PH (516) 246-9090
FAX (516) 246-9091
377 Oak Street, Suite 101
Garden City, New York 11530
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Peter J. Galasso's Bio
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the then highly regarded Business School at SUNY Albany, where he concentrated his studies in accounting and management science, Peter attended and graduated from Boston University of Law. He thereafter began his legal career by honing his trial skills as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County. About four (4) years later, Peter entered private practice and focused on matrimonial and commercial litigation. In late 1988, Peter joined his long-time partner James Langione and established his own law firm in Garden City.
Over the course of Peter’s career, he has authored approximately thirty (30) articles and opinions, most of which were published by the New York Law Journal, which is the only significant daily legal news publication in New York State. Many of Peter’s articles either helped better clarify the law or identified logical incongruences in how a particular law was being applied.
For example, in his article “Whose Children are they anyway”, Peter crystalized how incompatible the law governing grandparent visitation was with an intact couple’s free exercise of their statutorily protected parental rights. Peter argued that parents, unlike grandparents, are legally responsible for the care of their children. The alleged state interest that justified imposing an obligation on an intact couple to facilitate an estranged grandparent access simply does not exist to justify the legislation.
In one of his first articles entitled “Rolling the Dice Pendente Lite”, Peter reminded the Judiciary how careful it had to be in awarding support based solely on the parties’ conflicting claims as set forth in motion practice rather than live testimony. In his article entitled “Validating Hocus Pocus”, Peter exposed the vacuous evidentiary basis that judges relied on in admitting the hearsay testimony of a healthcare professional that parrots the statements made by a toddler about alleged sexual abuse. In allowing such testimony, Peter argued that the well-establish rule that precluded a witness from testifying about something she heard from a non-testifying witness was being eviscerated.
Cases that Peter has tried to verdict have also had an effect on the legal landscape. In Baron v. Baron, a case involving a marital estate worth over $80 million, the Court found that the husband’s subprime auto-financing business was worth $50 million. However, in response to Peter’s minimization of the wife’s contribution toward the growth of that business, the trial judge awarded the wife only 20% of the value of the business, despite the fact that the parties had been married for over 25 years. The Appellate Division affirmed that 20% award, stating in pertinent part:
Contrary to the Plaintiff’s contentions, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in awarding the Plaintiff a 20% share of the Defendant’s company. “Although in a marriage of long duration, where both parties have made significant contributions to the marriage, a division of marital assets should be made **459 as equal as possible. . . there is no requirement that the distribution of each item of marital property be made on a equal basis”. Here, the 20% share takes into account the Plaintiff’s minimal direct and indirect involvement in the Defendant’s company, while not ignoring her contributions as the primary caretaker for the parties’ children, which allowed the Defendant to focus on his business.
Baron v. Baron has become an oft-cited precedent in any case where a litigant argues for departure from the customary 50-50 equitable division of the marital estate.
In Brims v. Combs, Peter represented P Diddy in a Mount Vernon Family Court proceeding wherein Misa Burns sought an upward modification of P Diddy’s child support obligation for the parties’ son Christian. Rather than permit the Petitioner’s attorney to cross-examine P Diddy for months about his otherwise confidential financial information, Peter’s unique defense focused not on P Diddy’s ability to pay support but on the child’s provable expenses. Because P Diddy did not testify, the Family Court slammed him with an award of $35,000 per year. In response to media inquiries, Peter called the decision “patently unreasonable” and promised that a successful appeal would follow. It did. The Appellate Division slashed the Family Court award almost in half stating:
In calculating the award of child support of the mother under Family Court Act § 413, the Support Magistrate erred in basing the award in part on the amount of child support the father paid for his other child by a different woman, particularly where no evidence was presented as to that child’s expenses, resources, and needs. To this end, in high income cases, the appropriate determination under Family Court Act § 413 (f) for an award of child support on parental income in excess of $80,000 should be based on the child’s actual needs and the amount that is required for the child to live an appropriate lifestyle, rather than the wealth of one of both parties.
Since that Second Department decision, virtually all ‘high income’ support cases cite to the Combs decision in support of a needs-based child support award.
In addition to being a member in good standing in the New York State Bar, and a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, and its Matrimonial Committee, Peter is a fellow to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the most exclusive merit-based national association of Matrimonial lawyers, all of whom had to be invited to apply and all of whom were vigorously tested in the esoterica of matrimonial law to earn their admission.
Most recently, Peter’s article on a hot matrimonial topic “The Death of Double-Dipping in Divorce Context” was published on April 27th in the New York Law Journal, thereby continuing Peter’s scholarly influence on the matrimonial landscape.
© 2016 Galasso and Langione, LLP, - Specializing in Family, Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice in Garden City, Long Island, New York
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