New Jersey Domestic Violence Victim Lawyer

woman holding help sign

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, we want to help you escape an unsafe situation and start rebuilding your life.

We are deeply familiar with the legal protections New Jersey law affords survivors of domestic abuse. Our domestic violence victim lawyers serving the Princeton area and statewide stand ready to use this knowledge in combination with our substantial resources to protect you and your loved ones. Contact us for a completely confidential consultation to learn more about your legal options and how our firm can help you pursue them.

Our New Jersey Attorneys Help Survivors of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is wrong under any circumstances. At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our attorneys are proud to stand up against it. Since 1929, our firm has worked relentlessly to defend the rights of people in the Princeton area and across New Jersey. Let us put nearly a century of experience to work on your behalf.

Helping domestic violence survivors is among the most important work our firm does, and we do not take our responsibility lightly. We take a personalized approach to every case we handle, and you can count on us to do whatever it takes to pursue the favorable outcome you deserve.

New Jersey Laws to Protect People Experiencing Domestic Violence

person clenching fist at partner

Domestic violence is violence or abuse committed against a current or former intimate partner or member of the same household. It can involve actual or threatened abuse, possibly including physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse. New Jersey defines and prohibits domestic violence in its Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA).

Domestic violence and abuse are tragically common in intimate relationships. While women are the most frequent victims, men are sometimes the targets of abuse, too. Importantly, the PDVA explicitly protects individuals of any gender. The key factor linking all domestic violence cases is the relationship between the parties involved.

An act of abuse is considered domestic violence if:

  • The victim is 18 or older or an emancipated minor and suffers abuse from a spouse, ex-spouse, or any current or former member of the same household.
  • A victim of any age, sex, or condition suffers abuse from someone with whom they have or anticipate having a child in common.
  • A victim of any age, sex, or condition suffers abuse from someone with whom they have a current or former dating relationship.

In other words, domestic violence cases involve people who are current or former family members, members of the same household, or intimate partners. The PDVA specifies that domestic violence occurs when a current or former intimate partner, family member, or household member commits one or more of the following criminal offenses:

  • Criminal sexual contact, sexual assault, or lewdness
  • Terroristic threats or contempt
  • Robbery, burglary, assault, or homicide
  • Stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment
  • Criminal mischief, trespass, restraint, or coercion
  • Harassment or cyber-harassment
  • Any other crime involving a risk of death or severe bodily injury

From our clients


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


Addressing Domestic Violence Through the New Jersey Court Systems

person crying against wall

The PDVA gives the abuse victims the ability to seek relief through the New Jersey Family Court system.

When you file a complaint, you are effectively asking the court to protect you from further abuse. If you are successful, the court will grant a restraining order to bar your abuser from contacting you, possessing a weapon, entering your residence, or visiting children in common. You can also seek modifications to existing custody or support orders. You can separately file a personal injury lawsuit to recover money damages for things like medical bills and pain and suffering caused by the abuse.

Examples of Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is usually a pattern of abusive behaviors, such as assault, intimidation, and isolation that occur over long periods and increase in frequency and severity over time. Any behavior that a person uses to control or intimidate someone else verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually satisfies the legal definition of abuse.

Common examples of abusive behaviors in domestic violence cases include:

  • Physical abuse – Physically abusive behaviors include shoving, shaking, slapping, punching, kicking, hair-pulling, strangling, scratching, biting, restraining, using weapons, and throwing objects.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotionally abusive behaviors include threatening, name-calling, stalking, isolating the victim from others, sleep deprivation, interrogation, property destruction, and harming pets or other people in the household.
  • Sexual abuse – A sexually abusive behavior is any non-consensual sexual act, such as forced sex, unwanted touching, degradation, and sexual violence.


Published Opinions


Attorneys Dedicated to High Net Worth & Complex Divorces


Cases Settled Directly or Through Mediation

The Family Law department aggressively represents the individual needs of each client. It is our job to assist you in defining your goals and objectives and then formulate and carry out a strategy to make them happen. 


Let’s Get in Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Seek Help as a Survivor of Domestic Violence

woman covering her childs ear

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, several programs exist to help people in your position. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-7233 to discuss your situation with someone confidentially.

If you believe you could be at risk when separating or moving away from an abusive individual, you can ask a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Domestic Violence Hearing Officer, or Municipal Court Judge for a temporary restraining order (TRO). Courts typically grant TROs when emergency situations exist that otherwise might leave the applicant vulnerable to harm.

If a court grants a TRO in your situation, the judge will usually schedule a hearing within 10 days of the TRO going into effect. During this hearing, you and your abuser will each have an opportunity to present evidence and testimony to the judge. After the judge considers both sides, they can issue a final restraining order (FRO), which remains in effect permanently.

Moving on from a domestic violence situation is complicated and emotionally taxing, even without having to worry about the legal aspects. Let the attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman handle these particulars while you focus on rebuilding your life.

The Role of Domestic Violence in Other Family Law Matters

upset child with fighting parents

Domestic violence has far-reaching effects on family law cases. Domestic violence often plays a role in other legal matters, such as:

  • Divorce – Domestic violence can lead to fault-based divorce in New Jersey, where extreme cruelty is one of several grounds for an at-fault dissolution. However, judges do not consider fault when issuing property division or alimony/spousal support orders in divorce, but they do consider it when issuing child custody orders, especially parenting time.
  • Child custody – The primary concern in any child custody case is the child’s best interests, and living in a violent home undoubtedly goes against any child’s best interests. As such, judges must consider a person’s history of domestic violence in a custody decision and typically eliminate or severely limit custody for abusive parents.
  • Child support – New Jersey parents are legally responsible for providing financial support to their children, regardless of whether they live together or have any sort of relationship with them. If a judge decides to remove a parent from the home due to domestic violence issues, that parent must still support their children financially.

Accusations of Domestic Violence in the Divorce Process

couple arguing at home

Domestic violence nearly always occurs in private, so it’s often difficult to prove in a court of law. An abuser might try to shield themselves from liability by claiming:

  • The harm you suffered was the result of an unintentional mistake of theirs.
  • They only harmed or intimidated you because they were acting in self-defense.
  • They were not present when the alleged harm occurred (they have an alibi).

Because many domestic violence cases ultimately come down to “he said, she said,” supporting your case with plenty of evidence is critical to an acceptable outcome. Our attorneys can help you identify and preserve compelling proof for your claims, such as:

  • Physical evidence like torn clothing
  • Photos of damaged items or visible injuries
  • Video or audio recordings of abusive incidents
  • Abusive communications, such as text messages, voicemails, or emails
  • Medical records of domestic violence injuries
  • Police testimony and arrest records from prior incidents
  • Testimony from family members or other witnesses

Reach Out to Our Domestic Violence Victim Lawyers Today

If you have experienced domestic violence or abuse in New Jersey, get legal help now. Contact the domestic violence victim attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman serving the Princeton area and across New Jersey to discuss the details of your case in a completely confidential consultation session.