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How Do I Start the Divorce Process in New Hampshire?

How Do I Start the Divorce Process in New Hampshire?

Getting Divorced in New Hampshire

Confused About Where to Begin?

By Attorney Ian Reardon – Starting the divorce process can be extremely difficult. Not only are you going through emotional pain, but you’re also left navigating a complex procedure with numerous forms, rules, and requirements. While hiring a divorce attorney can make things easier, many people cannot afford one. Schoff & Reardon is here to assist you with any part of your divorce, whether it’s just the beginning or representing you throughout the entire process. We hope you find this article a helpful resource, even if you decide not to hire us.

Forms, Forms, and More Forms

The number of forms available on the New Hampshire Family Court’s website can be quite overwhelming. There are over 100 forms, and without a legal background, it might feel impossible to know which ones to select. We can’t provide a link to the actual forms because they are constantly changing and updating throughout the year. However, if you’re starting the divorce process, you should look in the “Divorce/Parenting – Family Division” section of their website.

The good news is that you only need two forms to get started: a Petition for Divorce and a Personal Data Sheet. You’ll require additional forms later in the process, but these two are all you need to begin. There are multiple types of Petitions for Divorce, so selecting the correct one is crucial, and we’ll discuss that further in the article. The Personal Data Sheet is the same for everyone.

Petition for Divorce

The first step is determining the type of Petition for Divorce form that you’ll need.

Personal Data Sheet

Everyone must fill out a Personal Data Sheet that includes basic information.

Filing Fee

The court filing fee changes frequently but is approximately $250.00.

Petition for Divorce - Joint vs. Individual

Joint Petition
A Joint Petition for Divorce is when both spouses agree to file for divorce. It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean they agree on financial matters or child custody; rather, it signifies their mutual decision to seek a divorce. Both parties must be willing to sign and file the Petition to initiate the divorce process. You can find the Joint Petition for Divorce on the New Hampshire Family Court’s website.

Individual Petition
The Individual Petition is used when one party seeks a divorce, while the other spouse is uncooperative. On the Family Court’s website, this petition is labeled as ‘Petition for Divorce’ without the term ‘Joint’ in the title.  Like the rest of the forms discussed here, it can be found on the Court’s website.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Other Forms and How to File

Personal Data Sheet

The Personal Data Sheet (Form NHJB-2077-F) is required to start any divorce in New Hampshire.  This form requests basic information about both spouses, the type of Petition, and information about minor children.  It can also be found on the Court’s website.

How do I file?

To file for divorce, you must bring your case to the appropriate court. You can find a list of New Hampshire towns and their corresponding courts on the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website.

Filing a Joint Petition for Divorce is straightforward. Simply submit the Joint Petition and Personal Data Sheet to the appropriate court to initiate the process. The Court will then contact you with further instructions.

Filing an Individual Petition is more difficult because you need to have the petition served on your spouse.  Once you file the Petition with the correct Court, you’ll receive something called “Orders of Notice.”  You have two different ways that you can have your spouse served.

Sherriff – Contact the county sheriff to deliver the Petition to your spouse, which incurs a fee. Upon delivery, you will receive a receipt to be submitted to the court as proof of service.

Certified Mail – While you can serve your spouse by certified mail with a return receipt requested, it’s essential that your spouse signs the return receipt for the service to be valid.

We're here to help

Do You Need Help Starting a Divorce?

Did you know you can hire a law firm like Schoff & Reardon for partial assistance with your divorce? While many clients retain us for full support throughout the process, we also offer consultations and limited representation, allowing clients to handle aspects of their case independently while receiving advice on specific needs. Contact us to inquire about the available options.