People often come to me with their whole world turned upside down. And little by little I help them put their world back together. I always wanted to be a lawyer, but I chose family law because I wanted to help people in crisis. I enjoy the complex legal and financial issues, but the most important and rewarding part of what I do is the personal connection I form with my clients.

Valentina Shaknes is a founding partner at KSTM. Since graduating from law school, she has practiced exclusively matrimonial and family law. Valentina represents clients in a wide variety of complex matrimonial matters involving high-conflict equitable distribution and custody disputes, child and spousal support, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Valentina particularly specializes in valuations and divisions of closely-held businesses and complicated custody proceedings.

Valentina has successfully litigated matters in both Supreme and Family Courts in New York, Kings, Nassau, Westchester, and Columbia Counties, and has appeared before the appellate courts for the First and Second Judicial Departments. She is also a certified divorce mediator.

Valentina has also successfully litigated international child custody and international child abduction disputes, including proceedings in federal district and appellate courts, under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Before co-founding KSTM, Valentina served as co-chair of the matrimonial practice at McLaughlin & Stern LLP. After graduating from law school, she was an associate in the matrimonial department of Blank Rome LLP, where she worked with the other three founding partners of KSTM.

Valentina received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School, where she served as the associate managing editor of the Journal for Law and Policy. During law school, she earned first place in the Domenick L. Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition



  • Co-chair, Matrimonial Group | McLaughlin & Stern


  • New York City Bar Association, Matrimonial Law Committee
  • New York County Lawyers Association, Matrimonial Law Section
  • New York State Bar Association, Family Law Section and the Children’s Rights Committee
  • Women’s Bar Association, Family Law Committee



  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit


  • Brooklyn Law School (J.D., 2007, cum laude)
  • Rutgers University (B.A., 1999, summa cum laude)