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My name is Shaunna L Browne. I am a dedicated Divorce and Family Lawyer in Manchester NH. I take great pride in my work and have helped hundreds of clients get their lives back in order when facing divorce throughout New Hampshire.

Many times I am contacted by individuals who are experiencing some of the worst times of their lives and I believe that it is my obligation to try and make the legal process manageable and understandable for them.

Each client brings with them their own unique set of circumstances and facts regarding divorce in NH. They have many divorce questions and concerns. And it is my job to ensure that their needs are being met and that their rights are being protected.

No doubt, divorce can bring out some of the most horrible feelings we can experience. Anger, rejection, isolation, betrayal, heartache, loneliness and fear are all emotions that do not make for sound decision making. That is why you need the strength and comfort of experienced counsel at your side every step of the process, to make sure that you do not give in to emotions or make irrational decisions you may come to regret for years.

Divorce Process in NH

In New Hampshire, in order to begin a divorce matter, it is necessary that a petition for divorce be filed with the appropriate Family Division within the Circuit Court system assigned to your town or city. Within a petition for divorce it is necessary to set out specific information as it relates to the date and place of your marriage, whether or not there are children, real estate holdings, as well as other general information about debt, income, and assets which accumulated during the marriage.

New Hampshire, like all fifty states, has adopted a form of "no fault" divorce. In New Hampshire, either party need only allege that they have "irreconcilable differences" (meaning you can no longer get along with your spouse and wish to dissolve your marriage) and that allegation is sufficient cause for the granting of divorce. Contrary to popular myth, neither party to a divorce can withhold nor "refuse" to "give" the other a divorce, and a no fault divorce action can be successfully concluded over the objection of a reluctant or resistant spouse.

New Hampshire has also retained approximately 9 "fault based" grounds for divorce, the most common of which include adultery, extreme cruelty, a pattern of continual emotional abuse (known as conduct injurious to the health and reasoning of the non-offending party, which requires some form of medical confirmation), alcohol abuse, abandonment (discussed below) and conviction for a crime that carries the possibility of imprisonment in the New Hampshire State Prison for a period greater than one year.

What Constitutes Abandonment?

Contrary to popular misconception, moving out of your home, to lessen the tension of an otherwise unbearable situation, does not constitute abandonment (which requires continual absence outside the State, without contact with your spouse for a period greater than two years). However, any party needs to consult in detail with experienced divorce counsel prior to making any relocation from the marital home, since parenting rights and other issues can be greatly affected by such a move.

We often tell our clients that a marriage is similar to a partnership in many respects, and its dissolution is also similar to a partnership break-up. Like business partners, a married couple has combined their assets, earnings and energies toward a common goal. In a partnership the goal is monetary profit. In a marriage, profit takes on a variety of forms including acquisition of first and second homes, automobiles, retirement accounts, vacation homes, automobiles, and other areas in which people choose to either invest or spend the profit from their marriage.

Like partners, each spouse has the ability to bind the other with joint credit accounts and applications, and like partnership dissolution, each spouse is entitled to share in the profits at the conclusion of the partnership, while having some degree of responsibility for the liabilities (debts) of the partnership. While the marital union is a far more intimate and detailed relationship than a business partnership, this overview helps many clients grasp the fundamental concepts of what will occur in a New Hampshire divorce.

NH Family Division Laws

The New Hampshire Family Division has exclusive authority to resolve disputes between divorcing parties and issue decrees of divorce. The State of New Hampshire has recently incorporated the Family Division been in the process of creating the Family Court Division over the last several years. In order to obtain a divorce, the existence of a valid marriage is required, since the law has generally favored the marital union and persons who have lived together but not formalized their union are only entitled to limited relief (see Unwed Couples section, below). A New Hampshire Divorce Court will generally perform three basic functions for divorcing couples.

First, the partnership that is a marriage will be formally dissolved at the conclusion of the process. This allows each party to remarry, and brings necessary closure to most financial aspects of the marriage. It also allows a woman to resume use of her maiden name if she so desires. A divorce is also necessary, since if parties do not formalize their divorce, each remains free to inherit property from the other upon death, despite the existence of a will to the contrary. For these and many other reasons, it is necessary to face the reality, heartbreak and anxiety that attend the divorce process.

The second area that our Courts will resolve are disputes involving parenting rights and responsibilities for minor children. Under this umbrella are issues of decision making responsibility, determination as to the primary residence for children, child support, and parenting schedules, formally known as visitation.

The last area that the Courts will resolve involves property rights of the parties, which include calculation of each party's interest in various assets accumulated, along with allocation of responsibility of debt obligations incurred both jointly and individually during the marriage.

"When family matters you need to call"

Shaunna L. Browne Law PLLC

102 Bay Street, Suite #2 Manchester NH 03104

For a Free Initial Consultation Call - 603-626-8080