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Experienced. Savvy. Straightforward.

At Needle | Cuda, we know when you come to see us that you may be going through the most difficult time of your life. That is why we style ourselves a “high touch” law firm with a premium on client service. In the comfort of our welcoming Westport office — or remotely as may be necessary or appropriate — we discuss your situation thoroughly and provide information and guidance to help you make a well-informed decision about how you would like to proceed.

We focus on family law and limit the number of cases we take, 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 high-conflict custody matters, significant net worth and complex legal issues. You can trust our ability to manage your case.

Contact us today if you need legal assistance with any of the following:

  • Family Law
  • Divorce
  • Dispute Resolution

Call today at 203-663-3519 to arrange your initial consultation.

Attorney Melissa Needlemelissa.jpg

Bar Admissions:

  • Connecticut, 1990
  • New York, 1991

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Connecticut Bar Association (Member)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association (Member)
  • American Bar Association
  • American Academy for Certified Financial Litigator
  • Connecticut Superior Court (Special Master)


  • Whittier College School of Law, Los Angeles, California, 1990
    • J.D.
  • Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, 1987
    • B.A.

Honors and Awards:

  • Super Lawyer’s Honoree 2019 & 2020
  • Family Law and Practice Magazine’s Top 10 Family Law Attorney Connecticut, 2020 & 2021
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIFLA) – 10 Best – 2-Years 2019-2020
  • National Academy of Family Law Attorneys – Top 1o Attorney 2019, 2020
  • Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell, 2018
  • AVVO Clients’ Choice Award 2018
  • AVVO Top Attorney 2018

Attorney Alexander J. CudaAlexander.jpg

Bar Admissions:

  • Connecticut, 2004
  • U.S. District Court District of Connecticut, 2006

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Connecticut Bar Association, 2017 - 2018 (Secretary, Family Law Section)
  • Connecticut Bar Association, 2016 - 2017 (Treasurer, Family Law Section)
  • Connecticut Bar Association, 2010 - Present (Executive Committee, Family Law Section)
  • Connecticut Bar Association, 2014 - Present (Amicus Committee Chair, Family Law Section)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2015 - Present (FCBA Board of Directors)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2017 - Present (Family Law Committee, Co-Chair)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2014 - 2017 (Bench/Bar Committee, Co-Chair)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2016 (MCLE Committee)
  • Fairfield County Bar Association, 2016 (Professionalism Symposium Committee)
  • Greater Bridgeport Bar Association (Family Law Section)
  • American Bar Association (Family Law Section)
  • Bridgeport Superior Court (Special Master)


  • Tulane University School of Law, Paris, France, 2003
    • J.D.
  • Tulane University School of Law, Paris, France, 2004
    • LL.M.
    • Honors: Moot Court National Appellate Competition Team
    • Honors: Senior Fellow, Legal Research and Writing
    • Law Journal: Journal of Law & Sexuality, Senior Articles Editor
  • Cornell University, 2000
    • B.A.
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Major: Comparative Literature
    • Major: Latin

Honors and Awards:

  • “Rising Star”, SuperLawyers, 2012- Present
  • 10 Star “Superb” Featured Attorney Rating, Avvo
  • National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, “Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Southern Connecticut”, 2017
  • “New Leader in the Law”, Connecticut Law Tribune, 2014
  • “Rising Star”, Connecticut Bar Association, Family Law Section, 2010 - 2011
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Pro Bono Award, 2009
  • Connecticut Bar Association, Pro Bono Honor Roll, Pro Bono Network, 2006
  • Judge, Yale Mock Trial Tournament, 2005 - 2006

Attorney Charles NeedleCharles-1.jpg

Bar Admissions:

  • Connecticut, 1963
  • U.S. Federal Courts, 1963
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1971

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Connecticut Bar Association, 1981 - Present (House of Delegates)
  • Connecticut Bar Association, 1985 - Present (Executive Committee of Commercial Law and Bankruptcy)
  • American Bar Association
  • Greater Bridgeport Bar Association (Executive Committee)


  • Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1963
    • L.L.B.
  • Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 1960
    • M.A.T.
  • Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1959
    • B.A.
    • Honors: cum laude

Pro Bono Activities:

  • Yale Club of Southern Connecticut, Former President
  • Yale Law School Class, Secretary
  • Executive Committee of Yale Law School

Attorney Mark RandallMark-Randall.jpg

Bar Admissions:

  • Connecticut, 2013
  • New York, 2018


  • J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law, 2013
  • B.A., Trinity College, 2007

Honors and Awards:

  • “Rising Star,” SuperLawyers, 2015 – present

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Executive Committee, Family Law Section
  • Legislative Committee, Family law Section
  • Prior Co-Chair or the Family Law Section of the Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee
  • Fairfield County Bar Association
  • Member, Family Law Section
  • The Greater Bridgeport Bar Association
  • Member, Family Law Section
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Family Law Section
  • American Bar Association
  • Member, Family Law Section

In what of course is never an easy experience, Mark Randall surely made it clear and simple to navigate the process. His demeanor and experience made me assured I was being advised the best course of action and for that, I am and will be, so very grateful.
– M.D.

Attorney Melissa Needle along with her Paralegal Jessica Calise represented me through a very difficult revision of a prior divorce contract. Their skills accomplished the goals I needed in a timely manner.
– J.U.

I knew instantly that I wanted Melissa to represent me if I was getting divorced. She is caring, professional and quick to respond. My case went to trial, which no one wants. She handled my trial brilliantly and the results were excellent. I highly recommend Melissa and her firm. You will be in great hands.
– D.P.

Melissa Needle and her staff provided me with professional, common sense support during a very difficult process. She never judged, was level headed while dealing with a very obstructionist opposing Counsel, and simplified what could have been a drawn out process.

I have complete confidence in her and was fortunate to have her on my side.
– Debra

Melissa Needle always made me feel comfortable during a very stressful and emotional time. She was very knowledgeable and worked hard to get this done in a timely manner.
– Jennifer

Melissa is a top-notch divorce lawyer with a vast knowledge of the legal system and the skills to navigate it. But of equal importance to a client going through a divorce, she is sensitive and compassionate and always realistic about expectations. There is no one better I’d rather have on my side.
– Anonymous

I knew instantly after meeting Melissa that I wanted her to represent me if I was going to get divorced. It is such a difficult and emotional process, but she is professional, reassuring and caring. My divorce ended up going to trial, which no one wants. Melissa represented me very well and the outcome was favorable. She was prepared, organized and so composed. She presented the facts in such a professional manner. I would highly recommend Melissa if you need a caring, intelligent, professional attorney.
– Debra

“When I realized my marriage of 27 years was broken beyond repair, I approached Melissa Needle to represent me. Melissa’s goal was to avoid a trial. “That’s not the way I like to do business,” Melissa said. Some attorneys exploit emotions in order to increase billable hours regardless of the financial and emotional toll on the client. Melissa does not work this way. Unfortunately, my spouse and his attorney chose a path of divisiveness, and we were forced to go to trial. As the trial date approached, Melissa and I worked together to create a plan. She gave me the confidence to testify under oath, even while under cross examination by a very tough attorney. Most important, Melissa never allowed the emotional back story to blur her understanding of the relevant facts–the information Melissa knew would matter to a judge when rendering a decision. Her grasp of the financial details, in my case involving years of deferred compensation earned by my spouse, was superb. Had it not been for the thoroughness of Melissa’s presentation, and her paralegal’s attention to details, the outcome for me would surely have been less favorable.

Melissa knows the Family Courts and the judges who preside over them. She understands how the system works, which is not always the way the client would like it to. But her representation is grounded in realities based on years of experience. Melissa is smart and supportive. She empowers her clients instead of patronizing them. Melissa is experienced and plugged-in. She is tough when she needs to be, but she’s never a bully. Melissa will always choose a fair and amicable path, but will fight for her client’s best interests should a trial become necessary. Melissa Needle is an excellent lawyer. She’s also a highly ethical and empathetic human being. And she has my highest praise.”
D.S. – Westport

“I felt that my case could never be settled…I was at a loss, not knowing which way to turn. You took my case, that appeared hopeless, and gave me back hope . . . I knew I was in capable hands. My decision to hire you was the best decision I have ever made. Thank you for your time, patience, and support and for settling the case so that I could move on with my life.”
R.C. – New Canaan

“Divorce is a scary and emotionally draining experience for both sides, regardless of the circumstances. Melissa’s professional and yet personal approach softened the impact of what is otherwise a potentially destructive process. She had a strong grasp of the law, was very professional and respectful of all parties, and yet represented what was fair across the board. She gave me the confidence in my positions on things and allowed for a flow of rationale discussions eventually leading to a final agreement that was fair for both parties, allowing each to walk away with dignity and confidence. I can’t say enough how grateful I was during that difficult time for her counsel.”
B.C. – Weston

“I knew I was in good hands after my first meeting with Melissa Needle. She listened to my story with compassion, and thoroughly explained my legal options to me. I made difficult choices, based on her guidance and expertise, with the confidence that I needed to move forward with my divorce and my life. She offered a very realistic point of view, and her positive attitude helped me through very dark times. It also helped to know that she was always just a phone call away, and that she was capable of dealing with complicated issues and unexpected problems. I achieved the best possible outcome, and know that Melissa made all the difference. I am very grateful for her expert representation, and for her understanding and support.”
B.E. – Westport

I came to Melissa after my divorce and settlement were finalized with the intention to relocate out of state. One meeting with her and her paralegal, and I knew I found a like-minded advocate. Like many in similar circumstances, the situation was emotionally draining and easily one of the most difficult periods of my life. Melissa was sympathetic to the emotional toll a relocation can cause, yet expertly led me through the legal process and CT family court system. Throughout the nearly year long procedure, she kept her eye on the ball and focused on a positive result. She took every step to avoid a trial and worked hard towards a settlement. When it became clear that we were going to trial, she was thorough, prepared, and navigated the Family Court system with certainty and years of experience under her belt. Her expertise in this realm gave me the confidence to endure 2 days of cross examination and 6 days of trial with grace and composure. Thankfully Melissa won my case for me and I was permitted to relocate with my child to another state.
Your choice of counsel during these highly emotionally-charged times is the single most important decision you can make. At this vulnerable time in your life, you need an advocate that will consider your short and long-term interests. If Melissa had been the lawyer to handle my divorce, I firmly believe she would have thought through a potential relocation with a solid divorce agreement and I would have avoided the emotional heartache and financial toll of litigation.
I highly recommend Melissa to anyone in a difficult family situation. She and her firm have my highest respect and I will be forever grateful for their guidance.

Melissa is a fine lawyer who has mastered the art of combining legal ability, strategic thinking and a sense of humanity towards her client. She is a pleasure to work with and I’d strongly recommend her.

I spent 11 long years in the system. I would not have been trapped there for so long if I had Attorney Melissa Needle as my counsel from the beginning. She was a ray of sunshine in the very dark world of divorce and in my never ending storm. Melissa gave me back my freedom and not only brought justice to the ones who were trying to defy the system, but she defended me from many unjust accusations. I have spoken to countless lawyers during this process. Attorney Needle is the only lawyer who was not in it for the money or the big win–she’s about justice and she fought for what was best for my kids and me. She has a level of empathy that can sometimes be hard to find in a lawyer. She cares. She is honest–a word hardly ever used in the process. She is a wife and a mother, which is so important in the world of divorce, so you can truly understand the dynamics of a family/marriage in all its facets. Melissa was the first attorney to be fair, and to truly care about my children and me. And her integrity spans all aspects of her business–she never over billed me or over charged me. I highly recommend Attorney Needle and am eternally grateful to her for all she did for me.

Melissa has professionally represented me for over 12 years; guiding me thru the legal & emotional hurdles of a difficult divorce, thru a court modification process to the original agreement, thru an appeal to that modification, & thru another full court hearing on the modification…all with fair & positive rulings in my favor. I have & will continue to recommend her legal services to others.

Melissa was extremely helpful as I went through my divorce process. She delivered great legal advice with a lot of technical excellence through some very complex employment compensation issues. However, more importantly, she understood my emotions and end goals and was able to communicate practically, patiently and with compassion to deliver a favorable result.

At a very difficult and emotional time, Atty Needle helped to keep things calm. Professional, thorough and to the point, Melissa helped to guide me in the right direction. She quickly gained my trust so I felt confident with the legal counsel I received. Atty Needle’s ability to keep things positive while getting the job done is what stands out the most when someone asks about my experience.

Since 1997, the "Lead Counsel Verified" status has been granted to attorneys who possess:

  • The Right Professional Experience
  • A Spotless Record

The following attorneys at this firm are Lead Counsel Verified:

Alexander J. Cuda

Alexander J. Cuda

This attorney is Lead Counsel Verified in the following practice areas:

Practice Area Year
Family Law Since 2021
Practice Area Year
Family Law Since 2021
Melissa Needle

Melissa Needle

This attorney is Lead Counsel Verified in the following practice areas:

Practice Area Year
Family Law Since 2021
Practice Area Year
Family Law Since 2021
For Attorneys:Download Lead Counsel Badge

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