Every day, Kristen O’Leary helps guide her clients through some of the most emotional events they will ever have to deal with. As a matrimonial and family law attorney, she handles a range of cases from divorce proceedings and custody decisions, to child support orders, wills, probates, and guardianship proceedings.
“We’re dealing with someone’s family, and money, and everything that they own—it’s basically everything that’s the most important to them.” Given the nature of what’s at stake, it’s no question that she goes above and beyond for her clients whenever possible.
Kristen knew she wanted to be a criminal defense attorney from a young age. After law school, she pursued that path and began at Spar Bernstein as a criminal defense law clerk. Two years later, she transitioned into matrimonial and family law.
“With criminal defense, I always wanted to help people. It kind of translates to the same thing, but I feel being a matrimonial and family lawyer gives you an opportunity to be more effective, and that I can do more and help more.”
Kristen begins working with her clients by getting to understand them and their relationships. She gathers background information on any former proceedings and becomes familiar with each case as if she’s been working on it from the beginning.
Her efforts aren’t limited to just the divorce or family issue at hand, however. As is the nature of these cases, many different issues often come up along the way. “You don’t just go to court and then you’re done. We go beyond what a normal attorney would do on a general case.”
When handling a divorce case, for example, she’s also simultaneously in housing court as a courtesy dealing with eviction proceedings, or reaching out to other attorneys because there is a criminal case pending. Other times, she’s facilitating arrangements with police to escort clients safely in and out of their homes to gather their belongings.
With every client, Kristen’s goal is to make meaningful differences in any way she can—whether it’s securing money for child support, getting a child support order modified because of a financial hardship, or helping a client find a real estate attorney who can assist with a housing foreclosure.
There aren’t many other things that draw out such emotions as divorce and custody proceedings, but Kristen helps her clients see the silver lining. “I remind them that they’re not the only ones dealing with this. No matter the situation, others have gone through it before, and moving forward is a positive situation.”
- J.D., Touro Law Center, 2013
- B.S., Business Administration, Hofstra University, 2008
COURT AND BAR ADMISSIONS
- New York State