What is the appropriate Court to file? And what is the Family Division?
The appropriate Court for filing for family law related matters is determined by the county in which one of the parties resides.
The State of New Hampshire has set up special Family Division Courts for family law related matters throughout each county. The Family Division model assigns cases, based upon which town you live in, to district courts for hearings. (click here for Family Division and County breakdown).
I just moved to New Hampshire, can I file for divorce?
There is a minimum residency requirement to file for divorce in New Hampshire. If you do not think your spouse will file for divorce in your former state of residency, or your spouse has also moved to another state, please contact Clark Law Offices at (603) 669-8700 to discuss where and when you can file.
I have a final divorce decree or support order from another state, can I enforce the Order or modify the terms of the Order in New Hampshire?
There are occasions when registering a foreign decree with the State of New Hampshire is appropriate. If a foreign decree is registered in NH, modification or enforcement may be possible. Please contact our family law attorneys at (603) 669-8700 to discuss your specific circumstances.
How many hearings will I have to attend?
The number of hearings in any case varies based on the issues involved. In general, there is a First Appearance (in Family Division cases if a child is involved) followed by a Temporary Hearing and Scheduling Conference, then a Pretrial Conference and a Final Hearing. If any motions are filed, such as for Contempt or to compel discovery, additional hearings may be scheduled by the Court. If there are parenting issues and a Guardian ad Litem is appointed, the Court will schedule a Status Conference usually after the Temporary Hearing but before a Pretrial Conference. Call Clark Law Offices at (603) 669-8700 today to discuss your specific situation.
What is the First Appearance? And do I have to attend?
In the Family Division, the Court schedules a mandatory First Appearance (if a child is involved) which is an informational session where the Judge or Marital Master speaks to all in attendance as a group. At this session, it is determined whether mediation should be scheduled.
When is alimony appropriate?
In general there is a two prong test to determine whether alimony may or may not be appropriate. The party seeking alimony has to show that there is a need for alimony and the party from whom alimony is sought has to have an ability to pay. In general alimony is to be "rehabilitative" in nature and is rarely awarded for an extended or permanent basis without good cause. There may be other considerations which need to be analyzed when discussing alimony. Call Clark Law Offices at (603)669-8700 today to discuss your specific situation.
I represented myself and the Court Order is not favorable for me, is it too late to get an attorney?
You have 10 days from the issuance of a Court Order to request reconsideration or clarification. If it is a Final Order, you have 30 days to file an appeal. It is always a good idea to get some legal advice before the deadlines to protect your interests. The ability of an attorney to make a difference after an order is issued is limited. Clark Law Offices encourages individuals to obtain legal advice to ask what your rights, options, and consequences may be before a hearing is held. Call us at (603) 669-8700 today.
When is Modification appropriate?
In general, modification can be sought for child support and other financial orders such as medical coverage, tax exemptions, and uninsured expenses for children. Modification of child support can occur every three years, or earlier upon showing a substantial change in circumstances such as increase or decrease in income, loss of job, illness, or change in financial needs of ex-spouse or child.
Modification of alimony may also be appropriate under certain change of circumstances and/or upon the remarriage or co-habitation, if specified in your prior orders. There is a limited time for modification to obtain and/or extend orders regarding alimony.
There is also a statutory basis for modification of parenting orders.
Final property division is not modifiable in most circumstances; however it may be worth getting a professional opinion before foregoing modification.
For modification on any family law related matter, call Clark Law Offices today at (603) 669-8700.
My spouse and I have agreed to a divorce, should I move out?
It depends. If you move out, will your spouse be able to afford the house without your financial support? If not, would you be able to afford your own housing plus contribute to the house, or pay spousal support, if ordered by the Court? If you move out, will you be staying in the same town as your spouse and children? If not, will you be risking a shared parenting arrangement due to the lack of proximity to the other parent? Please contact our family law attorneys at (603) 669-8700 before making such a significant decision. Of course if there are issues of domestic violence, get legal advice as soon as possible but do not risk your life or the lives or your children if it's a volatile situation.
I don't want a divorce; can I refuse to allow it?
In New Hampshire, the Court will grant a divorce even if the other party does not want it. Even if you do not want a divorce, it is not advisable to fail to participate. If you fail to file an Answer to the Petition, fail to appear at hearings and/or fail to comply with discovery requests, you could be defaulted and your spouse could be issued a default divorce with all of his/her proposed orders which may lead to an unequal division of assets or debt allocation, payment of spousal support or unfair child support or other orders which would not be in your best interests. Call us at (603) 669-8700 today.