Carol Buell FinalCarol L. Buell considers herself more of a “counselor at law” than a lawyer, as her services aren’t just about the transaction; they’re about giving solid legal advice and wise counsel for life’s significant moments.

Serious, dedicated and empathetic and with a deep commitment to community service, Carol will always go the extra mile to do an excellent job, whether the client is beginning a family, planning for disability or death, buying or selling a home or investment property, or seeking advice at the beginning or end of a relationship. She gives full service to all of her clients. Even in something as simple as a real estate transaction, the experience and wisdom she has gained
over the years helps to keep everything on track, avoiding disasters and keeping things calm, even in the worst of crises.

Carol is a trained mediator and collaborative attorney. She feels that alternative dispute methods of conflict resolution, in keeping with her holistic philosophy, are the preferred methods for working through the emotional, legal and social aspects of any divorce or dissolution. She is one of the founders of LGBTQI Family Law Professionals of New York, a group of attorneys, mediators, financial advisers and mental health professionals who use mediation and the collaborative process rather than litigation to help non-traditional families resolve conflicts and separate with dignity.

She finds alternative dispute methods to be of particular benefit to the LGBTQ community, as the existing matrimonial bar has little experience with alternative family matters. Carol feels it’s important for non traditional families to work with attorneys who are knowledgeable and understand the cultural differences and special issues which impact their relationships and their relationships with their children.

Committed to LGBTQ issues for many years, Carol has been in the forefront of helping to develop alternative family law and is a strong advocate. She was one of the first attorneys to develop an expertise in second-parent adoptions, alternative insemination, known donor agreements and co-parenting agreements.

Many of our LGBTQ clients struggle to understand what rights they have under current laws. They wonder how they will know if they are adequately protected, and what protections they are guaranteed. They wonder whether they should or should not marry. They wonder if the rights and responsibilities of parenthood extend to their families, and their particular situation. This area of law continues to remain uncertain and there is no way to give definitive answers to some of these questions. Carol informs her clients of what is certain and what is dynamic, and gives them the most up to date information so they can make the best possible decisions.

Carol represented the parties in the groundbreaking case: In re Adoption of Sebastian, 879 N.Y.S.2d 677 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 2009) In an article published in April 2009, the New York Law Journal stated: “A Manhattan surrogate judge granted an adoption petition filed on behalf of a woman whose donated egg was fertilized and then implanted in her same-sex partner…The decision is an important step in guaranteeing legal rights for same-sex parents, as well as a reminder of the obstacles such parents continue to face…” Since its publication, “Adoption of Sebastian” has been cited in many Law Review articles and publications which address the issues of protecting LBGTQ families and the portability of those rights and protections across state borders.

Carol enjoys baking, podcasts, and reading memoirs, mysteries and cookbooks. She lives with her spouse and daughter in Brooklyn.

Practice Areas

Estate Planning; Family Law, including second-parent adoptions, prenuptial and domestic partnership agreements, parenting agreements, divorce and domestic partnership dissolution, and donor agreements, ; Residential Real Estate Transactions; Mediation and Collaborative Law; and Probate and Estate Administration.


1981, New York

Law School: Brooklyn Law School, J.D., 1980
College: Westminster College, B.A., 1977


The City Bar Association of the City of New York; LeGal Bar Association, New York City; New York State Bar Association (Real Property Law and Family Law Sections); The LBGTQI Family Professionals of New York; Family & Divorce Mediation Council of New York City; and is a member of the LBGT Family Law Institute of The National LGBT Bar Association.


Former Co-Chair and Board Member, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., 1987-1993. Current Member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of National Center for Lesbian Rights, Inc. ; Author, “Legal Issues Affecting Alternative Families,” Journal of Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy, 2001.

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