Honorable Jeffrey S. Sunshine, J.S.C., is the Statewide Coordinating Judge for Matrimonial Matters, having been appointed on June 1, 2018, and is the Chair of the Chief Administrative Judge’s Matrimonial Practice Advisory and Rules Committee. He meets regularly with Court Leadership, Administrative and Supervising Judges, Matrimonial Judges, State and Local Bar Associations and their Executive Committees as well as non-judicial staff on issues related to matrimonial law and rules, procedures, and court operations. He troubleshoots issues related to e-filing, virtual proceedings, case reporting and statistics, and helped to spearhead as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the virtual evidence courtroom (VEC) with the Director of E-filing.
He led the creation of the Uncontested Joint Divorce Pilot Project designed to simplify and streamline the uncontested divorce process in New York State. Recently he led the effort to the adoption by the Administrative Board of the Courts to the harmonization of the recently enacted Supreme and County Court rules with the Matrimonial Rules. The harmonization provided a unique “carve out” to Supreme Court Rules taking into account self-represented litigants and survivors of domestic violence and/ or intimate partner violence. The harmonization rules allow Judges and Attorneys greater flexibility in preliminary conferences and overall case processing.
Justice Sunshine also spearheaded the development by the Division of Court Research of the Matrimonial Judges dashboard, specifically allowing for easy tracking of caseloads and case status for pre-judgment and post-judgment cases. He also serves as the liaison to the Chief Administrative Judge and the Deputy Chief Administrative Judges, the Unified Court System’s ADR Office, Office of Court Research, Division of Technology, Office of Public Affairs, OCA counsel and the Director of E-filing. He is the liaison for matrimonial matters with the Judicial Institute (JI) for judicial education programs and helps organize, present/moderate the matrimonial related components of the Summer Judicial Seminars, New Judge School for newly appointed and elected Judges, and Lunch and Learn programs during the year.
Justice Sunshine continues to serve as Supervising Judge of Matrimonial Parts Kings County. He also served on numerous court committees including the Chief Judge’s A.D.R. Committee and for many years has served on the OCA Statewide Family Violence Task Force.
In 2015 Justice Sunshine successfully established and then mediated a proposal to reform New York Maintenance Guidelines Statute by forming a working group of bar leaders and advocates. The mediated agreement with the support of OCA passed both houses of the Legislature and was enacted by the New York Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on September 25, 2015. The legislation revamped the New York Maintenance Statue and was the first major overhaul of permanent maintenance in New York in decades. He has recommended with the assistance of the Matrimonial Practice Advisory and Rules Committee the revisions by the Administrative Board to the uniform affidavits of net worth and preliminary conference forms and has been actively involved in leading the recommendation for the establishment of suggested protocols for matrimonial and family court mediation.
He has also organized and facilitated the first ever Matrimonial Practice Diversity Summit at the NYC Bar Association on April 17, 2023, in conjunction with the OCA Division of Justice Initiatives, the Family Law Committee of the City Bar Association and the NY Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
A former President of the Brooklyn Bar Association, he served as Chair of the Family Law Section for over ten years. He is a member of the House of Delegates of The New York State Bar Association. He also served as the Chair of the New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Judicial Discipline from 1996-1998 and as Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law - Hofstra University where he obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 1980. He graduated summa cum laude from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1977 and is a member of both the New York and Massachusetts Bar. He has also been a member of New York City Bar Association since 1998.
His judicial assignments: Kings County Family Court Judge 1998-2001; Richmond County Supreme Court Acting Supreme Court Justice January 2001 - February 2003; Kings County Supreme Court Acting Supreme Court Justice February 2003 - December 2010; Elected Supreme Court Justice January 2011- present.
As a practicing attorney, he was a member of the Appellate Division Grievance Committee for the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts.
In 2003, he received the Ecumenical Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild, Kings County, and in 2005, the Brooklyn Bar Association’s highest award, the Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Science of Jurisprudence and Public Service. In 2009, he received the “In the Trenches Award” from the Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence. He was the sole recipient of the 2010 Annual Award of the New York Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 2015, he delivered the keynote address at the Annual Meeting of the Family Law Section of the State Bar. In March 2018, he was recognized by Hofstra Law School with a Distinguished Alumni on The Bench Award. He was named as a Distinguished Alumni on the Bench Hall of Fame at the 50th Anniversary of Hofstra Law School on April 5, 2022.
Judge Sunshine also authored an article titled “2015-2016 Changes in Legislation and Rules for Matrimonial Matters” which was published in the November 18, 2016 edition of the New York Law Journal. On March 27, 2020, his essay “COVID-19 and Future Custody Determinations” was published in the New York Law Journal and has been re-published and quoted nationwide and internationally. He recently completed and updated a training manual and primer entitled: Understanding the Process: Best Practices for the Effective Management of a Matrimonial Case. His many decisions have been frequently published in the New York Law Journal and the Unofficial and Official New York State Law Reports and he has frequently presented/moderated CLE and other programs throughout New York State.