The decision to get divorced is often not an easy one to make. Usually, it comes after much deliberation and plenty of stress. Now that you have reached this point, you want to move forward as quickly and with as little trouble as possible. Fortunately, New Hampshire makes getting divorced straightforward, particularly if you are seeking an uncontested divorce – one where you and your spouse are in agreement on issues like property division and child custody and support (if you have children). If this is the case, you may even be able to process your divorce without a lawyer. If you qualify to do the divorce yourself, you could proceed by filling out the required divorce papers in New Hampshire and filing them with your county clerk to begin the process. CompleteCase.com can make the process even easier. With CompleteCase.com you’ll have the assistance needed to choose the right New Hampshire divorce forms and the help to complete the documents correctly.
If you and your spouse are having trouble coming to terms on the divorce, you may want to seek a mediated divorce. Or, if your situation is complex and there are several areas of disagreement, you might consider the help of a divorce attorney.
The following information will help you to better understand the basics of a New Hampshire, and how you can begin to move forward with your own divorce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in New Hampshire in 2011 was 3.8 for every 1,000 residents. This places New Hampshire's divorce rate somewhere in the middle for divorce rates across the country.
New Hampshire is what is known as a “mixed state”, meaning it allows both no-fault and fault-based divorces. In a no-fault divorce you only need to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. In a fault-based divorce, you must prove grounds for the divorce acceptable by the state. These grounds may include adultery, alcohol abuse and others.
Most couples prefer a no-fault divorce, as it is usually faster and cheaper than a fault-based divorce.
New Hampshire has a long residency requirement for divorce. You, as the person filing for divorce, must live in the state for at least one year before you can file.
The specific divorce papers you must fill out will vary due to your circumstances – whether you and your spouse have minor children together – and possibly due to the county you file in. Some counties require forms that others do not. You should contact the county court where you will be filing to verify that you are completing all the necessary forms.
If you and your spouse want to file together, you can use a “Joint Petition”. This is the fastest way to file, as you do not need to serve your spouse divorce papers before the court can move forward with the case.
If you are filing on your own, you will need to complete an “Individual Petition”.
The New Hampshire Judicial Branch has a section of its website dedicated to filing for divorce. Here you can learn about divorce in the state, and find a variety of forms for filing. You should read through all the information available to you. The more knowledge you have of the law and the process, the better you can protect yourself throughout the divorce.
If you are unsure of which forms to use or the different documents you need to provide, you are not alone. Many people find the divorce form selection process overwhelming and confusing. For many, it is easier to get their New Hampshire divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com. With our service, you’ll feel confident knowing that you are using the right forms for your situation, and that they are going to be filled out correctly from the start. When you have completed all of your documents, wait to sign them until you are in the presence of a notary. New Hampshire only accepts notarized signatures on things like statements and affidavits.
When you have finished filling out the required New Hampshire divorce papers, you are ready to print them out and file them with the local county clerk. Make two additional copies of the documents, one for your records and one to serve your spouse. Be sure to contact the county clerk to make sure you are bringing everything that you need, including a form of payment accepted by the court. When you have paid your state fee and filed your documents, it is time to serve the papers.
New Hampshire tries to keep the service process – notifying your spouse of the divorce filing – as simple as possible. When you file your individual petition, the clerk will mail your spouse a letter stating that the divorce has been filed. Your spouse can then get a copy of the divorce papers when visiting the court.
If your spouse does not come to the court, the county clerk will notify you and you will need to serve your spouse. You can do this by mail – using registered mail with a return receipt – or by hiring the sheriff. If you hire the sheriff then you will need to pay a fee.
If you mail the papers, make sure to get a return receipt that verifies your spouse has signed for them as you will file this receipt with the county clerk. If you hire the sheriff, he or she will let you know when the papers have been delivered by sending you a statement in the mail. You will then file this statement with the court to complete the filling process.
New Hampshire does not have a waiting period for divorce, so if you and your spouse filed jointly, you can expect it to be finalized quickly If you and your spouse still need to argue your case in front of the court, expect the divorce to take quite a bit longer.
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It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
By Deborah Sharp, USA TODAY
Couples can find a mate, fill out a bridal registry and plan a honeymoon on the computer. Now they can also divorce online.
A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered.
The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. Changing trends in the USA Average age of first marriage Divorce year male female Divorced Americans Divorces granted 1970 23.2 20.8 4.3 million 0.7 million 2000 26.8 25.1 19.9 million 1.2 million Sources: U.S. Census; National Center for Health Statistics
No national figures exist on self-representation. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1.2 million couples divorcing annually in the USA do so without a lawyer representing at least one of the parties.
The Web site, www.completecase.com, differs from the many self-help sites offering advice, referrals or downloads of documents needed to file for divorce in a particular state.
For $249, the Web site prompts couples with questions on everything from dividing financial assets to deciding where the kids celebrate birthdays. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing. But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage.
Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog.
"The decision to get a divorce comes way before the decision about how to get a divorce," says Finney, 35, who is happily married. "I don't think anyone takes their wedding vows so frivolously that they're going to get a divorce just because they can do it for $249."
Not everyone is thrilled with the notion of cyber-divorce.
Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
"I can only think of one use of the Internet that's worse and that's pornography," says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a religious group based in Little Rock. "We're trying to do all we can to call people to keep their wedding vows."
FamilyLife has joined with 30 other organizations since 1999 in drawing 175,000 spouses nationwide to "I Still Do" ceremonies that affirm marriage.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once.
A study released last month by the U.S. Census shows about 90% of Americans will marry at some point. For men, 54% married just once. For women, 60%. Serial marriage is rare: Only 3% of Americans have married three times or more; 13% have married twice.
Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1,000 couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
"We never got along on anything through our entire marriage, but we still managed to come to an agreement," says Kiss, 36, a hospital business-services manager. "Why drag it out and make it complicated?"
She says the online split was cheaper and easier than her first, traditional divorce. Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating.
"I like surfing the Web," she says, "but not for men."
Ernesto Gomez and his wife Blanca had been planning to get a divorce for three years. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense. Hiring a lawyer, they were told, would cost at least $1,500. Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks.
So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called completecase.com that would let him fill out the paperwork online for just $249, he decided to give it a try. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. "CompleteCase gives you step-by-step instructions. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami.
Gomez is not the only one turning to the Internet to simplify the process. Other services, like divorcewizards. com and divorcesyourself.com also offer quickie online divorce kits, usually for $300 or less. No lawyer is involved unless a client chooses to pay extra for a consultation by phone or e-mail.
Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.com says his site has handled more than 30,000 divorces since its launch in 2001. Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process.
Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. "Instant divorce is the last thing we need," says Mike McManus, president of the marriage advocacy group Marriage Savers. Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences.
Still, such services are spreading. Utah and California offer do-it-yourself sites that let you fill the forms out online (for $20 at utcourts.gov/how to; free at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp) Traffic on the California site rose from 6,800 page views in May 2002 to nearly 17,000 in May 2003. --By Anita Hamilton
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Nov 19, 2001; MARTIN MILLER;
Abstract: Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
Full Text: (Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2001 All rights reserved)
The circle of online life is now complete. You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online.
Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For a flat fee of $249, the site walks divorcing couples step-by- step through such issues as community property and calculating child support payments. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse.
But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. "If you can't agree on who gets the kids, our site is not for you," says Finney, a married 35-year-old.
The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. Last month, California was added, and soon Florida, New York and Oregon are expected to be added. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
Naturally, Finney disagrees. "I think our Web site has the opposite effect," he said. "If you're going to get divorced, let's do it in a civil manner. I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce."
The inspiration for the project came from his law practice, where he primarily handles divorces. It took about a year to get the site up and running. "On almost a daily basis, I would get clients who said they needed a divorce but didn't have the money or the patience with the legal process to pursue it," he said. "These people are really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months. "It isn't quite as fast as a Las Vegas divorce," he says.
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The next step in completing your divorce petition is to pay the case processing fee.
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When completing the online questionnaire, help and explanations are provided for each question. Should you have any questions during the process, you may call our support line to speak with a divorce specialist.
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Based on the information provided you are not qualified to use CompleteCase.com to complete your divorce online at this time.
We recommend contacting a licensed Family Law attorney to help you with your situation.