File for Divorce in Strafford County, New Hampshire (NH) | Divorce in Strafford County
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Divorce in Strafford County

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Online Divorce in Strafford County

divorce in Strafford County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Strafford County, New Hampshire, is not a law firm, so it is not eligible to provide legal advice. This website provides document preparation services and offers the following material for informational purposes only.

Most couples are looking for the easiest, fastest, and most affordable way to obtain a divorce in Strafford County.
Do-it-yourself divorce without a lawyer is generally an option if the spouses do not contest the case. An uncontested divorce implies that the parties can agree regarding the essential terms of their separation and write up a Marital Settlement Agreement on their own, out-of-court. New Hampshire Family Law allows the parties to initiate the case as co-petitioners and make things quick and easy, avoiding process service. One or both spouses jointly have to select, fill out, and submit the divorce documents and their Settlement Agreement with the relevant court.

Nevertheless, even a simple and amicable uncontested procedure can have difficulties, such as paperwork issues. OnlineDivorce.com relieves the red tape burden on its customers, allowing them to prepare for an uncontested process alone with a laptop or smartphone, in a fast and cheap way.

OnlineDivorce.com provides only relevant New Hampshire legal forms and completes them correctly, according to a particular couple’s unique circumstances.
Besides, the service provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide through the process and filing instructions, following the local rules of Strafford County and NH Revised Statutes requirements.

The customer can receive printable divorce forms by email within two business days and at the most attractive price. OnlineDivorce.com helps to make an uncontested dissolution of marriage stress-free and straightforward, ensuring the court’s approval of the documents.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Strafford County

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In New Hampshire, both fault and no-fault divorces are recognized. It means that filing for divorce in Strafford County, the petitioner may point out the other party's misconduct as a cause for their breakup, and therefore, provide the court with the strong evidence of a chosen ground.

According to the New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Sec. 458:7, the fault-based grounds for divorce are:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Conviction and imprisonment of either party for more than one year
  • Abuse and endangerment
  • Willful abandonment for two years
  • Habitual drunkenness for two years
  • Joining a religious sect or society which professes to believe the relation of the husband and wife unlawful. Refusal to cohabit with the spouse for six months

The only no-fault ground for divorce established by the New Hampshire Family Law is Irreconcilable differences. The spouses just claim that their marriage is broken, and there is no hope of reconciliation, and a divorce may be granted. No one needs to blame anybody or prove anything.

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Custody of the child in Strafford County

Custody of the child in Strafford County

Child custody is called "parental rights and responsibilities" in New Hampshire and is defined by Chapter 461-A of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes. There are no specific rules about which parent should be awarded these rights and responsibilities, so each case is considered by the court separately, concerning the following factors:

  • the child's wishes or preferences, if he or she is mature enough to make such claims;
  • the nature of the parent-child relationship;
  • the child's adjustment to his or her school, home, and community;
  • each parent's ability to meet the child's needs, including food, clothing, shelter, education, care, secure environment, etc.;
  • each parent's ability and willingness to allow the child's contact with the other parent;
  • any history of domestic violence and abuse;
  • and any other factors that the court deems relevant.

In short, the main reason to grant the parent(s) the "parental rights and responsibilities" is his/her/their capacity and intent to give the child love and care, a safe and decent environment, as well as to meet all the developmental needs.
In any divorce proceeding in Strafford County with children involved, the court shall enter one of two types of parental responsibilities. These are:

  • Residential Responsibility (refers to physical custody and determines where the child lives and the time each parent spends with the child)
  • Decision Making Responsibility (refers to legal custody and establishes the parents' authority concerning the most critical decisions about the child's life)

Joint custody, or shared parental rights and responsibilities, are highly welcomed in New Hampshire unless there is evidence that such an arrangement may be harmful to the child.

Although shared residential responsibility is a more rare option than shared decision-making responsibility, no one can prevent the child’s contact with the non-custodial parent. The judges encourage the noncustodial parent to participate in the child's everyday life whenever possible.

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Rules for child support in Strafford County

Although both parents are responsible for supporting their child even after a separation, typically, the parent who does not live with the child is obliged to make periodic payment of child support in Strafford County.

New Hampshire Child Support guidelines follow the percentage of income formula that considers the net income of the parent paying the child support and the number of minor children. The proportions are the following:

Number of minor children
Percentage of net income of the child support payor
One child
25%
Two children
33%
Three children
40%
Four children or more
45%

The guidelines contain a presumption that the amount outlined is correct unless shown that the amount is unjust under the particular circumstances of a case.
The spouses may use the Child Support Calculator and Child Support Guidelines Worksheet to determine the sum of payment required according to their unique situation.

Rules for spousal support in Strafford County

Rules for spousal support in Strafford County

Getting a divorce in Strafford County, New Hampshire, either spouse may ask the court to oblige the other party to pay alimony if the court considers this fair and reasonable in a particular case. Thus, strong evidence of the necessity of spousal support must be presented.

Alimony recipients are usually spouses with lower income, who cannot maintain a habitual standard of living like it was before separation for some justified reason. A paying spouse is a person who has a financial opportunity to make alimony payments, supporting both themselves and the recipient at the appropriate level.

According to the New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Sec. 458:19-a, deciding alimony, the court shall consider such factors as:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • any spousal misconduct (fault-based grounds);
  • each spouse's age, and physical and emotional health;
  • each party's income, property, and earning power;
  • each party's liabilities and needs;
  • each party's social and economic status;
  • and other relevant factors and circumstances.

Whether the short- or long-term alimony shall be ordered also depends on the factors above.

Unless the parties agree otherwise or the judge finds that an adjustment is necessary, the maximum duration of term alimony shall be half of the marriage length. For example, in case of a divorce after a 10-year marriage, alimony cannot be ordered for longer than 5 years.

Uncontested Strafford County divorce with children

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Property division in Strafford County

Property division in Strafford County

To understand how property is divided in a divorce in Strafford County, it is worth knowing that New Hampshire is an equitable distribution state. In a divorce proceeding, the spouses' property should be divided equitably and fairly, and not necessarily equally.
As each dissolution case is unique, to get a divorce in Strafford County, the spouses can either divide assets on their own through a settlement agreement or have a divorce trial on property matters.

To determine what would be fair in a particular situation, the court typically considers the multiple factors, following Sec. 458:16-a of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the spouses' age and health;
  • each spouse's employability, income;
  • each spouse's contribution to the increase of the value of marital property;
  • each spouse's contribution to the other party's education or career development, as well as any interruption of a spouse's education or career to benefit the family;
  • the tax consequences for each party;
  • and other conditions that may seem important.

Actually, in New Hampshire, the property acquired by each spouse before separation or even before a marriage (separate property) may be presumed as marital property, so the parties should convince the court to determine an equitable distribution in his/her favor. That is why, more often, the spouses who apply for divorce in Strafford County prefer to settle the property issues by signing a Marital Settlement Agreement. They go to court only if they fail to reach an agreement.

Mediation support in Strafford County

In New Hampshire, the spouses may use the mediators’ help in addition to litigation or instead of it, and in some cases, the court may order participation in mediation.

Mediation is a voluntary step through the process of separation, aimed so that the spouses could reach an agreement about such complicated issues as property division, alimony, spousal support, or parental rights and responsibilities.

It is assumed that during the mediation session, rather than compete, the parties try to find a common solution under the mediator’s guidance, who works for both parties’ mutual benefit.

Nevertheless, suppose child custody is at issue. In that case, New Hampshire laws require divorcing parents to complete the Child Impact Program - a four-hour parenting class designed to help parents understand the impact of the dissolution of marriage on children.

How to file for divorce in Strafford County | Step-by-Step

1

Foremost, to file for divorce in Strafford County, the parties must meet New Hampshire residency requirements. According to the New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Sec. 458:5, one of the following conditions should be met:

-  Both spouses are domiciled residents of New Hampshire, and the plaintiff has been a resident of the state for at least 12 months before filing the Petition.

-  Either spouse has been a resident of New Hampshire for at least 12 months, and the ground for divorce occurred within the state.

-  The petitioner is domiciled in New Hampshire, and the other party can be served with documents in New Hampshire.

2

To start a divorce procedure in Strafford County, NH, the plaintiff has to draft the Petition for Divorce along with Personal Data Sheet. If both parties agree, they can file a Joint Petition together with a Personal Data Sheet. Such a procedure typically takes less time and effort as it eliminates the process of serving divorce papers to the defendant.
Anyway, the plaintiff or the spouses jointly have to file the initial divorce forms with the Circuit Court Family Division in the county where either spouse currently resides.

3

At the moment of filing, a court filing fee shall be charged, a case number and a Judge shall be assigned, and the case is considered open. Once the petition has been filed, the plaintiff has to fill out the rest of the divorce forms and documents required in a particular case.

4

The next step of the divorce process in Strafford County is mandatory for those who file as an individual. The clerk mails the defendant a letter stating that the petition has been filed, and a copy of the papers is available at the court.
Yet, if the defendant does not come to the court, New Hampshire law ensures several ways of how to serve divorce papers:

-  by registered mail with a return receipt;

-  or, by hiring the sheriff (the additional service fee is assumed).

5

Then, each party must disclose to the other spouse certain information, generally, financial information. Usually, Initial Self Disclosures must be delivered to the other party within 45 days of the date of service.

6

New Hampshire does not require any specific waiting period before a dissolution of marriage can be granted, so it all depends on a particular case’s circumstances. In an uncontested divorce in Strafford County, the spouses may request a final court hearing when they settle all their separation terms.

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Filing fees for divorce in Strafford County

The court filing fee is a mandatory payment charged from the plaintiff when filing the petition to start the procedure officially. In Strafford County, the filing fee is about $250, and it may slightly vary depending on whether the spouses have minor children or pay for formal service of legal papers.

Thus, the court filing fee marks the minimum possible cost of a divorce in Strafford County.

However, those plaintiffs who cannot afford to pay filing costs for some justified reason may ask the judge to waive the fee by submitting a Motion to waive the filing fee.

How long will it take?

The length of the divorce process in Strafford County, New Hampshire, is determined by numerous circumstances of a specific dissolution case. The key factors are how long it takes to reach an agreement concerning separation terms and whether the spouses file the petition jointly or not.

It typically takes about 2-8 weeks to finalize a divorce in Strafford County if there is an agreement, depending on how busy the judges are. If the spouses resort to mediation or collaborative practice to reach an agreement, the average divorce can take about a couple of months. And finally, if the case goes to trial, the proceeding length is harder to predict, and it can even take years.

Filing for divorce in Strafford County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in Strafford County?
It is hard to predict how much a divorce can cost in Strafford County. The costs are determined by various factors, including legal representative fees, serving fees, parenting class, mediation, and other possible fees.
Anyway, the cost of any dissolution of the marriage in Strafford County starts with a filing fee and a parenting class fee if the spouses have minor children. The rest mostly depends on whether the spouses contest the case and seek lawyers' help. DIY divorce with filing a joint petition can be considered the most inexpensive way of arranging the process.

How do you file for divorce in Strafford County without a lawyer?
In New Hampshire, any person can represent oneself in a dissolution case, though it is usually not recommended in contested cases. If the spouses are not going to bring the matter to court, especially if they file as co-petitioners, the case is considered much simpler. They can use the self-help section on the NH courts website or other sources online. They will have to complete the necessary legal forms and file them according to the procedure.
And to prepare legal forms quickly and effortlessly, spouses who are not going to contest the case may take advantage of OnlineDivorce.com.

What are the required forms for an uncontested divorce in Strafford County?
The most common legal forms needed to start a case in Strafford County, New Hampshire, include:

  • Petition for Divorce or Joint Petition
  • Personal Data Sheet
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Certificate of Divorce
  • Final Decree on Petition for Divorce, Legal Separation or Civil Union Dissolution
  • Parenting Plan or Joint Parenting Plan
  • Uniform Support Order
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

Can I file for legal separation in Strafford County, New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, legal separation is also called a limited divorce. This option is not just a step towards dissolution, and it allows spouses to live apart permanently.
Legal separation takes as much time and money as the dissolution of marriage and requires similar steps. In a separation, the spouses can divide property, award alimony, and determine child custody but remain married in the law’s eyes.

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
Like most US states, New Hampshire does not have a waiting period before either former-spouse can get married again once a Divorce Decree is obtained.

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Divorce Courts in Strafford County, New Hampshire

Strafford County Superior Court
Clerk Name:
Kimberly T. Myers
Court Address:
259 County Farm Road, Suite 301, Dover, New Hampshire 03820
Phone:
855-212-1235
Clerk Hours:
8am-4pm