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Sarah "Sally" Stark Oldham

Westport, Connecticut Divorce Lawyer

Westport, Connecticut divorce lawyer Sally Oldham joined Arnold Rutkin in 1994 and became his partner in 1996. She applies her 24 years of experience and unyielding determination to upholding the rights of her clients and putting them in the best position possible during divorce, custody disputes and cases involving complex financial issues.

Family psychology background

Sally developed a deep understanding of family law issues while working for more than a decade as a school psychologist in various Connecticut public schools and in private practice in Westport. She helps clients address the financial consequences of divorce while recognizing the psychological impact of the process on the families involved.

She also serves as a special master for family matters in the Connecticut court system.

Family law publications in Connecticut

Sally has written numerous articles and she lectures regularly on a wide variety of topics at legal seminars. Sally co-authors with attorneys Arnold Rutkin and Kathleen Hogan the three-volume Connecticut Family Law and Practice series, published by West Publishing. She has written several informative articles for Family Advocate, the official family law publication of the American Bar Association. She also has published articles for The Connecticut Family Lawyer, the newsletter of the Connecticut Bar Association family law section. In May 2008, the joint conference of the ABA Family Law Section and the American Psychological Association invited Sally to return to lecture on the utility of psychological testing in custody cases.

Connecticut case law and legislative actions

Sally acted as co-counsel with attorney Arnold Rutkin in the landmark case of Wendt v. Wendt, which made national headlines and set a legal precedent regarding the way that courts view the financial arrangements in marriage — especially when significant corporate employment assets are involved.

Among her best-known accomplishments, Sally’s trial skills and subsequent advocacy in Ireland v. Ireland redefined the rights of parents and children in relocation disputes. In the Ireland case, Sally represented the plaintiff father, who opposed the mother‘s move to California. The father prevailed at trial based upon the facts and evidence that Sally persuasively presented to the court. The decision was upheld at the appellate level, but reversed by the Connecticut Supreme Court, creating confusion about whether the child’s or the custodial parent’s best interest comes first. Sally resolutely sought justice. She wrote position papers to the Connecticut State Bar calling for clarification on the issue — the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and she testified in several public hearings advocating for legislation that reversed the effects of the Ireland Supreme Court ruling. In 2006, the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in Ireland effectively became moot when the governor signed into law Public Act 06-168, which requires the custodial parent to prove that a move is legitimate and in the child‘s best interest.

The practice of law is in Sally’s blood. Her grandfather was a judge, her father was a lawyer in a major New York firm, and her sister and brother currently practice law.

Sally is a private pilot, licensed since 1984.  She has two grown children and five grandchildren.

Consult a Connecticut family law attorney with 24 years of experience

Learn more about how Connecticut divorce attorney Sally Oldham can help you. Call the Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin, LLC Westport office at 203-227-7301 or our Greenwich office at 203-869-7277 or contact Sally online to schedule your consultation.

Speaking Engagements

Sally Oldham To Lead Discussion On Meeting Best Interest Standards For Children In Family Law Today
Sarah “Sally” Oldham will moderate an important presentation among her peers on new psychological research in family law at the 2016 Connecticut Legal Conference on June 13 in Hartford, Connecticut.  Connecticut Legal Conference is the largest annual gathering of legal professionals in the state.  Ms. Oldham will discuss the latest research findings on psychological issues in family court matters and how to apply those findings in practice consistent with “best interests” standards for children.  Her experience and insight in this area are not only extensive but also unique as she received a M.S. and 6th year degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State College and worked as a school psychologist for eleven years before practicing law.

Bar admissions

  • Connecticut, 1988
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1989


  • J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law, cum laude, 1988
    • Connecticut Law Review
  • M.S., School Psychology, Southern Connecticut State College, magna cum laude, 1974
  • B.S., Wesleyan University, cum laude, 1972

Professional associations and memberships

  • Connecticut Bar Association
    • Executive Committee of the Family Law Section, 1993
    • Treasurer, 1999 – 2000
    • Secretary, 2000 – 2001
    • Continuing Legal Education, 2001 – 2002
    • Chair-Elect, 2002 – 2003
    • Chair, 2003 – 2004
    • Co-Chair, Post-Majority Support Committee, Family Law Section, 1993 – 1994
  • Fairfield County and American Bar Associations
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • Fellow, 2001 – present
    • Chair, National Test Committee, 2005 – 2010
    • Member, Board of Managers, Connecticut Chapter, 2006 – present
  • Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • Fellow 2011 – present
    • Treasurer, 2009 – 2010
    • Secretary, 2010 –  2011
    • Vice-President, 2011 – 2012
    • President, 2013 – present
    • Co-Chair of the Biennial Seminar, Complex Issues in Family Law, 2005
  • International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    • Fellow, 2004 – present
    • Board of Managers, USA Chapter of International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2007
  • State of Connecticut Guardian ad Litem/Attorney for Minor Children Training Course, 2012

Awards and recognition

Representative cases

  • Wendt v. Wendt, 59 Conn. App. 656 (2000), cert. denied 255 Conn. 918 (2000)
  • Ireland v. Ireland, 246 Conn. 413 (1998)
  • Hines v. St. Vincent's Medical Center, 232 Conn. 632, 657 A2d 578 (1995)

See a more complete list of Sally’s publications and lecture topics here:

Member, Connecticut Law Review, 1986-1988. Board of Editors, Connecticut Family Lawyer, 1994-2000. Author: "Post-Majority Support: The Statute Explained," Connecticut Family Lawyer, Fall 1993; "Recent Appellate Developments," Connecticut Family Lawyer, Spring, 1995; "Recent Appellate Decisions," Connecticut Family Lawyer, Fall, 1997; Connecticut Practice Series, Co-Author: "Family Law and Practice," (2 vols.) West Publishing Co., 1999-2000. Lecturer, Connecticut Bar Association: "Relocation Issues After Ireland v. Ireland," September 10, 1999; "Effective Litigation of Mental Health Professionals in Family Cases," March 28, 2001; "Distributing Executive Compensation Benefits," The Family Advocate, Winter, 2001; "Pensions and Divorce: How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Dealing with Pensions in Divorce," May 2, 2002; "The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement (UCCJEA)," June, 2003; "Complex Issues in Family Law Cases" or "How to Handle Tricky Questions and Sticky Situations," April, 2005. Lecturer, ABA-APA Conference, "Psychological Testing in Cases of Disputed Custody," April, 2008; "Examining the Mental Health Expert," The Family Advocate, Spring, 2008; "An Overview of Property Division and Spousal Support Regimes in the U.S.," IAML Annual Meeting, Queenstown, NZ, September 2010; "Substance Abuse Issues in Family Law Cases," Connecticut Chapter AAML Advanced Custody Seminar, May 2012. Certificate of Completion GAL/AMC Comprehensive Basic Training, State of Connecticut 2012. Listed: Best Lawyers in America, 2005-present (selection criteria available at http://www.bestlawyers.com/aboutus/selectionprocess.aspx); Connecticut Magazine "Best Lawyers" Top 25 Female Lawyers, 2007-present (detailed more thoroughly at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html); "New York Area's Best Lawyers" 2007-present (selection criteria available at http://nymag.com/guides/bestlawyers/2008/42039/); Ten Leaders 2008 - (www.TenLeaders.org).

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