An individual can file a Petition for Divorce to begin the divorce process.
The filing fee for divorce is $205 if you do not have children. The fee for petitions for divorce with children or any other petition relating to children is $207. There are limited circumstances under which the court can waive a fee.
There are many ways you could attempt to resolve your differences. These include:
Contact an attorney (See the NH Bar Association "Need a Lawyer?" Section)
Contact a Superior Court Certified Marital Mediator
A combination of the above
You can proceed with a divorce on your own without professional assistance but you take the risk of not protecting your and/or your children's best interest.
Court staff can assist you with procedures and forms but cannot give you substantive advice about what you should do in your particular situation.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING PETITION FOR DIVORCE
- County refers to the county where you are going to file your petition.
- Please note your signature on the Petition for Divorce must be notarized.
- You may request a temporary hearing by completing section 10 of the petition. A temporary hearing should be requested if there are matters to be resolved before the divorce is final, such as temporary custody of the children, temporary support of the children and who will temporarily remain in the family home. You will be required to provide the court with information listed in the Temporary Decree on Divorce or Legal Separation.
- Call the court regarding the next steps, including how the other party will be notified about the filing of the petition.
If at any time in this process, you and your spouse reach agreement on all the issues, you can proceed to an uncontested divorce hearing by writing a letter to request a final hearing.
ADDITIONAL FORMS YOU WILL NEED
- You must also complete a Personal Data Sheet to file with your Petition. Make sure to mark the appropriate box under your name if you are concerned about your safety and do not want personal information disclosed to your spouse.
- You will be asked to complete a financial affidavit and should be prepared to supply information regarding your income, employment, monthly expenses and your assets including home, car, investments, checking account, life, health and dental insurance. You will be required to supply a copy of your latest income tax returns or your most recent pay stubs.
- If you have children, both spouses must also file a financial affidavit. Be advised that some courts may require you to complete the affidavit on their own green form. There are instructions included on this form that you should pay particular attention to.
- In addition, if you have children, you must complete a Uniform Support Order signed by both spouses. There are instructions included on this form that you should pay particular attention to.
- Child support amounts are based on New Hampshire Child Support Guidelines. You must also complete a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. For help in calculating the amount of child support in your case, go to the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Support Services website and use their DHHS Child Support Modification Kit (This link takes you to DHHS's site. The worksheet calculator link is on the left-hand side of the page).
- A Vital Statistics form must be obtained from the clerk's office. No photocopies or electronic forms will be accepted. This form must be typewritten.
- After you file this Petition, the court will notify your spouse that they have 10 days to pick up a copy of the petition at the courthouse. If the petition is picked-up, the clerk's office will be able to tell you the next step in the procedure. If your spouse does not pick up a copy of the petition, the court will send you "Orders of Notice," which will contain important information for both you and your spouse. It is critical that you read this information carefully to understand the process.
- You will need to make arrangements for your spouse to be served with the petition and the orders of notice. To do this, bring all of the paperwork to your local sheriffs department. You will have to pay the sheriff to serve the papers. The sheriff will tell you the cost.
- Once the sheriff has served your spouse, the sheriff will send you a Return of Service that verifies your spouse has been given a copy of the petition and Orders of Notice. You must send in this return to the court immediately.
- If the sheriff cannot deliver the paperwork, the sheriff will let you know and you should call the court to find out what to do next.
- After legal papers are served, procedures will vary depending on your situation. Call the clerk's office to find out what to do next.
- PLEASE REMEMBER THAT EACH CASE IS DIFFERENT. ADDITIONAL OR DIFFERENT STEPS AND OR PAPERWORK MAY BE REQUIRED IN YOUR CASE.