J. Douglas Barics
Attorney and Counselor at Law
I am a lawyer located in Commack, Suffolk County Long Island, and I've been practicing for over 20 years. I handle a wide variety of complex divorce and family law cases, both at the trial level and on appeal. Since many family law issues don't fall neatly into the confines of the domestic relations law, I believe it is incumbent on any attorney to understand all options. This is why I have expanded my knowledge to include probate and estate law, foreclosure defense, and other equitable remedies such as partitions and constructive trusts,
I consider myself primarily a problem solver, and I look at my job as helping good people out of bad situations. My approach is straightforward - a voluntary agreement that is fair is always the preference. I care less about winning at trial than I do about keeping people in control over their own lives.
Obtaining a fair agreement can only be accomplished from a position of strength. Some attorneys are afraid of going to trial or appealing a bad decision, or they just don't care. Representing someone means being willing to go to a trial if necessary. Ironically, being ready and able to go to trial is the single best way to avoid a trial.
With each case, I almost always learn something new, and I thrive on finding solutions to situations that other lawyers have given up on. This is exactly where having a broad knowledge base of law and procedure gives options that are not immediately obvious.
Complex issues are something I particular enjoy. I consider myself somewhat of a procedural rule junkie, and I've seen many cases won or lost based on proper use of the rules of procedure. Perhaps its in my genetic makeup as the son of an engineer. My father was part of the Apollo project in the 1960s and designed fighter jet electronics in the 1970s and 80s. While I don't share his desire to design electronics, I do share his innate desire to figure out how things work.
In college I started off as a math major. While my degree in math was cut short by a change of life direction, my early forays into advanced calculus, abstract algebra, group and ring theory still helps to this day, as I've got a pretty good intuition with numbers. To this day, I find it astonishing that so many lawyer are so weak in math, especially since so much of financial discovery involves number crunching. Questions about calculus will not be answered due to the statute of limitations.
Since 2010, I've been expanding my practice to include more appellate work, and I find this is where I thrive. There's a certain satisfaction that comes with deconstructing a record, figuring out how everything works, and putting it all back together again. Perhaps it was my being denied the fun of taking apart watches as a teenage during the height of the digital watch craze, but whatever the reason, I've found I'm very good at taking extremely complex fact patterns and putting them in a way that is easy to follow and understand without losing the nuances of the critical issues.
One of the hardest aspects of family law is helping people keep track of the big picture, its so easy to get caught up in the fighting of silly stuff that people spend years of their lives trying to get a stranger to chide their spouse. There's enough serious issues to fight over, and hurt feelings are not high on the list. One of my approaches here is to offer my own personal life philosophy. We've all heard of old people, ruminating and wishing they could go back 20, 30 years and do it all again. Well, perhaps you are that old person and your wish was granted. Do you want to waste your second chance fighting over hurt feelings with someone who really doesn't care about you, or do you want to move on and be free.
Of course, when there are real issues that are worth fighting over, its a very different story. Hidden income, hiding asset, playing games with disclosure. This is where having a lawyer fight for you can make a difference. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing shocks me as to what depths people will go to in trying to hide money or deprive their spouse of what they are entitled to under the law. These cases are the ones I enjoy taking to trial.
The clients I work best with are those who are willing to learn and understand the process. In the office, I explain the options, risks, and likelihood of success an failure. If people make informed decisions about the direction of their case, I've done my job. Yet some people find this approach difficult. I find that people who have have spent years of being dependent on their spouse, in some way often find it hard not to find a substitute spouse to make decisions for them. This is often why so many people coming out of a bad relationships simply replace it with another, and sometimes that new person is their lawyer. Its pretty amazing to see people get comfortable in their own skin as they get used to being their own decision maker, sometimes for the first time in years, and I find this aspect particularly rewarding.
My least favorite client is the one who believes they are the expert. This is the client who thinks they know more than everybody. Very often, these people intentionally withhold information from their lawyer in an effort to push a specific agenda. People like this want to fight everything for the sake of fighting. Sometimes its easy to understand why people get divorced.
On the topic of arguing, a lot of people have the mistaken belief that that a lawyer's job is to argue. Its not. A lawyer's primary job is to persuade. Unfortunately, there are people who will never understand this. Arguing is one of many tools available to persuade, but its only a means, not an end. I give credit to the late Morris Markowitz for teaching this to me many years ago.
I represent people at both the trial level and in appeals. which include contested and uncontested divorces, post judgment motions, custody, visitation and relocation cases, child support proceedings, neglect proceedings. I also represent people in most Surrogate's Court matters, such as administration, probate, and guardianship. I served as a certified law guardian in Kings County from 1996 to 2001, where I represented children in divorces and in Family Court.
I was an adjunct professor at CUNY college, where I taught New York family law for paralegals from 2000 to 2002. I stopped teaching after my twin girls were born to spend more time with them. Now that they are teenagers, they have found more ways to take up my time. One day I plan on returning to teaching.
I was admitted to practice law in 1994, and I became an associate with the Law Firm of Andrew A. Bokser, who was my first mentor. In 1996 I began my own practice part time in downtown Brooklyn, and in 1997, I joined the assigned counsel panel for Family Court and the Law Guardian Program. This is where I learned how to think on my feet. In 1999, I moved my office to Nassau County, sharing office space with the late Robert E. Nowak, author of New York Equitable Distribution Law. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, and I miss our exchanges. I moved my office twice more in Nassau, and in 2015, I finally was able to move my practice to Suffolk County, which is where I live with my lovely wife, two teenage daughters, and two goofy dogs.
Education: S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook University B.A. (1987). Brooklyn Law School J.D. (1993).
Admitted in New York, Second Department 1994. The Unified Court System homepage has a directory of all attorneys currently admitted to practice in New York.
Memberships: Nassau County Bar Association. Queens County Bar Association
Central Mortgage v Resheff (2nd Dept. 2016)
Represented homeowner. Bank prevailed in motion for summary judgment and obtained judgment of foreclosure. Judgment reversed in favor of homeowner.
Kaiser v Kaiser 2013 N.Y. Slip Op. 02047 (2nd Dept. 2013)
Represented husband following divorce trial. Judgment affirmed in favor of wife, partially reversed in part in favor of husband.
Mure v Mure 92 AD3d 653 (2nd Dept. 2011)
Represented wife following a divorce in which both parties appealed. Wife withdrew her cross-appeal. Husband's appeal dismissed in favor of Wife due to failure to prepare sufficient record to allow appellate review.
Schleger v Stebelsky 79 AD3d 1133 (2nd Dept. 2010)
Represented mother who appealed from a Family Court order which declined to exercise continued jurisdiction on an interstate custody matter following a misconduct hearing under the UCCJEA, DRL 76-g. Matter transferred to Florida. Reversed in favor of mother, with New York retaining jurisdiction.
Bowe v Robinson 23 A.D.3d 555 (2nd Dept. 2005)
Represented mother. Father appealed from a Family Court order that denied father's request to modify custody. Affirmed in favor of mother.
Robinson v Fisher 275 A.D.2d 326 (2nd Dept. 2000)
Represented mother who was awarded custody in Family Court. Father appealed. Appeal dismissed in favor of mother based on father's failure to comply with CPLR 5525.
Oyang v Jeng (2nd Dept. 1999)
Represented former wife who appealed. Husband sought to evict ex wife and children. Wife asserted a counter-claim for constructive trust. The lower court granted the ex-husband's motion to strike the counter-claim of the constructive trust and assert defenses to ex-wife's claims. Reversed on appeal in favor of wife.
J. Douglas Barics, Esq.
356 Veterans Memorial Highway - Suite 3
Commack, NY 11725
Copyright © 1998-2016 by J. Douglas Barics, Esq. All rights reserved
J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York.