Filing for Divorce in NH 2017-10-13T04:17:32+00:00

In general, there are three initial steps to be taken in a divorce case:

(1) Filing the petition. The first step is to file a petition for divorce. Which petition you file will depend on if both parties agree to divorce or not. If both parties agree to divorce, then you will file a Joint Petition for Divorce. If both parties are not agreeing to divorce, then one person will file an Individual Petition for Divorce.

(2) Service of process. This step only applies to those parties filing an individual petition for divorce [and not the joint petition for divorce]. You may serve your spouse by asking him or her to pick up the documents at the courthouse, by certified mail, or by the local county sheriff.

(3) Discovery. This step comes after filing the petition and completing service. you must gather the information and documents required under Rule 1.25-A.

(4) First Appearance and Scheduling. This is your day in court where the judge will evaluate your case and explain the court process in depth. You will also schedule the next court event at the first appearance, so remember to bring your calendar. You will receive a First Appearance Notice in the mail to determine when this hearing will be scheduled.

First step in filing for divorce is to file a Petition for Divorce, along with a Personal Data Sheet. If you and your spouse are agreeing to get a divorce, then you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce. Filing jointly is cheaper than filing individual because you will not need to serve your spouse.

If you and your spouse are not agreeing to get a divorce, then you will need to file the individual Petition for Divorce. In such a case, you will also need to serve your spouse by having him/her pick up the papers from the courthouse, serve the divorce papers via certified mail, or via county sheriff. In the mail, you will receive three documents regarding service of process: a “copy” of the service document, the “service” document that you should use to actually serve, and the “original” document. The copy is for your records. Service and original are what you must serve your spouse with. After you comply with service, you must file a “Return of Service” with the court to show them that notice was given to your spouse (i.e. service was completed).

Second, after the petition has been filed, you must gather the information and documents required under Rule 1.25-A. This is the discovery period and initial self-disclosures must be delivered to the other party within 45 days of service.

 Third, you will be scheduled for a First Appearance session where a judge will explain the court process and highlight important things to think about involving your children. You will learn about the Child Impact Seminar, parenting plansmediation, and guardians ad litem, and child support.

Fourth, a date will be selected for the next step in your divorce, so please bring your calendar for scheduling purposes.

To complete your divorce, you will need to file:

First step in filing for divorce is to file a Petition for Divorce, along with a Personal Data Sheet. If you and your spouse are agreeing to get a divorce, then you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce. Filing jointly is cheaper than filing individual because you will not need to serve your spouse.

If you and your spouse are not agreeing to get a divorce, then you will need to file the individual Petition for Divorce. In such a case, you will also need to serve your spouse by having him/her pick up the papers from the courthouse, serve the divorce papers via certified mail, or via county sheriff. In the mail, you will receive three documents regarding service of process: a “copy” of the service document, the “service” document that you should use to actually serve, and the “original” document. The copy is for your records. Service and original are what you must serve your spouse with. After you comply with service, you must file a “Return of Service” with the court to show them that notice was given to your spouse (i.e. service was completed).

Second, after the petition has been filed, you must gather the information and documents required under Rule 1.25-A. This is the discovery period and initial self-disclosures must be delivered to the other party within 45 days of service.

Third, this is the scheduling step. After service is completed, the parties are sent a First Appearance Notice. This is notice of a hearing (the first appearance hearing) where the judge will evaluate how the case is likely to progress and explain the court process to the parties. You will also schedule the next events in the case, so be sure to bring your calendar for scheduling purposes.

To complete your divorce, you will need to file:

There are three ways to end a marriage in New Hampshire: (1) legal separation, (2) annulment, or (3) divorce. Unlike a divorce, after a legal separation, you are still legally married. Legal separations resolve the same issues surround divorce, such as child support/custody, alimony, property division, etc., but you are still legally married. This means you cannot remarry. People may choose to proceed with a legal separation rather than a divorce because of religious or personal reasons. (See RSA 458:26 for the NH law on legal separation). Remember, a divorce also resolves issues such as child support/custody, alimony, property division, but after a divorce, you are no longer legally married, and you may remarry.

On the other hand, an annulment invalidates the marriage from something that occurred at the beginning of the marriage. In other words, your marriage dissolves because it was invalid from the start (it is a void marriage). In New Hampshire, there are several reasons you may get an annulment: bigamy (one party was already married), underage at the time of marriage, or parties are blood relatives. (See RSA 458:1)