In New Hampshire, as in other States, parties wishing to be divorced need to obtain approval from the Court. Courts issue a Decree of Divorce which is a formal Court Order for divorce. As part of divorce proceedings, the Court also issues others Orders which, if applicable, may include a Final Decree, Uniform Support Order, Qualified Domestic Relations Order and a Final Parenting Plan.
All of these different terms can be very confusing, as so many of them sound similar. Each of them has a critical role to the divorce, and it is important to have an attorney who will explain them fully and not leave you with any questions.
The Decree of Divorce is typically a one page document which includes, among other things, the name of the Court issuing the Decree, the names of the parties, the reason for divorce, whether the divorce was resolve by agreement of the parties or after a trial, and the date the divorce occurred.
The Decree of Divorce is a very important document, and until it is issued the parties are still married and the divorce is not complete. In short, a Decree of Divorce is the final ruling and formal Order by the Court terminating the marriage.
The Decree of Divorce should not be confused with a Final Decree. A Final Decree is a Court Order which typically is issued at the same time as the Decree of Divorce. However, the Final Decree is a much more detailed Court Order which addresses the division of the party’s assets and debts, alimony, health insurance, and life insurance. Every Final Decree is different and is tailored by the Court to address the specific assets, debts and other needs of the parties. Just like the Decree of Divorce, the Final Decree also includes the name of the Court issuing the Decree, the names of the parties, and whether the Final Decree was reached by agreement of the parties or after a trial.
In New Hampshire, issues involving children and the parenting schedule are addressed in a separate Court Order called a final Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan identifies the children, makes orders for decision making for the children, and makes orders for residential responsibility among other orders related to the children’s needs. In essence the Parenting Plan is a Court Order that sets forth which parent (often both) will make decisions for the children, where the children will live and attend school, and when the children will be with each parent. Like a Final Decree, a Parenting Plan is tailored to the needs of each family.
Typically, the Final Decree is, as it name implies, a final Court Order and it is not modifiable. There are however limited exceptions. Issues regarding children and child support may be modifiable, even after a final Parenting Plan or orders for support are issued.
The Divorce process can be confusing and emotionally draining. If you are considering a divorce, or are confronted by your spouse for a divorce, contact the NH divorce lawyers at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. Our lawyers work with clients to help them strategize and achieve results. We provide prompt assistance and can be reached at 603.624.3700 or toll free at 1.888.511.1010.