About Joe

Email: jwilliams@theCDSLawFirm.com

Primary Practice Area


Joseph Williams Joseph R. Williams practices primarily in the fields of matrimonial, family, and adoption law. Joe represents individuals in the negotiation and litigation of separation, divorce, child custody, support and domestic violence matters, as well as all areas of adoption law, including private adoptions, voluntary agency adoptions, foster care adoptions and step/second parent adoptions. Joe also practices in the related area of assisted reproductive technology law (egg/sperm/embryo donation and surrogacy/gestational carrier agreements) and kinship guardianship (kinGAP). He has extensive experience representing clients in the Supreme, Surrogates and Family Courts throughout the Capital District.

Prior to joining Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC, Joe’s private practice focused exclusively upon the representation of individuals in divorce and family law matters. Joe worked at another boutique family law firm in the Capital District, devoting his time to the representation of clients in a wide array of complex matrimonial and family law matters, with a special emphasis on contested custody and domestic violence cases, as well as matrimonial and family law appeals.

Prior to private practice, Joe worked at a not-for-profit civil legal services agency providing representation to the poor and working poor of the Capital District. While working with this organization, Joe focused exclusively upon the representation of individuals in divorce and family law matters involving complex issues of domestic and/or intimate partner violence.

Joe is a two-time recipient of the Albany Law School Equality & Justice Scholarship for his work in advocating for equal rights and justice, particularly for members of the LGBT community, and Joe has successfully represented many LGBT clients in matters ranging from same-sex divorces, to name and gender-marker changes for transgender children and adults, to custody matters involving conflicts among parents regarding their transgender children. Joe was appointed to serve as a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on LGBT People and the Law, LGBT Family Law Institute and the Capital District Women’s Bar Association’s LGBT Committee. Joe has also provided educational trainings for the community on topics such as “LGBT Domestic Violence,” “The Ins and Outs of Child Support,” “Options in Adoption and Assisted Reproduction,” and domestic violence sensitivity trainings. Joe was also appointed to serve on the assigned appellate panel for the New York State Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, representing individuals in a wide variety of family law appeals.

Joe resides in Troy, New York with his partner, Ben, and his four dogs.

Joe received his J.D. degree from Albany Law School, where he graduated summa cum laude and was recognized for outstanding performance in a clinical setting during his time with the Domestic Violence Prosecution Clinic. While in law school, Joe served as Executive Editor for Notes & Comments for the Albany Law Review, where his writing on LGBT equality in the criminal justice system was published. Joe was also a member of the Justinian Society, the Pro Bono Society’s family law and LGBT rights projects, and served as a Domestic Violence Law research assistant and Federal Civil Procedure teaching assistant.

Joe received his B.S. degree summa cum laude from Manhattan College, where he studied Business Administration and Marketing.

Successfully completed 3-parent adoptions

Succeeded in having home study requirement waived for same-sex couples in stepparent adoptions

Completed first known case in NYS successfully converting kinGAP into an adoption and retaining adoption subsidy

Succeeded in obtaining an order directing posthumous sperm retrieval for decedent’s parents to use for future reproductive purposes:

Handled high-profile adoption of slain child’s biological siblings, Mary Wilson, Albany Local News, Siblings of Kenneth White adopted, May 10, 2019.

Successfully litigated countless birth parent consent/abandonment hearings in private-placement adoptions

Successfully negotiated and drafted a comprehensive custody schedule for client to “co-parent” a dog following a breakup

Successfully handled several interstate adoption proceedings involving the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

Successfully argued appeals before the Third and Fourth Judicial Departments and sought leave to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals

Succeeded in overturning custody order on appeal based on misconduct of the forensic custody evaluator

Succeeded in obtaining an annulment of a marriage based on fraud

Successfully litigated numerous highly contested step and second parent adoptions

Successfully litigated complex custody disputes involving allegations of physical/sexual abuse and parental alienation

Successfully obtained countless orders of protection (including 5-year orders) for victims of domestic violence

Successfully litigated several divorce proceedings for same-sex and/or transgender clients

Represented clients in international re-adoptions and registration of foreign adoptions

Succeeded in obtaining leave to serve court documents via Facebook, text message and Instagram when the opposing party’s location was unknown

Successfully obtained a certification order for an adoption application with a significant criminal history

Successfully represented minors in proceedings to obtain child support from their non-supportive parent(s)

Successfully handled several interstate custody disputes involving the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

Succeeded in obtaining name change orders for children over the objection of the other parent

Successfully negotiated contested matrimonial and custody proceedings to settlement to avoid costly litigation

Successfully represented clients in complex matrimonial actions including business valuations and distributions

Succeeded in obtaining name change for minor whose parent was a convicted felon without providing notice to the parent

Successfully represented clients in high net worth divorces resulting in spousal support and child support awards above the guidelines amount

Successfully represented non-parents (including non-relatives) in obtaining custody and/or visitation of minor children

Represented several minors in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases to obtain predicate orders to apply for United States citizenship

Represented several transgender adults and minors in changing their name and gender marker on government-issued identifying documents

Joseph R. Williams, “New York State Changes Policy on Birth Certificate Gender Marker Changes for Transgender Minors”, 2020.

Joseph R. Williams, “Domestic Violence Victims Can Obtain Financial Relief, and Protection, from New York State Family Courts”, 2020.

Casey Copps DiPaola and Joseph R. Williams, “The Passage of the CPSA Means That Same-Sex Parents No Longer Need to Adopt Their Own Children to Secure Parentage!”, 2020.

Joseph R. Williams, Copps DiPaola Silverman Recently Completed its Second Three-Parent Adoption!, 2019.

Joseph R. Williams, Copps DiPaola Silverman Helps to Make the Adoption Process After IVF Easier for Same-Sex Couples, 2019.

Joseph R. Williams, Important KinGAP Victory for Copps DiPaola Silverman, 2019.

Joseph R. Williams, “I Don’t Like Gays, Okay?” Use of the ‘Gay Panic’ Murder Defense in Modern American Courtrooms: The Ultimate Miscarriage of Justice. 78 Alb. L. Rev. 101. 2015.

The National LGBT Bar Association

LGBT Family Law Institute

Appointed by Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, Elizabeth A. Garry, to serve on the Board of Governors for the New York State Attorney-Client Fee Dispute Resolution Program

New York Attorneys for Adoption & Family Formation (NYAAFF), Member, Treasurer & Legislative Committee Chair, http://www.nyaaff.com/

The Legal Project’s Domestic Violence Legal Connection: Panel Attorney

The Legal Project Reduced Fee Matrimonial Program: Panel Attorney

Albany County Bar Association: Member

Albany County Bar Association Pro Bono Committee: Member of Help Center Subcommittee

Capital District Women’s Bar Association: Member

Capital District Women’s Bar Association Committee on LGBT People and the Law: Member

New York State Bar Association: Member

New York State Bar Association Committee on LBGT People and the Law: Member

New York State Bar Association Family Law Section: Member

Albany Law School Equality & Justice Scholarship

Albany Law School Kate Stoneman Award

Stanley A. Rosen Memorial Award for Service to Victims of Domestic Violence

Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Star