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
Notable Woman in Law, Crain’s New York Business (2022)
Best Lawyer for Family Law in New York (2022)
Elite Boutique Trailblazer, The National Law Journal (2020)
New York Super Lawyer in Family Law (2020-2021)
Distinguished Leader, New York Law Journal (2020)
New York Super Lawyer Rising Star in Family Law (2014-2019)
Outstanding Young Lawyer, The New York Times (2014-2019)
The National Law Journal, Divorce, Trusts & Estates Trailblazer (2017)
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
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
“The Supreme Court Got at Least One Thing Right This Term,” New York Law Journal, July 22, 2022
Presenter, Practising Law Institute, “Addressing Domestic Violence 2022: The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction and Its Intersection with Child Custody Law,” February 2022
“Ameliorative Measures Gut the Grave Risk Exception Under the Hague Convention,” New York Law Journal, July 23, 2021
"SCOTUS 'Clarifies' 'Habitual Residence' Under the Hague Convention,” New York Law Journal, July 24, 2020
"10 Tips to Best Position Yourself in a Custody Dispute,” Divorce Magazine, March 15, 2020
“Beyond Broken Bones, Recognizing Psychological Harm to Children When Applying ‘Grave Risk of Harm’ Standard,” New York Law Journal, July 27, 2018
Presenter, AFCC, 56th Annual Conference, Toronto, “International Jurisdictional Disputes: The Challenges of International Relocation and the Risk of Abduction,” May 2019
Presenter, New York County Lawyers Association, “Civil Aspects of Litigating an International Child Abduction Case Under the Hague Convention: How to Prove the ‘Grave Risk of Harm’ Defense,” July 2018
Presenter, New York State Bar Association, “Basics of Matrimonial Practice, Discovery,” October 2017
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)
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