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Melissa Cefalu

Divorce and separation Attorney at New York, NY

5.0   18 reviews
Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • State Years
    Connecticut - CT 6 years
    New York - NY 8 years
    New Jersey - NJ 9 years
  • Licensed for 6 years
    State CT
    Acquired 2017
    Status
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 8 years
    State NY
    Acquired 2016
    Status
    Currently Registered No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 9 years
    State NJ
    Acquired 2014
    Status
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Melissa

Learn Melissa’s areas of practice.

5
Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    50%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law. This includes divorce, separation, custody, visitation, domestic violence, child support and spousal support issues, the distribution of marital assets including business assets, as well.

    5 years

  2. Family
    40%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law. This includes divorce, separation, custody, visitation, domestic violence, child support and spousal support issues, the distribution of marital assets including business assets, as well.

  3. Alimony
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  4. Child abuse
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  5. Child custody
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  6. Child support
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  7. Domestic violence
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  8. Immigration
    1%

  9. LGBT+ Law
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  10. Marriage and prenuptials
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  11. Mediation
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

  12. Uncontested divorce
    1%
    My entire practice is dedicated to matrimonial and family law.

DEDICATED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY SERVING NYC. CALL TODAY!

Melissa R. Cefalu commenced her career as a corporate attorney specializing in investments and securities where she worked as counsel for some of the largest asset managers in the world. This knowledge serves her well in all aspects of her practice, from drafting and negotiating matrimonial agreements, structuring the distribution of complex financial assets and investments, and her ability to effectively advocate on behalf of her clients in mediations, dispute resolutions, and court.

Ms. Cefalu discovered her calling to transition from the corporate sector to matrimonial and family law as a result of her own personal experience of going through the divorce process. As a result of her experience and personality, Ms. Cefalu is extremely adept to understanding the needs of her clients. It is with such compassion and vigor that Ms. Cefalu approaches each individual matter in the best interests of her clients and their families. 

Ms. Cefalu was born and raised in New York City and attended St. John’s University where she applied for and was accepted into the university’s joint-degree program, receiving a B.A. and M.A. in English with a minor in Philosophy. Subsequently, Ms. Cefalu applied and was accepted into Hofstra University’s School of Law’s joint-degree program, receiving a J.D. in Law and M.B.A. in finance.

While in law school, Ms. Cefalu served as a member of the Hofstra Law Review and as President and Editor-in-Chief of Hofstra Law’s Moot Court Board.

Some of Ms. Cefalu's current recreational interests include reading, yoga, golf, dining out, traveling, playing chess, snowboarding, surfing, visiting museums and art galleries.

Photos and videos

Location

Cefalu Law
260 Madison Ave, 8th Floor
New York, NY, 10016
Cefalu Law
1470 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11228
Cefalu Law
221 River Street, 9th Floor
Hoboken, NJ, 07030
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Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  18 customer reviews
5 Star
 
100%
4 Star
 
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3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
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1 Star
 
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Posted by Natasha | January 12, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Lawyer That Sees You as More than a Case
Ms. Cefalu has been on my case for roughly a year and has taken me into trial (unavoidable in this situation), and has by far been the best attorney I’ve worked with. She’s efficient, always responds to messages promptly, and thorough. She knows the law and the system, and will discuss strategy and options with you when many attorneys just do whatever bills the most or is easiest for them. More importantly, she sees you as a human being. In a very dehumanizing and often broken system, this is priceless!
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Posted by Mitchell | November 14, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Family Attorney in New York! Melissa Cefalu saved my life
When I was first served with family court papers, I immediately sought to reach out to attorneys to have my case reviewed and litigated. At first, I felt like there wasn’t anyone out there who was listening to me. These initial attorneys on our consultation calls would say things to me that didn’t align or relflect my view of the case. Most of the family court attorneys made me feel like a criminal upon viewing the allegations - forgoing anything I was refuting about the situation. They made me feel as though I had done something wrong right off the bat - and that would require an arm and a leg to be able to defend. They also seemed disinterested in diving into the materials and evidence that I was capable of providing, causing me a great deal of angst & frustration. Then, I finally called Melissa Cefalu. Mrs. Cefalu - from the first time we spoke - took a vastly different approach to me and my case. She listened intently to what I had to say and share. I could tell instantly that she would actively participate in my case. Melissa was able to immediately guide me through a process I had no experience with, and certainly never anticipated being involved in. She not only offered me candid legal advice - formulating an excellent strategy that led to a near perfect outcome - but somehow was simultaneously offering me invaluable counsel in my personal life & relationships. Going into this sensitive matter was difficult for me, and left me confused and very depressed. I was so worried this would negatively impact my life in the future. Melissa nearly held my hand to help me process things! I can honestly say upon reflection that she is a one-of-a-kind person who practices this area of law with a real sense of personal passion, integrity, and competence. Mrs. Cefalu was such a strong and effective advocate that she was able to have the allegations dropped at the arraignment stage, forgoing any further proceedings and litigation on the matter. Without her peaceful yet bold posture towards the plaintiff, I’m not sure the the other party would have so readily agreed to drop their case completely. She was even able to get the other side to agree to confidentiality, protecting my reputation throughout. Her calm, reassuring, and confident demeanor was truly effective. She utilized her compassion/empathy with her comprehensive legal knowledge with great skill and effect! I’m not sure where I’d be now, if it weren’t for Melissa Cefalu! I am eternally grateful and would recommend Mrs. Cefalu’s services to anyone in need of a family law attorney. She hit a grand slam out of the park for me. I look forward to recommending her to others, and would second that to anyone looking for help on these matters! Mrs Cefalu was and is a life saver, and is a pleasure to work and communicate with.. She’s the advocate you want in your corner when things get complicated. Forever thankful I called her that day! 10/10
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Posted by Charles | August 14, 2023
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Customer
Melissa was very helpful and explained all of the pertinent details that I needed for my divorce. It's clear she goes above and beyond for her clients and I would recommend her to anybody.
Posted by anonymous | July 24, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Prenuptial Agreement
Melissa helped me negotiate and draft my prenuptial agreement leading up to my wedding. She was super thorough and helped me understand the potential consequences of the prenup if it were ever to be litigated. More importantly, made sure that the intentions that we had were correctly reflected in the document. We were also working with a mediator and my husband's attorney and she was great working with other parties. I highly recommend her especially if you have a family business or business that you own- she is very well versed in dealing with those circumstances.
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Posted by anonymous | June 21, 2023
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Truly passionate and caring lawyer
I consulted with Melissa and she was wonderful at listening to my situation and putting my mind at ease. She was respectful and empathetic the entire time, and if she didn't have a certain resource she was happy to connect me to those in her network that could help. She shed light on certain criminal law questions I had as well as options around finding out status of restraining orders in place to protect me. Highly recommended!
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Posted by anonymous | April 24, 2023
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Family Law Attorney
Melissa is an experienced attorney and an excellent listener. She has in depth understanding of the issues around visitation and interfamily conflict. I feel lucky I found her.
Posted by anonymous | April 12, 2023
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
EO
Melissa was very attentive to my situation and provided me with a very detailed consultation. With her help I was able to understand what I was eligible for and which route to take.
Posted by Tatiana | March 3, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend!
Melissa is a very attentive attorney who is always on top of your case. I hired her to manage my uncontested divorce and it could’ve went smoother!
Posted by Shoshana | March 3, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly satisfied
Mellisa was an amazing lawyer to have on my side. She fought for me in court and also knew how stay composed to get things resolved for me at the same time. She was very sensitive to my situation and was there to answer every one of my questions no matter the time! She helped me from the beginning until the end, without loosing patience. I highly recommend her!!
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Posted by anonymous | August 24, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommened
Melissa is an exceptional, knowledgeable, and sincerely caring attorney. From our first time speaking together, I knew I found the best attorney to represent me in my child custody case because she is very well informed about family court. She guided me with which documents I needed and kept me updated throughout the case with the paperwork filings. I am truly thankful of her for explaining the process and legal terms as well as providing advise during that emotional time for me.
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Posted by Selcuk | July 28, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent communicator, court room litigator and researcher
I hired Melissa's firm to represent me in a very nasty divorce. Melissa was kind, knowledgeable, pleasant and also gave excellent advice. She was very thorough browsing through paperwork, receipts and old documents. She is also knowledgeable in commercial property matters as my divorce involved joint ownership of two residential buildings in Manhattan. She stands tall in court, able to produce accurate and beneficial answers. My story was complex and multi layered over a long span of marriage and she was able to internalize it all. She is also a hard worker. It was not unusual for m to get emails from her late at night and she always kept me in the loop and made me aware of all the steps. I am forever grateful for the representation I received from her. She is highly recommended.
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Posted by Kris Siraj | March 30, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Good vibes, better results
I was very happy and satisfied with my outcome. Melissa Cefalu helped me through a difficult time in my life. I feel as though I couldnt have picked someone better to handle my case.
Posted by Michelle | February 4, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommend
Melissa stepped in to cover another attorney during my divorce. She was incredibly professional, helpful and responsive. She was prompt in responding to emails and always took the time to explain when I had questions. While you never want to find yourself in that situation, Melissa is the person you want taking you through it. She made a difficult process a lot easier and I am incredibly grateful to her for that. I highly recommend her!
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Posted by anonymous | November 22, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Dedicated and detail oriented
Ms. Cefalu has really helped me navigate a difficult and protracted family court proceeding with care and expertise. Her finance and business background was very useful and her attention to detail really allowed me to know that I was in great hands legally. She is friendly and her dedication was unlike anything I had with previous representation. I would highly recommend her for any family law matters. She was a superior litigator and easy to work with and we made a good team, making sure all documents and supporting evidence were organized and submitted properly. She is the best and it's easy to understand why is a rising star in NYC. I feel fortunate to have had her fight for me.
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Posted by anonymous | September 20, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Made it an easy process!!!!
I was going through a nasty divorce from my partner and wanted an uncontested divorce to be as easy and seamless as possible… thanks to Melissa it was! She was very understanding and compassionate about my situation and didn’t make me feel like she was just hired help. She helped make one of the most difficult moments in my life so much easier. So thankful I found her and highly recommend her services!
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Posted by David | September 20, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very professional
I'm not a fan of paperwork so Ms. Cefalu worked on my divorce I knew I made the right choice. She was a professional who treated me as I was the most important person and that meant a lot during this period in my life. I told Ms. Cefalu what I wanted from the divorce and she typed it up. When everything was said and done, I looked it over and liked what I saw. Ms. Cefalu sent the paperwork in and now I am a happy customer. Any questions I had were answered and I will be going to Ms. Cefalu if I ever need to for further legal advice or counseling.
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Posted by Richie | January 9, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Divorce and Family Law Attorney
Divorce is never easy. After my first attorney failed I was recommended to Melissa. And so glad I did! Working with Melissa was a great experience. Her compassion, expertise, and knowledge about the law was impeccable. She handled my divorce to achieve the best outcome in a very difficult decision in my life...
Posted by anonymous | January 8, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend! Melissa is amazing!
I hired Melissa for a child custody case. She came highly recommended to me by a friend who used her for a recent divorce. Needless to say, I was very stressed going into this, so I was relieved that Melissa took the time to explain the process step by step. Melissa navigated the situation with such finesse and we reached a settlement that I'm so happy about. She always responded promptly to any questions I had, and she was always patient and thorough discussing our options. Highly recommend Melissa to anyone looking for a family law attorney!!
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Cost

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Contact for Details

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • CEO and Managing Member
  • Cefalu Law
  • 2023 - Present
  • Senior Counsel
  • Bryant & Bleier, LLP
  • 2019 - 2023
  • Associate
  • Stark & Stark, A Professional Corporation
  • 2018 - 2019
  • Associate General Counsel
  • AQR
  • 2016 - 2018
  • Director Counsel
  • Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
  • 2014 - 2016
View all work experience

Education

  • Hofstra University School of Law
  • JD/MBA - Juris Doctorate and MBA
  • 2014
  • St John's University
  • MA - Masters
  • 2013
  • St John's University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2012

Associations

  • New York Women's Bar Association
  • Executive Committee
  • 2022 - Present
  • New York State Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Executive Committee
  • 2022 - Present
  • New York State Women's Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2021 - Present
  • New York Women's Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2021 - Present
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2021 - Present
  • New York County Lawyers' Association
  • Member
  • 2020 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2022
  • Top 10 Attorneys Under 40
  • National Academy Of Family Law Attorneys
  • 2022
  • Top Lawyer
  • Thomson Reuters
  • 2022
  • New York Metro Rising Stars
  • SuperLawyers
  • 2021
  • Top 10 Attorneys Under 40
  • National Academy Of Family Law Attorneys
  • 2021
  • Dean's List
  • Hofsra University School of Law
  • 2014
  • Finalist, Intramural Competition
  • Hofstra Trial Advocacy Association
  • 2013
  • Semifinalist and Recipient of Outstanding Brief Award
  • Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition 2012
  • 2012
  • Dean's List
  • Hofstra University School of Law
  • 2012
  • Quarterfinalist, Intramural Competition
  • Hofstra Law Moot Court Board
  • 2011
View all awards

Publications

Attorney endorsements

Received (23)
Given (69)
Endorse Melissa
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I can endorse Ms. Cefalu because it's clear she understands the law and can explain it so that her clients will understand it."
Family Attorney | Feb 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse attorney Melissa Cefalu . Her answers are right on point and provide useful guidance. Attorney Cefalu is competent and dedicated to serving her clients."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Dec 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Attorney Cefalu is dedicated in using her skills in family law and divorce to assist her clients during trying times. Her approach is compassionate and dedicated, coupled with strategic finesse regarding her clients' best interests. I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Oct 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Ms. Cefalu is an asset to the AVVO community. She generously lends her time in providing insightful answers in the family law arena. Not only is she a lawyer, she has an MBA."
Family Attorney | Oct 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Ms. Cefalu has remarkable educational credentials that make her a formidable advocate for her clients - communication evidenced by her Masters in English and serving on her law school's Law Review, finance with her Masters in Business Administration, and legal skills through her Juris Doctor from law school. She uses all three daily representing her clients. I am pleased to endorse her."
Family Attorney | Oct 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Melissa has great customer reviews and specializes in family law issues. Attorneys who work in too many areas of practice often don't know the ins-and-outs of each specific area. Almost impossible if you ask me. Also, while no one goes into a marriage thinking about divorce, Melissa has shared her personal experience and understands what her clients are going through. Clearly an attorney who cares about her clients and wants to help."
Family Attorney | Oct 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Melissa is a an excellent advocate that fights hard for her clients. She can be trusted by her clients to give their case her very best. Her passion shines through on every case she handles."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Family Attorney | Oct 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Attorney Cefalu. Her experience and compassion is exemplified by the detailed responses within the AVVO community and forum."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
LGBT+ Law Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Melissa Cefalu for Divorce and Family Law. Her answers on this forum speak greatly about her experience, and how much she cares about her clients."
Unknown Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse lawyer Cefalu. Ms. Cefalu's many thoughtful and helpful answers on the Avvo forum are a real service to the community she serves."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Other
"I endorse Melissa as it is clear that she cares about her clients and maintains high and ethical standards and legal knowledge to represent her clients to the best of her ability."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Ms. Cefalu brings her experience and approach as a "corporate lawyer" into the world of family law. That approach always translates into excellence for the clients, who get to enjoy the methodological approach, while getting the carrying and insightful touch that she displays in her responses on AVVO. I endorse her!"
Family Attorney | Oct 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Ms. Cefalu. Her broad experience and her personal involvement in family law make her an excellent lawyer to advocate for her clients. She has received spectacular reviews from her clients and provides precise and informative responses to questions on this forum."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"The answers of Ms. Cefalu are consistently accurate, full of analysis, and customized to the needs of the Avvo asker. These are exactly the qualities that every client would look for when hiring an attorney."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Attorney Melissa Cefalu. Her education and experience make her exceedingly well suited to handling complex situations and personalities and getting outstanding results for those lucky enough to be her clients."
Uncontested divorce Attorney | Oct 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. She is very knowledgeable about a broad variety of family law matters."
Family Attorney | Oct 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Attorney Melissa Cefalu. Her compassion, confidence and knowledge of the law come through her answers and I appreciate her valuable insights on the clients’ questions on this forum. She clearly takes time to address the clients’ family law questions. Thank you."
View more endorsements
Social Security & Disability
Criminal defense
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General practice
Criminal defense
Personal injury
Personal injury
Car accident
Personal injury
Divorce and separation
Personal injury