If you have been unhappily married for years, even after seeking help from a qualified marital counselor, you might have come to the decision that the only option is a divorce.
Even though this is never an easy choice because of heartbreak, anger, or children that you and your spouse may share, the divorce process doesn’t have to be too complicated.
Before you decide to lawyer up, it is a good idea to understand how divorce in New Hampshire works and think about what options you have. (Yes, you do have more options available than just using an expensive lawyer.)
Because in doing so, you will be able to simplify the process, causing less stress and saving more money.
Filing for divorce in New Hampshire – First things first
What are the requirements?
Getting a divorce in New Hampshire is possible, but you need to meet one of the following requirements before you can file for your dissolution of marriage.
- Both spouses need to reside in New Hampshire
- The petitioner’s spouse should have lived in New Hampshire for at least 1 year.
- The petitioner should live in the state, and the respondent spouse can be served in New Hampshire.
If you meet one of those requirements, you can then begin the divorce process.
Fault or no-fault?
It’s also good to know that New Hampshire recognizes “no-fault” and “fault” divorce. Therefore if you would like to end your marriage because of irreconcilable differences, you will be able to do so.
What would a “fault ground” include?
A “fault divorce” means that something has happened during your marriage that warrants your divorce. New Hampshire law recognizes at least 10 fault-based grounds for divorce, such as:
- Mental abuse
- Physical abuse
- Incarceration for over 1 year
- Habitual drunkenness (This must be for at least 2 years)
- Willful abandonment of the spouse where the husband has not supported his wife in over 2 years
- (This is an interesting one) If your spouse has joined a religion or a sect that deems your marriage unlawful, and one spouse refuses to live with their mate for more than 6 months
Will you have an uncontested divorce or a contested one?
Another thing to think about is whether or not you will have a contested or an uncontested divorce.
Unfortunately, if your divorce is contested, then you will have to hire a lawyer. The reason for this is that your case will involve many complex issues, such as child custody, property division, and the division of debts.
If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on who gets what, a lawyer will be able to fight your case for you; Thus ensuring a positive and fair outcome.
If you and your spouse are ending your marriage on good terms, you can get a divorce without an attorney. One of the easiest options for an uncontested divorce is to make use of an online divorce service.
Step 1: Get your divorce papers in order
There are a few different ways in which you can get your divorce papers. If your divorce is contested, you could have a lawyer or an attorney prepare your documents for you.
But if your divorce is uncontested, you have the option of having an online divorce service prepare your paperwork for you.
Many couples prefer to make use of online divorce services because they are inexpensive and easy to use.
After answering a few simple questions on the divorce company’s website, your documentation will be prepared for you. The good news is that you will receive your paperwork within 2 working days.
Side Note: If you do make use of a lawyer to prepare your documents for you, it could take a little longer. Remember that you are not your lawyer’s only client. Therefore be prepared to wait slightly longer than you would with a DIY divorce to get the ball rolling.
Step 2: File your divorce petition
Once all your documents are in order and you have made copies, you can file your paperwork in the court that covers the town where you or your spouse live. You will need to pay a filing fee, which, luckily, isn’t too costly.
You can expect to pay $250, but if, for whatever reason, you can’t pay the filing fee, you can request a fee waiver. You will then need to fill out a “Fee Waiver Request Form.”
Step 3: Serve your spouse
If you and your spouse file a joint petition, there is no need to have your spouse served. But if your petition was done solely by you, serving your spouse is a mandatory step.
In New Hampshire, your spouse can pick up a copy of the divorce papers from the court. If they don’t fetch the documents, the court will send 2 copies of the divorce papers to the respondent.
Your spouse will then be served with divorce papers by certified mail or by the county sheriff.
Step 4: Finalize your divorce
The last part of the divorce process is attending a final court hearing in front of a judge. If you have minor children, you and your spouse will be expected to attend the first appearance, where the judge will discuss a mediation program with you.
If there is no need for mediation, a case manager will guide you through the next steps; Having a case manager will also be necessary even if you do not have minor children.
One thing that is important to note is that if you do have minor children, you and your spouse will be required to attend a 4-hour seminar that goes into detail on how divorce affects children. This is compulsory to attend.
Once this has been done, you can request your final hearing date, where the judge will grant your divorce decree.
Divorce is a complicated and emotional process that can take its toll. An uncontested divorce would be the easiest and cheapest option, especially if you make use of an online divorce service.
But remember that if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, using a lawyer would be the smart option, as this ensures that you may get what you want out of your case.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.