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To preserve the rule of the law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions, the courts will provide accessible, prompt, and efficient forums for the fair and independent administration of justice, with respect for the dignity of all we serve.
NH Judicial Branch Self Help Center
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     The New Hampshire Judicial Branch includes the  Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Circuit Court Probate Division, the Circuit Court District Division and the Circuit Court Family Division.   

The New Hampshire Court System At a Glance

Supreme Court  

      The Supreme Court consists of five justices who decide appeals from all levels of court including civil, criminal, juvenile cases and cases involving administrative agencies. They also issue advisory opinions at the request of the executive and legislative branches.

Superior Court  

     There are 19 justices of the Superior Court assigned to 11 locations in 10 counties. Their responsibilities include:

  • jury trials in civil and criminal cases

  • cases that resulted in damage to persons or property, contracts, property ownership, and other civil matters valued at more than $1,500. 

  • felony level offenses

  • appeals from District Court in certain types of cases

Circuit Court District Division districtservice@courts.state.nh.us

     The Circuit Court District Division has justices assigned to locations in 32 cities and towns. Their responsibilities include: 

  • Cases involving landlords and tenants

  • civil cases (valued up to $25,000) involving damage to persons or property, contracts, and property

  • small claims (valued up to $5,000)

  • misdemeanor and violation level

  • traffic violations

  • domestic violence petitions  ( counties where established.)

Circuit Court Probate Division

     There are 10 probate division judges, one assigned to each county. Their responsibilities include:

  • Adoptions

  • Estates

  • Trusts

  • Wills

  • Guardianships of Incapacitated Persons

  • Involuntary Admissions

  • Equity Matters

Circuit Court Family Division   familyservice@courts.state.nh.us

    The Family Division operates in 28 locations across the state in ten counties: Belknap, Carroll, Coos, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan. Family Division cases include:

  • divorce/parenting action child support

  • domestic violence petitions

  • guardianship of minors

  • termination of parental rights

  • abuse/neglect cases

  • children in need of services

  • juvenile delinquency

  • and some adoptions.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program includes 4 programs set up to help people resolve their cases without going to litigation.  These processes are more informal than a court proceeding and can save money for the individuals involved. ADR programs include civil mediation in Superior Court, marital mediation in the Family Division, marital neutral evaluation in Family Division and Probate Division mediation.

 

Case Types
    
Different types of cases are heard at various levels of court. The chart below lists case types and the appropriate level of court for your issue. You will then have to determine the specific court location for your town, city or county. Directions are available. 

What is your case about? 
Court to contact 
adoption Circuit Court Probate Division and Circuit Court Family Division

appeals (from Superior Court verdicts or orders)

Supreme Court

child custody, visitation and support Circuit Court Family Division
civil cases Superior Court
criminal cases Superior Court (felonies-punishable by more than 1 year in prison)

Circuit Court District Court (misdemeanors-punishable by less than 1 year in prison)  

divorce Circuit Court Family Division
domestic violence Circuit Court District Division, or Circuit Court Family Division
estates Circuit Court Probate Division
guardianship of adults Circuit Court Probate Division
guardianship of minors Circuit Court Probate Division , Circuit Court Family Division,or Superior Court
involuntary commitments Circuit Court Probate Division
juvenile delinquency Circuit Court District Division or Circuit Court Family Division
juvenile dependency Circuit Court District Division or Circuit Court Family Division
landlord/tenant claims Circuit Court District Division
legal separation Circuit Court Family Division
small claims Circuit Court District Division
termination of parental rights Circuit Court Probate Division or Circuit Court Family Division
traffic tickets  Circuit Court District Division
trusts Circuit Court Probate Division
wills Circuit Court Probate Division
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