Copyright H.Hastings 2007-2011
Chapter 1. The Basics of Family Law
Some basic legal terms
No-fault or fault?
What are the issues in a divorce?
How do these issues get resolved?
What about "custody?"
How is child support determined?
Alimony, property division, and taxes
What should I do (and not do) when first thinking about divorce?
Chapter 2. Parenting During and After Divorce
How can I help my child deal with the divorce?
What steps should I take to help my child through the divorce?
My child is upset about leaving me to be with the other parent. How can I help?
Is it important to keep the other parent informed?
Why should I encourage my child's contact with the other parent?
How can I encourage my child's contact with the other parent?
Will my dating impact my child?
Chapter 3. Money and Divorce
How do I start to plan for cash flow after we separate?
How much money will I need for day-to-day expenses?
What are the dangers of credit cards and joint credit?
What about our mortgage?
What long-term cash requirements should be considered?
Should I trade off the retirement plan for the house?
What factors should be considered in dividing retirement plans?
Can I get part of my spouse's Social Security?
What about the family business?
Does everything we own have to be valued?
What other steps should I take to put my finances in order?
Civil Unions and Money
Chapter 4. How to Make Divorce Decisions
What can I do to minimize the likelihood of a contested divorce?
To file or not to file, that is the question
What are the advantages of agreeing first, then filing?
The two stages of decision making
Method 1 - the informal approach
Method 2 - mediation: making decisions with the help of a neutral professional
Are there different types of mediators?
What is the court's role in the use of mediation?
How does mediation work?
What are the advantages of mediation?
Why double my costs by paying both a lawyer and a mediator?
What is the difference between what mediators and lawyers do in a divorce?
Do I need a lawyer if we use mediation?
Fear of lawyers
Method 3 - collaborative practice
How does collaborative practice differ from a traditional divorce?
How does collaborative practice result in a settlement?
A focus on the future
The team model of collaborative practice
Which is best - collaborative divorce or mediation?
Is collaborative practice faster? Cheaper?
Method 4 - negotiation through lawyers
Method 5 - contested cases: the court decides
Temporary issues, final issues
What are the disadvantages of having the court decide?
Can I appeal, if I don't like the decision?
What are the advantages of reaching an agreement?
We have been fighting over parenting for years. Is there a way to stay out of court?
Chapter 5. Getting Legal Help
Why do I need a lawyer?
Can we use the same lawyer?
How do I find a lawyer?
What are the types of legal services available to help with my divorce?
How can I find the right lawyer?
What questions should I ask a lawyer I might hire?
Are there some "legal" problems I can handle without a lawyer?
Can I represent myself in my divorce?
Chapter 6. Working with Your Lawyer
What are the first steps in working with my lawyer?
What papers should I keep?
How can I make the most efficient use of my lawyer?
How can my lawyer's staff help?
Telling the truth
Problems in working with your lawyer
Are you considering changing lawyers?
A warning about counseling records!
Chapter 7. Court Papers
What document is used to request a New Hampshire divorce?
When may a joint petition be used?
Are there special rules if I want alimony?
Are there special rules if the petition says that adultery caused the marriage to break down?
What does the court do when the petition is filed?
I received a petition filed by my spouse. What are my options?
How is a temporary hearing scheduled?
What documents are needed if you work out the temporary issues?
If no agreement is possible, what documents are required for a contested temporary hearing?
What are "discovery" documents?
What are "motions" and "objections?"
What court papers are required for a pretrial conference?
If we have a contested final hearing, what court papers are needed?
What happens if we agree only on some issues?
What are the documents used after the contested hearing?
Chapter 8. Going to Court
Going to court usually means waiting!
There are different kinds of court events
What is the "first appearance?"
Status and case management conferences
Trial management conferences
What if my spouse defaults?
Contested final hearings
Preparing to go to court
Your day in court - what to bring
Do I have to testify?
What do I need to know about being a witness?
What is cross-examination?
An uncontested hearing
What should I wear to court?
Chapter 9. Domestic Violence
What is a restraining order?
How can I get a restraining order?
How does the other person find out about the restraining order?
What happens at the final hearing?
Where can I get more information?
Should I consult a lawyer?
Can I file criminal charges?
Can I get my spouse to move out without getting a domestic violence order? What happens if domestic violence petitions are misused?
What is stalking?
If I'm being stalked, can I get a protective order?
Chapter 10. Parenting - The Law
How is the parenting plan decided?
What is decision-making responsibility?
What is a parenting schedule?
What is primary residential responsibility?
What is the legal test for a major change in the parenting schedule?
Will the parenting schedule change as your child grows?
How much may the parenting schedule be changed after the divorce?
What happens if we don't agree on the parenting plan?
What do New Hampshire parenting schedules look like?
May the parents move apart after divorce?
Can stepparents, grandparents or others have residential responsibility or visitation rights?
What is the legal test if the court decides the parenting plan?
Can teenagers decide where they will live?
What is a guardian ad litem?
How is the guardian selected and paid?
How does the guardian function?
Are there unhealthy reasons for fighting about parenting?
Chapter 11. Child Support
What information is needed to calculate child support?
What is monthly gross income, if I am paid weekly?
What deductions can I take?
Examples, based on sample families
How is child support calculated?
How is the "combined support" divided between the other parent and myself?
Is there child support on bonuses and commissions?
Are the Guidelines always used?
What if the child lives with each parent half of the time?
What if one child lives with mother and the other child lives with father?
What is a uniform support order?
What is a wage assignment?
What if the other parent doesn't pay ordered support and misses a payment?
Can child support be changed?
Chapter 12. Alimony
Will I get alimony or will I have to pay it?
Will the court award alimony in my divorce?
How is the amount of alimony decided?
The advantages of alimony
Alimony and property division
Specifics in alimony orders
Changes in alimony after divorce
My spouse provides my health insurance through employment. How will I have insurance after the divorce?
Chapter 13. Property Division
What factors may justify an unequal division?
How does "fault" affect property division?
Length of marriage
Other common factors
How will our marital property be divided?
How are different types of retirement plans handled?
How are retirement plans divided?
What are QDROs?
Summary of steps to divide property
Chapter 14. Taxes and Divorce
What are the tax issues during and after a divorce?
What filing status should I use during the divorce?
What filing status should I use after the divorce?
Can I file as "head of household?"
What is the difference between deductions, exemptions, and credits?
How do deductions work?
How do exemptions work?
Which parent gets the exemption for our child?
What happens if we have two or more children, or have equal periods of residential responsibility?
Am I eligible for a tax credit?
What is the child tax credit?
What are child care credits and dependent care reimbursements?
What are "educational" tax incentives?
What happens if I sign a joint return and my spouse has lied on it?
How is alimony treated for tax purposes?
Is alimony always taxable and deductible?
Can paying mortgage or other house expenses qualify as "alimony?"
What payments to a spouse or former spouse are not alimony?
Can I pay more alimony instead of child support, and get a tax break?
What if alimony is not paid or the amount changes?
Is there tax on alimony in New Hampshire?
Is child support taxable and deductible?
Will property division affect my taxes?
Can we avoid taxes and penalties when dividing the retirement benefits?
What if part of the property division is delayed for several years after the divorce?
Are the costs of divorce deductible?
What other steps are necessary to put my federal income taxes in order?
What is the impact of divorce on New Hampshire state taxes?
Chapter 15. Appeals
I don't like my divorce agreement or orders. Will an appeal fix them?
When do appeals happen?
Important steps before an appeal
What are the steps to appeal a divorce decision?
What happens in an appeal?
The Supreme Court has several methods of handling appeals
What is a summary disposition order?
What is a 3JX case?
Can cases get settled after an appeal is filed?
What is a brief?
What is an oral argument?
How long does it take to get the Supreme Court's decision?
If there is an appeal, when will the divorce become final?
Chapter 16. After Divorce
What can I do during the divorce to avoid future legal problems?
How can I avoid further legal problems with my former spouse?
Will I have problems concerning child support?
What if there are problems with parenting the children?
Can my parenting plan, divorce agreement, or orders be changed?
What do we do to change the agreements or orders?
Can the child's "primary residence" be changed?
What does it take to get the court to change child support?
Can alimony be changed?
When we were divorced, there was no alimony order. Can it be ordered now?
How do I begin a court case after my divorce?
Appendix A - More Tax Tips
Appendix B - Standard Order of Paragraphs
How to Understand the Standard Paragraphs
Appendix C - Checklists and Resources
Resources for Divorce
Books for Adults and Children