Eleanor B. Alter

(1938- )


ALTER, ELEANOR B. (1938– ), U.S. divorce lawyer. Born in Slingerlands, N.Y., the daughter of Charles Breitel, chief judge of New York State's Court of Appeals, Alter graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her law degree from Columbia University. She worked for several law firms in New York City before becoming a specialist in divorce law. Over more than 35 years, she oversaw the termination of more than 2,000 marriages, including two of her own. Her famous clients included Joy Silverman, the ex-inamorata of Sol *Wachtler, New York's former top judge, and Mia Farrow, Woody Allen’s former companion.

When she began matrimonial work in the mid-1960s, divorce law had a tawdry reputation because the only legal cause for divorce in New York then was adultery. But the law changed and Alter's practice prospered and her reputation grew. An early first marriage, which produced two sons, was to William D. Zabel, who would become a dean of the trust and estates bar. In addition to her practice, she taught at several law schools and lectured widely.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.