Yearly Archive2018


Tarnelli Becomes Partner

MURDOCH HUGHES & TWAROG Attorneys at Law, P.C., is pleased to announce that Michelle A. Tarnelli became a partner with the firm on January 1, 2018.

Ms. Tarnelli concentrates in the areas of adoption law, assisted reproductive technology (ART) law, and family law. Ms. Tarnelli’s adoption practice includes interstate adoptions, relative adoptions, stepparent adoptions, and contested termination of parental rights proceedings in Vermont probate courts. She represents clients in ART matters including gestational carrier agreements, gamete donor contracts, embryo donation agreements, and birth certificate amendments. Her family law practice includes divorce, parentage, non-resident civil union dissolution, and family court appeals.

Ms. Tarnelli graduated cum laude from Fordham University and magna cum laude from Vermont Law School. Her law review note, Joint Custody Presumption in Vermont: A Proposal for Co-Parenting, 36 Vt. L. R. 1015 (2012) was published in the Vermont Law Review. She has been with the firm since 2011, first as an intern and law clerk, and then became an associate in 2012 upon her admission to the Vermont Bar.


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Kurt M. Hughes Has Been Recognized Among the Top in his Industry by Noticed


BURLINGTON, Vt. – March 20, 2018 – (
Kurt M. Hughes, Attorney at Law, Murdoch Hughes & Twarog, has joined Noticed, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. Hughes has been chosen as a Distinguished Lawyer based on peer reviews and ratings, dozens of recognitions, and accomplishments achieved throughout his career.
Hughes outshines others in his field due to his extensive educational background, numerous awards and recognitions, and career longevity. A native of Long Branch, New Jersey, Hughes earned his Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School in 1984 and joined Murdoch Hughes & Twarog in 1988 after working as a prosecutor in the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office.
With over 25 years dedicated to law, Hughes brings a wealth of knowledge to his industry, and, in particular, to his area of specialization, family law. When asked why he decided to pursue a career in law, Hughes said:
“From an early age, I recognized that our legal system was the very foundation of civilized society. Without lawsand the people that write, enforce, and interpret themthe country could not exist. I wanted to be a part of that system, to help maintain it and make it stronger.”
Since beginning with the firm, he has practiced in a broad range of legal matters that span state and federal criminal defense, plaintiff’s personal injury, family law, divorce, adoption law, and assisted reproductive technology (ART). Today, Hughes primarily focuses on the areas of family, adoption, and ART law.
Throughout his career, Hughes has distinguished himself as a preeminent attorney in his niche area of family law. He was one of the first Vermont lawyers to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) and the first to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA), both of which are invitation-only national associations. Recently, Hughes launched Vermont’s first local surrogacy matching organization, the Vermont Surrogacy Network.
As a thought leader in his field, Hughes is not only a skillful and compassionate advocate for his clients, he is also an integral figure in helping the state draft policy related to adoption and ART law. In particular, he notes:
“I was on the study committee that helped to write Vermont’s new parentage act, which is now before the Vermont Senate after having passed the House 148 – 1. It will be the first revision to Vermont’s parentage laws in more than 30 years, and includes the creation of a “de facto” path to parentage, new provisions for genetic testing, and chapters on gamete donation and surrogacy.”
Hughes was selected by his peers for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers in the area of family law in 2017 and was recognized by Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy as an Angel in Adoption at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) in 2015. In 2014, Hughes was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers after an exhaustive vetting process that limits membership to the top 1% of lawyers in each state.
For more information, visit Hughes’ profile on the Noticed website here:

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Frank Twarog: A steady hand at Hinesburg town meeting

Frank Twarog, a partner with MURDOCH HUGHES & TWAROG, Attorneys at Law, P.C. was recently featured in the March 1, 2018 edition of “The Citizen” a local newspaper serving the towns of Charlotte and Hinesburg, Vermont for his role as Town Moderator in Hinesburg. See the full article at the link below:

Frank Twarog: A steady hand at Hinesburg town meeting

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Hughes Helps Author Vermont’s New Parentage Act – H.562

Kurt M. Hughes, a partner with MURDOCH HUGHES & TWAROG Attorneys at Law, P.C., and a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, was recently a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition, and has been testifying before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding Vermont’s new parentage act, H.562 (now pending before the senate after passing the house 148 – 1) which he helped to author.

This legislation is a giant step forward for Vermont, responding to the changing landscape of family formation in the State today, and providing solutions for many of the problems that have repeatedly faced our family courts, the history of which have been reported in Vermont Supreme Court opinions over the last twenty years, including the notorious Miller-Jenkins case, and most recently the case of Sinnot v. Peck . The legislation will also bring Vermont into harmony with recently passed legislation in Maine and New Hampshire, while Massachusetts is hard at work on a similar bill.

For the first time, Vermonters who grow their families through assisted reproductive technologies will have a simple procedure to establish legal parentage of children born through sperm and egg donation and gestational surrogacy. The all-important parentage orders made available under Chapters 7 and 8 this bill will provide much needed legal stability for children born through assisted fertility procedures from the moment of birth.

This bill utilizes the best parts of the Maine Parentage Act, and the newly minted 2017 Uniform Parentage Act as its foundation. It was customized for Vermont’s needs by leading practitioners in the Vermont legal and medical communities who have had decades of experience in the field. Vermont’s parentage laws, were last updated more than thirty years ago.

This new legislation gives added legal security to so-called de facto parents, assisted fertility and surrogacy clients. Kurt also concentrates in the Family Law, Adoption Law and Assisted Reproductive Technology. He is the co-owner of Vermont Surrogacy Network, which matches gestational carriers with intended parents in the U.S. and internationally.

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Twarog to Receive 2018 Pro Bono Award

Frank Twarog, a partner with MURDOCH HUGHES & TWAROG Attorneys at Law, P.C., will receive the 2018 Pro Bono Service Award at the VBA’s Mid-Year meeting on March 23, 2018.

Frank was nominated by Kim Jordan, a legal advocate at Steps to End Domestic Violence, for his volunteer work with survivors of domestic violence.  Ms. Jordan wrote “Frank’s legal representation has made a world of difference in helping domestic violence survivors feel safe, heard, and on their way to an independent, sustainable life for them and their children.”

Throughout his career, Frank has dedicated a substantial portion of his practice to providing pro bono and volunteer services for indigent clients in the community.  As a Guardian ad Litem, an attorney for children, and an advocate for the homeless, Frank regularly appears on behalf of those who often feel that they do not have a voice in the legal system.

Over the past two decades, Frank has volunteered hundreds of hours to the Town of Hinesburg, serving as Town Moderator, Town Agent, Peck Estate Trustee, Chair of the Recreation Commission, and founder and past-Chair of the Trails Committee.  He regularly volunteers at the Hinesburg Community School, serving as a member of PIE (Partnership in Education) and as a coach to a variety of educational and sports teams.

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