Domestic Relations

The Domestic Relations Team at our firm guides clients through the emotional times of marital separation, divorce and parenting disputes. In addition, our team is able to effectively represent our clients’ interests by offering inventive solutions for complex asset distribution issues including business, real estate, estate planning, and retirement assets. Our attorneys are fully equipped to manage a divorce from negotiation to settlement to litigation, if necessary. We offer private mediation, where parties can reach agreements outside of Court with the help of a neutral third party. We also offer collaborative divorce in which lawyers and other professionals work with clients to cooperatively resolve conflicts and reach a negotiated outcome.

As one of the most experienced family law groups in the region, we have the experience, dedication and familiarity with alternative approaches that allow us to guide our clients to a resolution best-suited to their objectives and needs.

Services Provided

Frequently Asked Questions

Do NH and VT provide for alimony?

Yes.  Alimony may be awarded in periodic payments or in a lump sum.  A Court may award alimony for a definite or indefinite period.

What is the difference between a divorce and legal separation?

The process in NH and VT is basically the same except that after a legal separation neither party is free to marry. However, after a legal separation, parties may resume being married by filing a notice with the clerk of court. A legal separation may be converted to a divorce after a certain period.

Can my spouse take what I owned before marriage?

Marital property in a divorce is defined in NH by RSA 458:16-a to include all property no matter when it was acquired and no matter whose name it may be in. The same is true in VT pursuant to VSA 15 § 751.

What is collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a form of alternate dispute resolution that offers divorcing couples a hands-on settlement with legal representation. It is a method of resolving divorce issues with the active participation of a lawyer for each party, a coach and a financial neutral. By contract, both parties and both lawyers agree not to litigate. If negotiations break down, the lawyers are disqualified from representing their clients in litigation. The lawyers work cooperatively to structure the process and facilitate settlement.

How does mediation work?

A mediator is used to try to help parties reach a settlement of their case. A mediator does not decide anything but tries to help parties consider the risks and issues and find a solution. Mediation can be with or without a lawyer present. Mediation can take place with all parties in the same room or in separate rooms. The mediation process and information shared during mediation is confidential and may not be used in Court.

Do mothers always get custody of the children?

No. The inquiry for parenting is what is in the best interests of the child. By statute, a parent’s gender is not a basis for the awarded of parenting time.

In a divorce, are NH and VT 50/50% states?

In dividing property in a NH divorce, RSA 458:16-a provides that an equal division is presumed to be fair but the Court may make a different division if it finds reasons to do so. In VT, property is to be divided “equitably” between the parties depending on a number of factors. There is not a statutory presumption that equal division is equitable.

Can children choose who to live with at age 14?

No. This is a parental decision or one for the Court. A mature minor may express a preference about where he/she lives and the court may take it into account assuming it is not the product of bribery, coercion or undue influence but the Court is not bound to follow the wish of a child.

How long does child support go for?

Except for a disabled child, child support terminates upon the last of age 18 or completion of high school.

When can I start dating?

The best practice is to wait until your divorce is over. Part of the answer has to do with whether you are involved in a fault or no-fault divorce. This is a matter to be discussed with your lawyer.

Professionals

Shareholder / Director / Senior Vice President
Manchester NH
(603) 626-3304
Shareholder
Burlington VT||Washington DC
(802) 864-0880, x1260
Shareholder
Manchester NH||Portsmouth NH
(603) 626-3300 x1503
Paralegal
Manchester NH
(603) 626-3319
Shareholder
Portsmouth NH
(603) 626-3300