New Jersey LGBTQ Family Lawyer

gay couple smiling with child in bed

Dealing with legal family matters is rarely easy, particularly for individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Historically, family laws were largely based on the assumption that families consist exclusively of heterosexual couples and their children in common. Legislation reflecting other possibilities has only emerged in relatively recent years.

The attorneys of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman are staunch LGBTQ allies and stand prepared to help your family navigate any legal issues you face. No matter your family situation, we’re here to guide you to the best possible solutions. Contact our firm to discuss your case in a confidential consultation session to find out how we can help you secure a better future for you and your family.

Choosing the Right New Jersey LGBTQ Attorney

Choosing the right attorney is essential to any legal case and is especially vital for LGBTQ families. Despite significant advances in cultural acceptance and legal rights, LGBTQ persons still face widespread discrimination and unique issues that do not apply to most straight individuals.

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our down-to-earth family lawyers are sensitive to the needs of our LGBTQ clients and eager to help. When you retain our services, you can count on us to provide honest and compassionate representation and look out for your family’s best interests.

Same-Sex Divorce and Dissolutions of Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships

LGBTQ law pride flag with rings and gavel

In New Jersey, the process for obtaining a same-sex divorce or dissolution is the same as ending a traditional heterosexual marriage. Either party can file for dissolution on a no-fault or at-fault basis. However, same-sex dissolution cases may have unique considerations regarding both property division and support payments.

When courts determine how to divide property in a New Jersey divorce case, one of the top concerns is whether the property in question is marital or individual. If you own an asset before marriage, it usually stays your individual property. But any property you and your partner acquire during marriage is marital property, subject to New Jersey’s equitable division laws.

Separating marital property from individual property is often tricky for divorcing married LGBTQ partners because it is difficult to pin down the duration of a same-sex marriage, union, or partnership that began before legislators chose to recognize the relationship’s validity.

The duration of a legally valid, same-sex marriage is also an important factor in determining spousal support or alimony in an LGBTQ divorce case. Judges consider many elements, including the length of the relationship, before they issue alimony orders, so it is often difficult for same-sex divorcé(e)s to obtain full and fair support. Our family lawyers serving the Princeton area and statewide can help you identify and present sound evidence as proof of the duration of your relationship in a same-sex dissolution case.

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.


Child Custody and Support Issues for LGBTQ Parents in New Jersey

happy lesbian couple with child

Whether separating parents were a same-sex or straight couple, the priority in any child custody or support determinations is always the child’s best interests. However, LGBTQ parents often have unique complications to consider in their child custody and support cases because typically neither or only one partner is a biological parent.

If a same-sex partner is a non-biological parent to their child but has not formally sought adoption or a parentage judgment, the court usually cannot order them to make child support payments. And unmarried, non-biological parents often have no legal right to demand custody or visitation, even when written parenting agreements exist.

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our lawyers can help you update or verify the legal status of your family members so your child’s best interests stay front and center.

Prenuptial Agreements and Other Issues for LGBTQ Couples Getting Married

lesbian couple getting married

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, but countless LGTBQ relationships started long before then. Additionally, due to persistent socio-cultural discrimination, younger LGBTQ partners frequently marry later in life than straight partners.

Many LGBTQ partners lived together and accumulated many assets before our legal system officially recognized their relationships, meaning prenuptial agreements are vital for many LGBTQ couples. A prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is a pre-marital legal agreement in which prospective spouses outline how they will handle certain assets and debts in the event of a separation.

Prenups can substantially reduce the possible tension for divorcing LGBTQ couples since property division is a common sticking point in same-sex dissolution cases. However, working up the courage to discuss a prenup with your partner is often daunting. An attorney can help you and your partner approach the topic of prenuptial agreements in a sensitive, effective way.

LGBTQ Adoption and Surrogacy Matters

In 1997, New Jersey became the first state to permit same-sex couples to adopt jointly on the same basis as married straight couples. Some LGBTQ partners adopt to start families, while others obtain second-parent or stepparent adoptions, in which one partner files a petition to adopt the other partner’s legal child or children.

Surrogacy is an option frequently selected by LGBTQ couples. Most surrogate LGBTQ pregnancies occur through donations, gestational carrying, and in vitro fertilization (IVF), which are often costly procedures. Issues like who will have a biological relationship with the child and who will serve as a donor or surrogate are considerations for LGBTQ couples.

Name Changes and Gender Changes on Birth Certificates and Other Documents

happy gay couple

When transgender individuals begin their transitions, choosing a new name is one of the process’s most important and life-affirming aspects. However, preparing for a legal name change and then legally executing it in court is often challenging. Working with a knowledgeable family law attorney is best whenever you seek a legal name change.

Changing the gender markers on birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and other official documents is another crucial component of many transitions. Both procedures are time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to have a trusted lawyer handle the legal aspects of your transition.


Published Opinions


Attorneys Dedicated to High Net Worth & Complex Divorces


Cases Settled Directly or Through Mediation

Knowing what to expect from a particular family law judge is vital. In counties in which we frequently practice, we can reasonably anticipate, based upon years of experience before a specific judge, what outcome can likely be expected on important issues such as custody and parenting time, child support, alimony and division of marital assets. 


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Talk to a New Jersey LGBTQ Family Lawyer Today

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our LGBTQ family lawyers serving the Princeton area and statewide are here to put our experience to work for you. We understand that each case is unique, and we pride ourselves on providing insightful representation, compassion, and respect to every client we work with.

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