Divorce in New Hampshire

Divorce in New Hampshire

When a marriage is no longer feasible, the couple may turn to separation. Eventually they may decide that the marriage has been damaged irreparably, and can no longer continue to work. If this happens, the couple will likely file for divorce. In New Hampshire, when a couple wants to file for divorce they must prove that their case for divorce rests upon certain grounds. These grounds can be used to determine if the divorce is a "fault" divorce or a "no-fault" divorce, and if the court will approve the divorce.

"Fault" Divorce

In a "fault" divorce scenario, typically one spouse has wronged the other in some way that cannot be rectified to save the marriage. Fault divorces have specific situations that must be met in order to be pursued. The following are considered New Hampshire's grounds for a fault-based divorce:

  • Impotency of either party.
  • Adultery of either party.
  • Extreme cruelty of either party to the other.
  • Conviction of either party, in any state or federal district, of a crime punishable with imprisonment for more than one year and actual imprisonment under such conviction.
  • When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason.
  • When either party has been absent 2 years together, and has not been heard of.
  • When either party is an habitual drunkard, and has been such for 2 years together.
  • When either party has joined any religious sect or society which professes to believe the relation of husband and wife unlawful, and has refused to cohabit with the other for 6 months together.
  • When either party, without sufficient cause, and without the consent of the other, has abandoned and refused, for 2 years together, to cohabit with the other.

"Fault" Divorce Process

Fault divorce is normally pursued when spouses are not agreeing with one another and the environment of the marriage is hostile. These are cases in which one of the spouses, in the eyes of the law, have been wronged and are seeking to terminate the marriage regardless of whether or not the other party believes that they have done anything wrong.

The Process

The process of filing for a fault-based divorce can be done without the "wrongful" spouse’s consent. The forms necessary to initiate this process can be found at the local courthouse or online. Because it does not require the other spouse to consent, the spouse doing the filing is required to show proof of the wrong-doing in order to start the divorce process. Although filing for a fault divorce can be done whether or not the other party agrees, the struggle will be bitter and lengthy. This process also may lead to a fault-based cross petition for divorce being filed by the other party. Before making the decision to file a fault-based divorce, it is best to consult with an attorney. An attorney will know the best way to gather evidence, help mitigate the stress, and to defend your interests.

"No-Fault" Divorce

No-Fault divorce is commonly pursued when both spouses have agreed that the marriage cannot be reconciled, and no issues of fault will be considered in any court proceedings. No-fault divorce is sometimes referred to as an "Uncontested Divorce". This type of divorce can be filed simplest, quickest and easiest with a Joint Petition for Divorce. This can be done even if the spouses are not in complete agreement on every issue. If an agreement on all issues cannot be reached, the spouses must file a list of what has been agreed upon and what has not been agreed upon, and the court will be asked to make the ultimate decision for them. Again, because there is neither fault nor any legal grounds for wrong-doing in this type of divorce, the court will not make rulings based upon what transpired to end the marriage.

The Process

When spouses wish to file an uncontested divorce, they will have to prepare all of their forms. These forms can be found at the courthouse, and New Hampshire residents may obtain them online. These forms can also be filed with the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys are able to provide legal advice and answer any questions that you may have. Both spouses must complete the Joint Petition for Divorce and Personal Data Sheet. Once the paperwork is complete, it can be filed with the court along with the appropriate filing fee. Parties with minor children will be required to attend a Child Impact Seminar on the effects divorce can have on children. The Parties will also be required to attend a First Appearance where upon completion they will then be scheduled for either a case manager conference, mediation, or a court hearing.

If any issues are left outstanding without agreement, the court will direct the spouses to a temporary hearing, where a judge will hear evidence presented by both spouses and make temporary orders until a final hearing is held. If everything has been agreed upon, a final hearing may be waived, upon the request of the parties and approval by the Court, and the agreement approved without the need to appear.

Additional Filings

Although filing for divorce ends the marriage, the dissolution of a marriage often means decision concerning children and property must be addressed. These are settled through actions of residential responsibility, child support, alimony and property division. Most of these items can be sped along with the help of a dedicated and experienced family law attorney.

Divorce can be a battleground. Even in cases of uncontested divorce, these issues are emotional issues tied into legality. When considering divorce, or when divorce claims are brought against you, it is importance to speak to an attorney with the necessary experience and knowledge to handle your divorce case. 

If you or a loved one is undergoing divorce proceedings, contact Tenn And Tenn today.


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