law Award, Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America, January 31, 2017

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Portland Press Herald April 4, 2020No one has a bigger challenge than doctors and nurses who risk infecting their kids. The mother keeps throwing New York City dinner parties, and the father worries their kids might contract COVID-19. What’s a divorced couple to do in the age of social distancing? This one chose the time-honored route and went to court – by phone, of course. In the emergency conference, the judge rebuked the mother but left the custody arrangement intact. This clash, recounted by New York family lawyer Marilyn Chinitz, illustrates the treacherous terrain facing the 8.3 million American children whose divorced or separated parents share responsibility for raising them in the pandemic. [...]Chinitz, a partner at Blank Rome LLP who represented the husband in the dinner-party case, said judges are delivering a clear message to couples: “Don’t forget I’m going to be deciding this custody case when it’s all over, and the first thing I’ll look at is which parent is providing access to the other parent and who isn’t.”“Pandemic Complicates Custody for 8 Million Children of Divorce,” by Shelly Banjo, was published in the Portland Press Herald on April 4, 2020., quoted Matrimonial Law expert, Pandemic Complicates Custody for 8 Million Children of Divorce, Portland Press Herald, Parents And Families Across The United States, 2020
  • U.S. News & World Report October 15, 2018 When people over the age of 50 get divorced, retirement accounts become a key asset, even more so sometimes than the house or alimony. Lawyers and feuding couples are bracing for big changes at the end of 2018 for how these assets get split up. [...] While there is always a sentimental attachment to the family home, you have to do the math. "If the house is saddled with debt, you have to ask, can the spouse fund the expenses?" said Marilyn Chinitz, a divorce attorney at Blank Rome based in New York.What Chinitz often advises is that the spouse who gets the house turn around and sell it, putting the proceeds into an investment account for retirement.CONSIDER THE TAXESChinitz also makes sure that if there is a split of the sort where one side gets the house and the other side gets what seems like an equivalent amount in an investment or retirement account, that the taxes be figured into the equation. "If I ask if you would rather have $1 million in cash or $1.5 in a brokerage account. You'd say, I’d rather have $1.5 million. But if there are embedded capital gains, the real value could be $800,000," said Chinitz. Another one to look out for: IRA or 401(k) assets versus Roth assets. If you have $20,000 in each account, they are not equal because of the tax treatment of distributions - the Roth is worth more because the taxes have already been paid. Key after this tax year will be the valuation of private businesses, because the tax changes gave out corporate breaks. But higher cash flow might not be known until the following year. Even if you are not selling a business, you still need to assess its value in a divorce. Especially in the case of pensions, Chinitz cautioned to have a proper legal order for any asset distributions, because the tax penalties could be enormous (see https://reut.rs/2AoJJMB). "High-net worth clients are going to have attorneys and forensic accountants. That’s not the case for the rest of America," Chinitz said."Gray Divorces and Tax Changes Complicate Retirement," by Beth Pinsker was published in U.S. News & World Report on October 15, 2018. , quoted Matrimonial Law expert, Gray Divorces and Tax Changes Complicate Retirement , U.S. News & World Report, International Readership Of US News & World Report Magazine, 2018
  • People January 11, 2019 Because of the enormous amount of money involved, Jeff Bezos‘ divorce from wife MacKenzie is not only complicated and expensive — it could even have an impact on the U.S. economy. [...] “It’s a question of how they will distribute the assets without altering or affecting adversely the value of Amazon,” says Marilyn Chinitz, a New York-based divorce attorney who is not associated with the case. The couple, she says, “will not want to do anything — not only for themselves, but also for the public — that will tank a major company in the U.S. economy.” [...] Chinitz agrees. “They are smart enough to know they want to continue to grow Amazon and not dilute the interest and not dilute his control in the company,” she says. “I suspect they will work out an intellectually honest and fair agreement that will allow the company to continue to flourish. And I would suspect that she will not be inclined to push for a settlement that would make him sell his shares. I think they will do it in a careful way that will maximize value and that does not put a diminished valuation on the stock.”"What’s Next in Jeff Bezos’ $137 Billion Divorce—and Why It Could Even Affect the U.S. Economy," by Kara Warner was published in People on January 11, 2019. , quoted Matrimonial Law expert, What’s Next in Jeff Bezos’ $137 Billion Divorce—and Why It Could Even Affect the U.S. Economy , People magazine, International Readership Of People Magazine, 2019
  • As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children from pain, unhappiness, bad experiences, and from rejection, hurt feelings, and disappointments. Now there is something new that we must protect them from: The risk of getting sick or infecting others with the coronavirus while their parents are in divorce litigation, fighting over their custody, visitation, and access rights. Seven million residents of the Bay Area in California have been ordered to “shelter in place.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning New Yorkers to prepare for such an order as well. News reports advise to stay at home if possible, but many parents are facing an added complication. During a divorce and certainly afterwards, children commonly shuttle back and forth between each parent’s household based on court-ordered visitation or parenting schedule. What happens if one or more parent or their household becomes infected with the coronavirus? What happens when a parent or a household member lives in a community with an outbreak or has been exposed to an infected person but shows no signs of being infected?, author, The Real-Life Effects the Coronavirus Is Having on Children in Custody Battles and How Their Parents Should Respond, According to a Family Lawyer , Business Insider, Parents And Families In The United States And Global Audience, 2020
  • The New York Times May 8, 2020 When state and local governments announced shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, predictions that the lockdowns would force a reckoning in bad marriages and lead to a rise in the divorce rate abounded. The forecast has not come to pass, but lawyers are seeing plenty of obstacles for couples who no longer want to be married. […] Another part of the negotiations can center on life insurance to guarantee that support payments continue if the paying spouse dies. But the coronavirus outbreak could make getting that insurance more difficult for older people, said Marilyn B. Chinitz, partner at Blank Rome in New York.“Companies are going to take a second look at how they cover individuals,” she said. Premiums are much higher for people over 60, she added, and some insurance companies are not covering those 70 or older. The alternative is tying up assets, like a house or an investment portfolio, to secure support payments. But many people balk at that arrangement, so Ms. Chinitz tells clients to get insurance now.To read the full article, please click here., quoted Matrimonial Law expert, The Pandemic Has Slowed the Divorce Process. Here's What to Expect, New York Times, May 8, 2020, Consumers, 2020
  • Associated Press April 7, 2020 As the country hunkered down to fend off the coronavirus, Carolina McAuley expected her middle school-age kids would continue to shuffle between her house and her ex-husband’s — until she got sick. Suddenly, her long-standing custody arrangement unraveled as she came down with a fever and chills and lost her senses of taste and smell — all presumed symptoms of the coronavirus. [...] “It’s creating tremendous havoc on everybody,” said Marilyn Chinitz, a matrimonial lawyer at Blank Rome in New York. “These are times where parents have to be thoughtful, they have to think of the best interest of the children and not their own selfishness.” [...] Many split families are working things out. Chinitz said one former couple decided to rent a home outside of virus-ravaged New York City for their child and they each take turns staying there and in a smaller home nearby.“Split Families Make Pacts, Duel over Custody Amid Virus,” by Amy Taxin, was published in the Associated Press on April 7, 2020. “Split Families Make Pacts, Duel over Custody Amid Virus,” by Amy Taxin, was reprinted in The New York Times on April 7, 2020.A quote from this article was included in “Divorced during COVID: How Islanders shift custody agreements to comply with social distancing,” by Kristin F. Dalton, at SILive.com on April 9, 2020., quoted Matrimonial Law expert, Split Families Make Pacts, Duel over Custody and Virus, Associated Press, reprinted in New York Times, Families and Individuals, 2020
  • Blank Rome Trusts & Estates Partner Sean R. Weissbart and Matrimonial & Family Law Partner Marilyn B. Chinitz will present the 45-minute webinar Optimizing Tax-Free Gifts During the Coronavirus Pandemic and Potential Risks in the Event of Dissolution of Marriage on Monday, May 11, 2020, from 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. EDT / 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. PDT. Sean and Marilyn will discuss the benefits of using record-high exemption amounts to make gifts to your loved ones, including: Why it may be critical to do so in 2020 Additional tax savings for using depreciated assets that are likely to rebound Strategies to make these gifts without eliminating the possibility of getting your assets back in the future based on changing liquidity needs Mitigating potential risks of making these gifts in the event of a divorce.  Topics will include: The IRS Estate and Gift Tax system and speculation on its significant reduction in 2021 Tax strategies to use for depreciating assets Strategically navigating the uncertainty of the economic future as a result of COVID-19 The financial consequences of such gifts if divorce arises in the future, Co-Host with Blank Rome Partner Sean Weissbart, Estate and Tax Planning, Optimizing Tax-Free Gifts During the Coronavirus Pandemic -- and Potential Risks in the Event of Dissolution of Marriage, Blank Rome webinar, High Net Worth Individuals And Families, 2020
  • 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE YOU DISCUSS DIVORCE WITH YOUR SPOUSE, ModernMom, March 8, 2016
  • WATCH WEBINAR RECORDINGEnjoy a virtual lunch on Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m. EDT with renowned Blank Rome matrimonial & family law attorney Marilyn B. Chinitz and dynamic family therapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling as they discuss the issues, risks, and concerns confronting anxious families in the midst of separation or divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will offer solutions and strategies for financial issues, custody and visitation, and family mental health during these challenging times. This is a must-attend webinar for anyone experiencing marital or family dynamic difficulties during this unusual time—whether already separated, mid-divorce, divorced and coping with custody/visitation, or considering taking any of these steps., Webinar Host and Speaker, Successfully Navigating Divorce and Separation Amid COVID-19, Blank Rome webinar, High Net Worth Individuals In The United States And Abroad, 2020
  • In times of crisis, families typically come together. People decide to avoid unnecessary battles. Arguments are fewer. But that is not the case for unhappy and divorcing couples, many of whom now are experiencing extraordinarily challenging times. Family tensions are exacerbated as COVID-19 continues to impact lives in previously unimaginable ways. Some form of social distancing, working from home, limited mobility, and caring for children full-time without traditional support systems, are all now the norm and will be for the foreseeable future.To read the full article, please visit our Love Bytes blog., Author, Amid the Pandemic: Families Coming Together and Coming Apart, Love-Bytes - Blank Rome blog, Consumers, 2020
  • Amid these unusual times, everybody has on their minds the ripple effects of COVID-19 because we know it has infected everything. Divorcing individuals are not immune. Those contemplating and those in the middle of divorce need to know that COVID-19 will impact their lives in previously unimaginable ways. It will affect your marital estate, investment portfolio, real estate, retirement assets, business assets, and your most important asset—your children. More..., Author, Coronavirus Reality Checks: Surviving Divorce or Separation During the Pandemic, Love-Bytes blog, High Net Worth Individuals In The United States And Abroad, 2020
  • Blank Rome Partner Marilyn Chinitz will be a featured speaker for the AccessCircles virtual dialogue, Family, Marriage and Financial Well-Being: Attaining and Protecting Your Financial Independence in Turbulent Times, taking place Wednesday, September 30, 2020, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST, as an online event. In these fractured and volatile times, it is more important than ever for women to fully embrace and own their financial well-being. In this dialogue, Marilyn and her co-presenters will examine the paradigm shift in family dynamics, the global economic empowerment of women, and the steps women can take to attain and protect their financial independence. Marilyn will be joined by Steph Wagner, Director, Women & Wealth, and Anne Sternlicht, Senior Strategist, Northern Trust Wealth Management., Keynote Speaker, Family, Marriage, and Financial Well-Being: Attaining and Protecting your Financial Independence in Turbulent Times, AccessCircles Virtual Dialogue / blankrome.com, Ultra High Net Worth Women Around The United States, Asia, And Western Europe, 2020
  • SEVEN WAYS TO HELP YOUR CLIENT PREPARE FOR A DIVORCE, WealthManagement.com, September 14, 2015
  • Bedford Democratic Committee’s Jefferson Jackson Day Awards Dinner and Celebration of Community Service, Keynote Speaker, 2011
  • Blank Rome Partner Marilyn Chinitz was interviewed in the June 2017 edition of Lawyer Monthly, as part of the "Inside the Expert Mind" series. In the interview, Ms. Chinitz shares the challenges of tracking and distribution of assets and how her professional experience helps avoid litigation proceedings for her clients., Guest Expert, "Inside the Expert Mind", Lawyer Monthly Magazine, 2017
  • Blank Rome Partner Marilyn Chinitz was recently interviewed on DivorceForce: Survival Guide, a podcast that tackles various aspects of divorce through candid discussions with leading industry experts. In the episode titled, "The Battlefield of Child Custody," which aired on June 23, Ms. Chinitz spoke with DivorceForce CEO Gregory C. Frank on the difficulties of custody battle cases with both biological and non-biological children.To listen to the full podcast, please click here., Guest Expert, "The Battlefield of Child Custody", DivorceForce podcast, 2017
  • BlankRome partner, litigator, and master negotiator Marilyn Chinitz discusses "oscarsomale."  https://fearfulless.com/2017/02/24/oscarssomale-feat-marilyn-chinitz-master-negotiator/, Expert Interview, #oscarsomale, fearfulless.com, 2017

Videos

Show More
Office Location for Marilyn B. Chinitz

1271 6th Ave
New York, NY 10020

Phone: 212-885-5564

Fax: 212-885-5001

Last Updated: 3/17/2021

Page Generated: 0.14179801940918 sec