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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
Self-Help Center

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Getting Started
 
decorative iconBefore you file a case in court, consider other ways to resolve issues...

Many issues can be resolved outside of court. Before  proceeding to court on your own, you might want to explore the alternatives, such as mediation. Trained mediators can help you sort out issues and resolve your case without the expense and time of having to hire a lawyer and appear in court. For more information about alternatives to coming to court, read about Alternative Dispute Resolution programs in the Alternatives To Court section.

Quick Links:

Questions regarding District Court cases (e.g., small claims, landlord-tenant, misdemeanors and/or criminal or traffic violation court procedures) may be directed to the District Court Service Center at districtservice@courts.state.nh.us , or by phone to1-877-641-0966 (toll free for calls from New Hampshire only). Calls from outside of New Hampshire may contact the service center at 603-271-6545. This service is helpful to people who have questions regarding court procedure and who have not yet located or contacted their community court.

Questions regarding Family Division cases (e.g., divorce, parenting, juvenile delinquency, CHINS, guardianship of minors, and cases involving DCYF) may be directed to the Family Division Service Center at familyservice@courts.state.nh.us , or by phone to1-877-641-0966 (toll free for calls from New Hampshire only). Calls from outside of New Hampshire may contact the service center at 603-271-6545. This service is helpful to people who have questions regarding court procedure and who have not yet located or contacted their community court.

Divorce, Parental Rights and Responsibilities, and Child Support
Family Division

Adoption

Estates

Guardianships

Name Changes

Small Claims

Landlord Tenant

Frequently Asked Questions

Prepare for Court

Unable to hire a lawyer?

Before going to court on your own, check out links to low-cost or pro bono (free) legal services

It is important for you to know that instead of going to court on your own, you may be able to hire a lawyer to help you with part of your legal case, which could save time and money.

A lawyer can:

  • Review court papers and give you advice
  • Draft a motion or other papers
  • Represent you at a court hearing

For more information, click on legal assistance.

Questions about procedures and forms...

.  The staff in the Clerk's office will be happy to help you. But, please remember that the court staff must remain impartial.  They do not take sides.  They give the same information to both sides to a case. 
     Here's what staff  can do:
   Give you information about court procedures.
    Let you see your file or other public files and provide copies of documents for a copying   charge.
    Give you court forms and information about how to fill them out. Staff cannot complete forms for you.
    Give you information about court schedules.
    Give you general information about how to get your own lawyer. Staff cannot recommend a specific lawyer.
    Give you information about mediation, parenting courses, courses for children of divorcing parents and community services.

    Here's what staff cannot do:
    Give legal advice.
    Tell you whether to file a case or tell you what specific action you should take in your case.
    Talk to the judge for you, or let you talk to the judge privately.
    Change a court order.
    Tell you what to say in court.
                                         

You can learn more about the process from this website. New Hampshire laws and court rules are also accessible through the Judicial Branch website. It is best to be as prepared as possible when you appear in court so that your case will proceed smoothly.

A very good way to learn about court procedures is to visit a court and observe a hearing or trial. Call the court clerk's office in any location to find out the court schedules, which vary from place to place. To find the court nearest you, go to Find Your Court.

To get started, you need to know which court is appropriate for your case and where it is located.

There are different types of courts for specific issues. For example, "name changes" and "adoptions" are handled in probate court; "small claims" and "landlord/tenant issues" are heard in district court; lawsuits involving "personal injury" are heard in the superior court. To find the court appropriate for your case go to the case type chart.

REMEMBER: Once you have determined which court to go to, talk with the clerk about important deadlines and rules. Even though you are not a lawyer, you must meet court deadlines and follow court rules. Procedures about forms and court fees will also apply to your case, even if you appear in court without a lawyer. 

 

 
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