PRACTICE AREA

Princeton Area Family Law Lawyer

person signing divorce papers

Family legal matters often have immediate and far-reaching implications for everyone involved. The term “family law” covers a wide range of legal issues, including divorce, separation, support payments, property division, parental responsibility, adoption, and children’s rights.

The Princeton area family law attorneys at the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman provide skilled representation and experienced guidance to help our clients make fully informed decisions every step of the way. We are here to support you and help you achieve your goals.

Contact our firm today for a confidential case evaluation.

From our clients

Lydia

You are an incredible advocate.

You fought like hell and were ready to deal with thick and thin in a very conflicted environment.

You put in the hours and then some.

You truly care for your clients, and their well being.

You hung in there till the end and made sure every T was crossed and every condition was thoroughly thought through, considered, explained and documented.

You went the extra mile every step of the way personally, emotionally and professionally.

You were fair and reasonable in your billing.

Best of all, I came to respect and admire you.

TH

I would highly recommend Lydia to any family, friends, & co-workers. I would recommend Lydia is she’s tough as nails, she brings her A-game in service of her clients from beginning to end, and Lydia genuinely cares for the wellbeing of her clients and defends them with integrity, passion and honor alike.  Trust your Instincts, Ask plenty of Questions, If you want a reliable, and hard working, passionate lawyer look no further than Lydia Fabbro Keephart. You will not be disappointed.

TO

I have and will continue to recommend Lydia to whomever can benefit from the services she offers. She is an expert in her field, a true “ally” in every sense of the word.  She is empathetic, and no non-sense. Time is and always was of the essence as I am a very busy physician. Her efficiency and dedication to detail were and are priceless. To this day, some of the best money I’ve spent was retaining Lydia as my attorney. Lydia was always available. She responded to emails at random hours of the day/night and she was able to accommodate my unpredictable and dynamic schedule. I found comfort in knowing that Lydia was by the book. She has a high moral and standards code. No matter how difficult the situation; it’s always important to play by the rules. I really appreciate someone who embodies integrity. I am forever grateful to Lydia and her firm; they helped me transition through a very difficult time. I came out on the other side better, and stronger than ever.

AJ

In the matter of my painful divorce after decades of marriage, Lydia not only looked out for my legal interests in a fierce, dedicated way, but she helped teach me the life lessons I need to survive as a strong, happy divorcee.  I will never forget her and I recommend her to anyone who needs to fight for their rights and life after the shock of having your foundation crumble.  You can move on with joy when you have good counsel.

CP

As an international client I thoroughly researched matrimonial attorneys prior to choosing John Hartmann at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman. Mr. Hartmann is excellent in judging matters beforehand and a Master in following through. The firm exceeded my expectations in handling my divorce and post judgement actions, which took place in New Jersey. I would recommend them without hesitation.

AW

I found John Hartmann, Esq. and the law firm of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman to be extremely professional and well organized. Their knowledge of the landscape of the divorce process was truly impressive. John and his team listen intently, understand the situation and offer practical counsel.

JM

When my wife shocked me with papers for a divorce, I checked with colleagues and learned that I could never find better representation than John Hartmann and his team of family lawyers. My Ex spent far more money on her lawyer than I did and got nothing more than John told me to offer on day one! I can say unequivocally that the bill I received from Pellettieri was the best money I have spent in my life and I would have gladly paid double for the results I got. John and his legal team were there for me every step of the way on a true emotional roller coaster. His reputation as the toughest, most brilliant divorce lawyer on the scene today is well earned and fully matched by his younger partners, associates, and paralegals. The Pellettieri team is second to none!

MD

Mr. Hartmann is a thorough professional with decades of experience. I just had to explain what my expectations were, and Hartmann was able to put together detailed paperwork and backed it with relevant legal references and presented the case in an irrefutable manner. Hartmann’s staff was very diligent in following up every step of the way. Overall, my experience with the Hartmann’s team was very positive and promising. I have recommended Hartmann to several of my friends over the years and would definitely recommend him to friends and family in future.

SB

I was represented by John Hartmann and Nicole Huckerby in a divorce case in which my husband believed I should pay him support even though he closed a successful company and decided he no longer wanted to work. The matter was settled with a favorable outcome for me which my husband then appealed. Not only was my PRA team successful in the trial Court but was also successful in the appeal. PRA is dedicated to obtaining the best result for their clients and as a result I have recommended many friends and colleagues to PRA.

MD

Our Princeton Area Family Law Attorneys Are Ready to Help You

rope about to break

Since 1929, the family law attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman have represented individuals and families in the Princeton area and statewide. For nearly a century, our firm has earned a reputation for effective, sensitive, and responsive legal services.

Our team recognizes that every family law case is unique. Many cases can be resolved without ever setting foot in a courtroom, while others may need to establish a litigation posture to enable reaching an appropriate outcome. Regardless of the circumstances, it is our job to support you through each stage of the process, helping you define your goals and develop a clear strategy to achieve them.

Over the decades, our Princeton area family law attorneys have handled thousands of matrimonial cases and helped countless families navigate some of life’s most heart-wrenching challenges. Our insightful and compassionate approach ensures our clients feel heard and remain in control at each stage of the process. As a result, the vast majority of our clients find us through personal referrals from friends, family members, and loved ones.

heart jigsaw puzzle

Our firm is large enough to devote considerable legal and financial resources to all types of cases, yet it has the ability to provide personalized representation for each and every client. We have extensive experience handling family law matters for high-net-worth individuals, as well as complex cases involving business owners, professionals and individuals with complicated finances. In short, the family law team at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman is prepared to fight for your best interests, and we know how to get results.

Our Princeton area family law attorneys focus on litigating cases in Central New Jersey counties, including Mercer, Burlington, Middlesex, Somerset, Monmouth, and Hunterdon. We know the judges and know the opposing counsel. We employ family law attorneys who clerked for family law judges. All family law judges have their own approaches. Knowing what to expect from a particular judge is vital for success. In the counties where we practice, we know, based upon years of experience before the particular judge, what outcome can likely be expected from that judge on issues of custody and parenting time, child support, alimony, division of marital assets, and the client’s responsibility for payment of counsel fees, expert fees, and other costs. That is a very valuable tool to help our clients make informed and educated decisions from the beginning to the end of a case.

Types of Family Law Matters Our Law Firm Handles

Our dedicated attorneys represent Princeton area clients in a wide range of family law matters, including:

Divorce

Unless it is an uncontested divorce case with no dependents and few assets, chances are you are better off working with a qualified Princeton area divorce attorney to assist you with dissolving your marriage. Your lawyer will understand the nuances of statutory divorce law and relevant case law, as well as the particulars of the local court system, so they can help you get things right the first time.

Child Custody

The top priority in any child custody case is the best interests of the child or children involved. When these cases end up in court, they are among the most contentious and emotional matters we handle. Our attorneys can help you reach the custody arrangement that works best for your family and handle disputes with skill and compassion. If your custody matter needs to be litigated, we will recommend the appropriate experts to be retained to ease the process.

Parenting Time

Visitation or “parenting time” is another common issue in divorce cases involving spouses with minor children. Our Princeton area family law attorneys are dedicated to protecting each child’s best interests and your rights as a parent to participate in your children’s lives. We are prepared to take legal action on your behalf when necessary.

Child Support

New Jersey courts are guided by the principle that children are entitled to financial support from both parents. However, there are many vital considerations and exceptions when calculating child support payments. The attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman are prepared to help you protect your finances and fight for the best interests of your kids.

Alimony

If there is unequal earning power between spouses, the courts will often make an award of alimony taking into consideration many factors including the standard of living. Temporary support is generally available prior to final resolution. Whether your ex is demanding payments, or you are seeking support yourself, our Princeton area family law attorneys can help protect your rights.

Equitable Distributions

In simple and complex cases the division of marital assets must be accomplished. Our attorneys are trained and knowledgeable in this area and will suggest the right professionals if needed for valuation purposes.

Property Settlement Agreements

Property division is one of the most critical considerations in most New Jersey divorce and separation cases. We can help you develop a comprehensive negotiated agreement that addresses the specifics like marital assets and debts, alimony payments, child custody, and child support payments.

Annulment

An annulment is different from a divorce judgement. An annulment effectively declares that a valid marriage never took place. To obtain an annulment in New Jersey, you will need help from a family law attorney to prove that the marriage was void due to bigamy, incest, fraud, or other legally cognizable reasons.

Domestic Violence

Any person of any gender or income level can suffer from domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, the team at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can help you seek a restraining order to keep you safe or press criminal charges to hold the aggressor accountable.

Child Relocation Issues

If you wish to move your child out of state after divorce, you will need to consider existing child custody or support orders. You will need help from a legal professional who can guide you through the process.

Paternity Issues

Establishing paternity is an essential part of ensuring fathers have parenting rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. Our attorneys will help you address important paternity issues such as child support, child custody, and parenting time.

Prenuptial Agreements

Many couples choose to create prenuptial agreements or “prenups” before marriage. These legal arrangements are designed to protect each spouse’s financial independence and property rights in the event of a divorce. Importantly, a family law judge can nullify a prenup if it is unfair or does not meet specific legal requirements. Our Princeton area family law attorneys can help you craft a sound, error-free prenup that meets your needs.

Post-Judgment Enforcement and Modification

If you need to have the court change or enforce an order or judgment related to divorce, support, or custody, your attorney will file a motion seeking relief. Some common examples of post-judgment enforcement and modification applications include altering support payments, relocating children, or reimbursement for expenses.

Mediation

When separating partners or parents cannot reach agreement about support, custody, or other important issues, for some the right course is an alternative to the court system known as mediation. Our experienced mediators, including one trained at Harvard, are available to work with you to assist in settling disputes and developing practical solutions without the need for costly and time-consuming court intervention.

Same-Sex Marriages

In 2013, New Jersey approved legislation guaranteeing same-sex couples the legal right to marry. Despite the progress made in this area of the law, same-sex spouses continue to face unique family law issues, especially concerning child custody and parenting rights. Our experienced Princeton area family law attorneys are here to help you navigate through these difficult and heart wrenching issues.

Civil Unions

A civil union is legally equivalent to a marriage under New Jersey law. However, the same cannot be said for federal law. If you and your partner are joined together in a civil union, you could face legal issues if either of you travels, lives, or works in another state. Our team understands these challenges and is prepared to provide practical and effective legal solutions.

Domestic Partnerships

Many same-sex couples formally registered as domestic partners before New Jersey recognized same-sex civil unions in 2007. Today, domestic partners can choose to either continue living as domestic partners or enter into a civil union. However, the dates marking the beginning of the domestic partnership vs. the civil union can have significant legal consequences for asset division and support later on. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you find an arrangement that works best for you.

Appeals

You have the right to appeal any final order or judgment from a family law court within 45 days of the decision. Remember that just because you can file an appeal does not mean you will successfully overturn a court decision. Appellate practice is a very specialized area with a unique set of procedural and legal rules. Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman family law attorneys all are experienced in and knowledgeable about appellate practice. They will initially help you evaluate your chances of success on appeal and, if you decide to pursue appeal, our attorneys are skilled at appellate brief writing and oral argument. We are also proficient at defending a trial level order or judgement in the appellate court when your adversary appeals.

Considerations When Choosing a Princeton Area Family Lawyer

divorce broken home keys

When you consult with a family lawyer, you have specific and immediate concerns that are important to you and your family, such as financial issues, child custody, parenting time, and planning for the future. It is vital to choose the right attorney.

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our Princeton area family law attorneys are all trial lawyers. Not all family law attorneys regularly try cases. Some clients have hired us as new counsel when their previous attorney would not try their cases. In family law matters, adversaries know whether an opposing attorney will eventually cave in to avoid trying a case, which is a weakness that impacts outcomes. Clients can obtain the best result in a settlement when they are represented by an attorney who is capable of going to trial if necessary. The capability to try cases in court allows us to successfully settle about 98% of cases outside of court.

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Published Opinions

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Attorneys Dedicated to High Net Worth & Complex Divorces

95%+

Cases Settled Directly or Through Mediation

The Family Law department has handled thousands of cases . Our attorneys demonstrate an intelligent, insightful and caring approach toward our clients during these emotional times when family disputes evolve into family crises, striking a strong balance between litigation and negotiation. 

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When you work with the lawyer who’s right for you, you’re far more likely to achieve a favorable resolution that withstands the test of time. If you are not sure where to start, consider the following factors as you make your family law attorney selection:

Experience

Keep in mind that not all attorneys have the right skills or experience to handle complex family matters. Find an attorney whose primary focus and expertise are in family law. Hiring an attorney without significant family law practice under his or her belt will put you at a significant disadvantage. A lawyer with detailed knowledge of New Jersey family law and extensive experience in the local family law court system will likely be an asset to you.

Availability

Ask about your prospective lawyer’s caseload and the amount of time he or she will have to devote to your case. Inquire about your attorney’s accessibility to answer questions or address your concerns in a timely manner.

Candor

The best lawyer in any situation is one who will tell their clients what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. You want a lawyer who will evaluate your case frankly and candidly, so you have an accurate and realistic idea of what to expect.

Results

An attorney’s record of success in court is another critical factor to consider because if negotiation and settlement fail, litigation is a possibility. Therefore, ask about the prospective lawyer’s experience in court and the results they have achieved for their clients.

Rapport

You should feel comfortable with your attorney and feel you communicate openly and effectively with each other. The match has to feel right to you. An attorney who is right for your friend may not be right for you.

wooden seesaw parents child

During your consultation with the Princeton area family law attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we will:

  • Meet with you in person or on Zoom
  • Review all the documents relevant to your case
  • Complete an analysis based on the facts you present
  • Explain what is likely to happen if the matter goes to trial, given the existing state of the law regarding issues such as custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, division of assets, the client’s responsibility for counsel fees, expert fees, and other costs
  • Explain the procedural steps once the case is in the court system
  • Provide you with practical measures to implement while the matter is pending to safeguard your interests as the divorce action proceeds – for example, financial protective measures, measures to implement for issues concerning children, significant documents you will need, and protecting your personal property
  • Present alternative dispute resolution options and the pros and cons of each

Tips to Prepare for Your First Meeting with a Princeton Area Family Law Attorney

couple with child

You can maximize the time you have with the attorney at the first consultation by doing the following:

  • Bring pertinent documents such as prenuptial agreements, any existing family court orders or judgements, and paternity test results.
  • Identify your primary and secondary goals. In other words, write down what you want as your outcome and the next best thing.
  • Write down any questions you have for the lawyer. It can be difficult to remember what you want to ask when you are absorbing so much information. A list of essential questions is a helpful way of keeping your concerns organized.

Published Family Law Decisions in Cases We Handled

The Chairman of our firm’s Family Law Department, John A. Hartmann, III, has decades of experience litigating complex family law cases throughout New Jersey. Mr. Hartmann has supervised litigation and personally served as a trial attorney in many landmark cases statewide, including:

Supreme Court Cases
  • Fazilat v. Feldstein, 180 N.J. 74
  • Negrotti v. Negrotti, 98 N.J. 428
  • Cooper v. Cooper, 99 N.J. 42
Appellate Division Cases
  • J.E.V. v. K.V., 426 N.J. Super 475 (App. Div.)
  • Platt v. Platt, 384 N.J. Super 418 (App. Div.)
  • Mann v. Mann, 270 N.J. Super 269 (App. Div.)
  • Rampolla v. Rampolla, 269 N.J. 300 (App. Div.)
  • Orgler v. Orgler, 237 N.J. Super 342 (App. Div.)
  • Chiaccio v. Chiaccio, 198 N.J. Super 1 (App. Div.)
  • Mey v. Mey, 149 N.J. Super 188 (App. Div.), aff’d 79 N.J. 121
  • Skillman v. Skillman, 136 N. J. Super 348 (App. Div.)
Chancery Division Cases
  • Roberts v. Roberts, 2006 WL3026301 (N.J. Super Ch. Div.)
  • Borchert v. Borchert, 361 N.J. Super. 175 (Ch. Div.)
  • Salerno v. Salerno, 241 N.J. Super 536 (Ch. Div.)
  • Davis v. Davis, 182 N.J. Super 397 (Ch. Div.)
  • Hann v. Hann, 175 N.J. Super 608 (Ch. Div.)

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Get in Touch with Our Princeton Area Family Law Attorneys Now

Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman has one of the largest Family Law Departments in central New Jersey. We understand that each case is unique, and we pride ourselves on providing insightful representation and compassion and respect to every client we work with.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation to find out why so many others in our community have turned to us in their time of need.

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