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This Is Us with Matthew Coleman, Brendan Sullivan

September 14, 2022 | by Patricia M. Barbarito, Matthew Coleman

Family values are a top topic in the U.S. media and its electoral campaigns, but have you ever wondered about the very real people behind those headlines? Host Pat Barbarito invites Matthew Coleman and Brendan Sullivan to share the story of how their family came to be – from young Irish Catholic boys trying to stay out of trouble in New Jersey and Rhode Island, to graduate students navigating the New York dating scene (and proposal demands!), to prospective parents determined to ensure a big, bright future for their son.

Learn how the laws that govern America’s relationship with marriage, parenthood, race, sexual orientation, religion, and even individuality affect the everyday lives of two Americans and the family they hope to grow.


Conversation highlights include:

  • The importance of acknowledging the presence of fear in individual and societal development, and why it’s very likely that today ISN’T the end of the world;
  • How your familial past can influence in your future, but doesn’t necessarily dictate the terms of your happiness;
  • The surprising insight from Brendan’s mother that offered fresh perspective on impending parenthood;
  • The practical benefits of marriage and how New Jersey’s civil union status for same sex couples falls short in offering the same protections;
  • The reality of parenting a black child in modern-day America and the inner work required before adopting a child of a different race; and more.

BONUS: Matthew explains how defeating the Defense of Marriage Act – and the ensuing confusion in New Jersey about the benefits of marriage vs. civil union – was a driving force behind choosing family law as a career path.

About Heartbreak & Hope

Heartbreak and Hope PodcastCo-managing partner and divorce lawyer Pat Barbarito thought she knew all about complex relationships and the laws that govern them – until her own marriage of 17 years ended and she determined to get to the heart of love, marriage, and human connection. Her journey spanned the entire scope of relationships – from the science of attraction to the financial impact of separation, to old myths that society still touts as true to new laws that outline how to navigate both uniting and uncoupling.

Heartbreak & Hope with Pat Barbarito offers insights, anecdotes, and guidance from a variety of experts and includes her own perspective on how best to thrive through any stage of relationship building.



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