Potential Seismic Shift in New York Family Law

The New York Court of Appeals issued a potential landmark decision on August 30th that has particular relevance in the area of family law regarding same-sex couples.

In Matter of Brooke S.B., the Court of Appeals overturned its prior holding in Matter of Alison D. which denied non-biological parents standing to petition for custody and/or visitation rights.  Acknowledging that significant advancements in state law have taken place since the 1991 Alison D. decision, including not insignificantly the right of same-sex couples to marry, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the prior holding unfairly failed to take into consideration the particular circumstances of now estranged same-sex couples who had previously agreed to conceive and parent a child.  Prior to Brooke S.B., the non-biological parent in that situation, i.e. not the partner who had provided the egg or sperm for conception, had no right to petition for custody or visitation of the couple’s  former child or children (although, ironically, the non-biological parent could be liable for child support).  Now, based upon s showing of certain factual requirements (such as evidence of an agreement between partners to conceive and raise a child together), the non-biological parent does indeed have standing to proceed in Family Court seeking custody and/or visitation rights based on the best interests of the child.

Family law is a constantly evolving area of my practice that adapts to meet the realities of today’s complex personal situations.  Every case is different.  Please contact me if I can be of assistance in your particular case.

Positive Results

Sometimes headlines in the paper can be deceiving…

I was happy last week to bring to a positive conclusion a Robbery case that has been somewhat high-profile as outlined in the Democrat and Chronicle article below.  My client wasn’t sentenced to 18 years.  Rather, he was the defendant sentenced to three years in state prison. I consider this to be an excellent outcome considering the original charges included Kidnaping in the First Degree, which if convicted would have carried a sentence of up to life in state prison.


Subsequently this morning, I resolved a case involving an indicted charge of Murder in the Second Degree, another charge that if convicted can carry up to a life sentence.  I was able to secure a plea offer for my client to Criminally Negligent Homicide, a class E felony.  The anticipated sentence will be two to four years.

Success in plea negotiations are a vitally important part of considering which attorney to select.  This office will always be focused on excellence in trial practice, but oftentimes obtaining good results for clients means securing advantageous plea offers.  I’m proud to say that I was able to do just that in two very important cases here in the last week or so.

(Past outcomes are no guarantee of future results.)

Recent TV Appearance

Mr. Rich recently spoke with WROC Channel 8’s Rachel Barnhart about the trial of Thomas Johnson III, who has been convicted of the murder of Rochester Police Officer Darryl Pierson.

Check it out here.

Jury Selection Article

Mr. Rich was recently featured in an article in the Democrat and Chronicle regarding the importance of jury selection at criminal trials.

Matthew J. Rich

Matthew J. Rich is a Rochester, New York-based attorney focusing on criminal defense, DWI cases, traffic offenses, and family law. He brings nearly a decade of experience in private practice and the Monroe County District Attorney's office to assist each and every client.

If you're looking for an attorney, chances are it's because you're facing a problem of some sort. Matthew J. Rich's goal is to help you with your problem, be your informed advocate, and ultimately get you a fair and satisfactory outcome. Matthew J. Rich is on your side.