Needle | Cuda

Needle | Cuda


Firm Overview

At Needle | Cuda, we know when you come to see us, you may be going through the most difficult time of your life. That's why we style ourselves a "high touch" law firm with a premium on client service. In the comfort of our welcoming Westport office, we discuss your situation thoroughly and provide the information and guidance you need to make a well-informed decision about how you'd like to proceed. We focus on family law and limit the number of cases we undertake so we can provide the personal attention you deserve, while building a positive working relationship that inspires confidence. Over decades of practice, our cases throughout Fairfield County have involved couples with significant net worth, so you can trust our ability to manage complex property settlement issues. If you are seeking strong, effective legal representation for divorce or family law, Needle | Cuda can deliver.

Main Office

Main Office
830 Post Road East, Suite 101
Westport CT 06880


(203) 557-9500

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

At Needle | Cuda, we focus exclusively on family law and divorce. That sharp focus allows us to keep abreast of all developments in Connecticut family law so we can better represent your interests. We provide comprehensive legal services for a wide range of matters, including:

Child Custody and Visitation: We understand how important it is to maintain a loving relationship with your children and to protect their welfare with a fair, reasonable child custody and visitation order.

Alimony: Whether you pay or receive alimony, this issue is one of the most important impacting your financial future.

Prenuptial Agreements: In these uncertain times, anyone contemplating marriage should protect their property rights with a carefully executed prenuptial agreement.

Restraining Orders: No one should be a target of threats or abuse, nor should anyone be wrongly accused of domestic violence. If you need a restraining order, or you want to protect your good name from allegations, we provide capable and determined representation.

Relocation: One of the most difficult family law issues arises when a custodial parent wants to move so far away that the other parent's contact with the children is threatened. We represent parents on either side of relocation issues to achieve resolutions that protect your parental rights and your children's welfare.

What experience or education distinguishes your lawyers from others?

Experienced. Savvy. Straightforward.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

At Needle | Cuda, we understand your need for candid legal advice from a trustworthy source. When you come to us with a family law problem, you'll find we are:

Reputable Our attorneys have established themselves as skilled litigators and reliable authorities on Connecticut family law. Our colleagues at law know us as formidable opponents and principled advocates for our clients' rights.

Responsive We are always mindful that our role as counselors requires us to be attentive, accessible, and proactive. Once we understand your goals for yourself and your family, we implement effective strategies designed to deliver the results you need.

Comprehensive We are very detail-oriented and work tirelessly to achieve lasting resolutions to your family law disputes. We know we can only succeed by understanding your unique circumstances and addressing the totality of your concerns. We draw on outside resources, consulting a range of experts whose input is vital to helping us achieve our clients' goals.

Our firm combines indispensable experience with a passionate desire to help our clients secure their future.

Melissa Needle

Needle | Cuda

Attorney Melissa Needle is a lifetime resident of Connecticut. She was born in New Haven and raised in Fairfield. Her family has deep roots in Connecticut and she is a third-generation attorney. (Her father is the well-known transactional lawyer Charles Needle of Zeldes, Needle & Cooper of Bridgeport.) Since her admission to the bar in 1990, Ms. Needle has practiced matrimonial law exclusively. She has been an active family law litigator and many of the cases in which she has appeared involve issues including the division of high net worth estates, complex family businesses, highly contested custody, and requests for child relocation. Before launching her own practice and subsequently jointly forming Needle & Cuda, Melissa accumulated substantial experience at several leading Fairfield County family law firms. She is well-known in Connecticut courts as a fair fighter with high principles and integrity who does not shy away from litigation if that path is the best opportunity for her client to reach an equitable solution. Melissa understands that divorce is not just about the dissolution of marriage or stop-gap solutions but helping clients to plan for the rest of their lives. She resides in Wesport, CT with her husband and has three children.

Connecticut Bar Association, Family Law Section

American Bar Association

Fairfield County Bar Association

Connecticut Family Lawyer, Editorial Board, Former Member

Special Master, Connecticut Superior Court

Speaker: Connecticut Bar Association 2010 Annual Meeting

2019: Super Lawyers (Connecticut)

2018 & 2019: 10 Best Family Law Attorney at AIOFLA

Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2018

AVVO Clients' Choice Award 2018

AVVO Top Attorney 2018


Bar Number: 402959
Connecticut, 1990


Whittier Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1990

Tufts University
Bachelor of Arts, 1987

Alexander Cuda

Needle | Cuda

Alexander J. Cuda is a highly respected family and matrimonial law attorney. With numerous published articles and speaking engagements, Alex's leadership in family law is well-known. He has been named one of the "Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Southern Connecticut" by such organizations as the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (2017). The Connecticut Law Tribune recognized him as a "New Leader in the Law," in 2014. He has been deemed a "Rising Star" by both SuperLawyers (2012-present) as well as the Connecticut Bar Association Family Law Section (2010-2011). He was honored to receive the Connecticut Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2009) and has a 10 star "superb" featured attorney rating on Avvo. Alex is an experienced negotiator and advocate whether in litigation, mediation, or arbitration. He also provides representation in family and matrimonial appeals. Alex is known for his vigorous advocacy, responsiveness, and personalized representation and understanding of each client's needs. He handles both custody and financial matters. Alex lives with his family in Fairfield County.

2019 Super Lawyers (Connecticut)

National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, 2017, "Top 10

Family Law Attorneys in Southern Connecticut"

"New Leader in the Law," Connecticut Law Tribune 2014

"Rising Star," SuperLawyers, 2012 present

"Rising Star," Connecticut Bar Association Family Law Section, 2010-2011

Connecticut Bar Association Pro Bono Award, recipient, 2009

10 Star "Superb" Featured Attorney Rating by Avvo

Connecticut Bar Association
Secretary, Family Law Section, 2017 2018
Treasurer, Family Law Section, 2016 2017
Executive Committee, Family Law Section, 2010 present
Amicus Committee Chair, Family Law Section, 2014 present
Presentation of case law updates to the Family Law Section, 2012 2017
Service on various committees addressing issues including family law arbitration, alimony reform, and premarital and postnuptial agreements

Fairfield County Bar Association
FCBA Board of Directors, 2015 present
Family Law Committee, Co-Chair, 2017 present
Bench/Bar Committee, Co-Chair, 2014 2017
MCLE Committee, 2016
Professionalism Symposium Committee, 2016

Greater Bridgeport Bar Association
Family Law Section

American Bar Association
Family Law Section

"Court Time is Valuable Don't Waste It," (with Jacob Pyetranker), Connecticut Law Tribune, 5/12/17

"Confidentiality Agreements Can Keep Cases Moving," Connecticut Law Tribune, 11/24/15

"Connecticut Supreme Court Restricts Alimony, Limits Discretion" (with Arnold H. Rutkin), Connecticut Law Tribune, 1/20/15

Author of chapter on alimony in A Practical Guide to Divorce in Connecticut, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., 1st Edition 2013, Publication Date: 1/6/14 (Updated publication of treatise chapter pending)

"The Myth of Alimony Reform" (with Arnold H. Rutkin), Connecticut Law Tribune, 8/20/12

"Crews-ing Away from Equity and Back Again: Enforcement of Premarital Agreements in Connecticut," Connecticut Family Lawyer, Summer 2012

"Conservators Can Pursue Divorces on Behalf of Wards" (with David W. Griffin), Connecticut Law Tribune, 8/15/11

"Representing Children in Connecticut Family Court: Examining the Roles and Anticipating the Problems" (by Arnold H. Rutkin with Alexander J. Cuda), Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Seminar

"How to Do Everything Better From Managing Your Clients, Cases and Employing Experts," 5/26/10


Bar Number: 423314
Connecticut, 2004


Tulane University
LL.M, 2004

Tulane University
Juris Doctorate, 2003

Cornell University
Bachelor of Arts, 2000

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