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Our school

Debra C. Ruel practices in the area of dissolution of marriage, custody, premarital agreements and post-judgment enforcement of court orders, including modifications of court orders regarding all aspects of child custody, reproductive rights, support and alimony, and the transfer of assets pursuant to a divorce decree. She analyzes the transfer of retirement assets, including pensions, 401K plans, and executive compensation packages such as stock options, deferred compensation, bonus compensation, restricted stock, and in-kind perquisites awarded by a corporate employer. Attorney Ruel coordinates the valuation of these assets, as well as closely held corporations, and family businesses. All of this with the goal of achieving the best results within our equitable distribution laws in Connecticut.

In addition to traditional litigation, Attorney Ruel also practices Collaborative Law in the milieu of Family Law. This is an alternative dispute resolution practice, which is handled outside of the court system. She co-founded the Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Association, which is a Hartford-based group.

Attorney Ruel’s abiding interest in the well-being of children and families inspired her work as a co-founder of the innovative non-profit Children’s Law Center of CT, whose mission is the delivery of high-quality legal services to indigent children in the middle of high-conflict custody battles.

Honors and Awards

  • New England Super Lawyers® - Connecticut: 2017 - Present

  • June, 2015, Recipient of the Charles J. Parker Legal Services Award, given by the Connecticut Bar Association.
    Attorney Ruel’s involvement in the Children’s Law Center led to her being selected for this prestigious award, which is given to a CBA member who has a deep and abiding interest and dedication to delivery of legal services to the disadvantaged in Connecticut, and who has given selflessly of himself or herself in advancing goal of providing legal services to Connecticut residents. This service should cover a period of years and not be a single or isolated activity.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • The Connecticut Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow, 2018 - Present
    • Life Fellow, 2012 – 2017, Fellow, 2003 – 2011
    • 2018-2019 Fellows Committee Member - 11th Annual John A. Speziale ADR Symposium “Reimagining Dispute Resolution of Family Matters in Connecticut”, held November 2019
    • 2016 – 2021 Fellows Committee Member –History of Connecticut Women in the Legal Profession
  • American Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Hartford County Bar Association, Past President, 2012, Officer positions 2009 - 2011
    • Co-Chair, Family Law Committee, 1999-2000
    • Co-Chair, Diversity Committee, 2003-2009
  • Tri-State Delegation, Wingspread Conference on High Conflict Custody Cases, Member, 2003-2004
  • Governor’s Task Force on Children and Families, Ad Hoc Committee Member, 2002-2003
  • UCONN Law School Alumni Association, Board Member, Officer positions and Past President through 1999
  • Greater Hartford Legal Aid Foundation, Board Member, Secretary 2020-2021
    • Committee Member GHLAF “Celebrating Leaders for Justice Gala”, 2018 - 2021
  • Hartford County Bar Foundation, Board Member
  • Collaborative Divorce Lawyers Association (co-founder), 2000 – Present

Pro Bono Activities

  • Children’s Law Center of Connecticut, Co-founder, Board Member, Officer positions and Past President through 2014
  • Connecticut Valley Girl Scout Council, Board Member 2004-2005
  • Special Master appointed by the courts of multiple CT counties, and the specialized Regional Family Trial Docket to help resolve cases awaiting trial
  • Planning committee member appointed by the court to establish the Hartford Early Intervention Program, designed to identify high-conflict custody cases and to devote a team of divorce attorneys and mental health professional to resolve issues.

Past Employment Positions

  • Rome McGuigan, P. C., Principal
  • Adjunct Faculty at UCONN School of Law (Lawyering Process) 1996 -1999