From the Administrative Judge of the Circuit Court:
To the Citizens of New Hampshire,
Legal disputes are much like any other we confront in our daily lives. They cause interpersonal conflict, stress and uncertainty. When those disputes involve family matters, those conflicts and stressesbecome even more emotionally charged and difficult. The State of New Hampshire and its court system recognize this and, through the development and implementation of the Judicial Branch Family Division, the legislature and the courts have attempted to better address the needs of the families forced to turn to the courts for resolution of their concerns. See Report and Recommendations of the Judicial Branch Family Division Implementation Committee.
It is the goal of the family division to encourage the fair and equitable resolution of all disputes coming before it. To that end, the court will promote the early and consistent use of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution in divorce and parenting-related cases. This will give parties the opportunity, in a non-adversarial, less stress-filled environment, to develop a mutually agreed upon plan for their family. The family division has also developed procedures and forms that we hope are less complex and easier for the average citizen to understand. These procedures are designed to promote a process which respects the powerful role of families in our society while, at the same time, promoting the treatment of all persons with dignity.
The pain and anguish of family conflict cannot be eliminated, nor is that the role of the courts. However, fair and equitable conflict resolution in an atmosphere sensitive to the issues being presented and the people involved in the conflict is the proper role of the court and one to which the family division is committed. Whether you are a litigant, an attorney, or a court observer, I invite you to assist us in making our system as responsive to the needs of the public as is possible.
Edwin W. Kelly
Circuit Court Administrative Judge