40-Year-Old N.J. Mom Gives "Gift of Adoption" to Her Stepfather for Christmas

Somerset County Law Firm Lyons & Associates Assisted Pro Bono on a Holiday Surprise 29 Years in the Making
By: Lyons & Associates P.C.
Michele Mason surprised her stepfather with adoption papers for Christmas.
Michele Mason surprised her stepfather with adoption papers for Christmas.
SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Jan. 2, 2019 - PRLog -- When most people think of family/divorce lawyers, they usually picture courtroom sharks waging war as families disintegrate. But one such lawyer in Somerset County, N.J., helped bring a family closer together this Christmas.

Theresa A. Lyons, principal of Lyons & Associates, P.C., donated her firm's time to Michele Mason of Hillsborough, a 40-year-old mother of three seeking to be officially adopted by the man who raised her since she was 11. Mason presented her stepfather, Anthony Raffo of Neshanic, with adoption papers and a pen on Christmas Eve, in front of assembled family.

"It was a very special moment, one long in coming. He is the only dad I've ever really known, and this was something I've been wanting to do," said Mason, who is adding Raffo's last name to hers. She will become Michele Lee Raffo-Mason.

"This story demonstrates that adoption is not limited to children, but can forge families of all ages. It also shows that family law attorneys, often perceived as lacking compassion,  can and do have a heart. Who knew?" said Lyons.

Mason found Lyons & Associates online, walked in the office in Somerville without an appointment, and was impressed with how attentive and compassionate attorney Mark Gabriel was upon hearing her story. For his part, Gabriel was touched by Mason's heartwarming gesture.

"I immediately went to Terry and suggested we take on this case for free, and she was on board almost immediately," said Gabriel, who worked with attorney Sara Kucsan on the case. "It was the kind of story that doesn't happen very often, and we very much wanted to be involved."

"It was a beautiful expression of gratitude for decades of love and support, and it was thrilling to be part of this, especially at this time of year," said Lyons. "We take pride in not just helping clients through their most challenging family matters, but in bringing families together through adoption."

About Lyons & Associates

The law firm of Lyons & Associates, P.C. in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey provides knowledgeable legal guidance on a variety of family law matters including divorce, child custody, domestic violence, same sex couples litigation, grandparents' rights, estate planning, and real estate law. The firm serves clients throughout the state of New Jersey, including those in Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Morris County, and Union County. Free consultations can be arranged by calling 908-575-9777 or by visiting the firm's website at http://www.lyonspc.com.

Gary Frisch
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