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How to Get a Divorce in NH | Divorce Process in New Hampshire

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This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of New Hampshire. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.

With 3StepDivorceTM you can complete and print your NH divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce in NH, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in New Hampshire and how to do your own divorce in New Hampshire . Also, If you have any questions try visiting our New Hampshire Divorce Online Help Center .


Online Divorce FAQ: New Hampshire

Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.

Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.

If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in New Hampshire

How Does Online Divorce Work in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.

Can I File for Divorce in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason (“grounds”) for ending your marriage.

What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in New Hampshire?

A court in New Hampshire can decide your divorce case only if one of the following situations applies:

  • both spouses lived in New Hampshire (and considered the state their permanent home) when the initial divorce papers were filed
  • the filing spouse (the “plaintiff”) lived in New Hampshire on the filing date and personally served the other spouse (the “defendant”) with the divorce papers within the state, or
  • the plaintiff lived in New Hampshire for at least one year immediately before filing the divorce papers.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458:5 (2022).)

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. A no-fault divorce is one in which the court doesn’t require either spouse to prove that the other committed the bad act that caused the marriage to end. In a fault-based divorce, one or both of the spouses must show that the other’s actions caused the marriage to fail.

Most divorcing couples in New Hampshire choose to file a no-fault divorce: No-fault divorces reach resolution faster than fault-based because the spouses don’t have to argue about or prove who was responsible for the divorce. To get a no-fault divorce in New Hampshire, you simply must state in your petition that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences” that have caused the breakdown of the marriage. (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458:7-a (2022).)

New Hampshire also has many fault-based grounds for divorce, such as impotence, adultery, and extreme cruelty. (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458:7 (2022).) Fault-based divorces are often more contentious, more expensive, and last longer than no-fault divorces, so most people who file a fault-based divorce in New Hampshire decide to hire a lawyer.

New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ currently provides services only for couples who are getting divorced based on irreconcilable differences.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in New Hampshire?

Many New Hampshire residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:

If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.

Can I Use New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?

You may use New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state’s residency requirement. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.

New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.

What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?

Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.

Can I Get an Online Divorce in New Hampshire If I Have Children?

Generally, you can use New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.

However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in New Hampshire with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458-A:12 (2022).) If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.

How Will My Online Divorce in New Hampshire Deal With Child Support?

In New Hampshire, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, New Hampshire has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.

3StepDivorce™ provides the New Hampshire Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement. New Hampshire law requires that any time the amount of child support deviates from the guideline, the judge must find that applying the guideline would be “unjust or inappropriate” under the circumstances.

In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.

Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?

After your divorce in New Hampshire is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.

If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. As a general rule, you’ll need to submit your agreement to a judge or child support agency.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Child Support Services (BCSS) enforces child support orders, and has a wealth of information about child support on its website. However, child support modifications can be processed only by the courts. BCSS has published a helpful guide on how to modify your child support order.

How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?

When you fill out your questionnaire for New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.

What About the Family Home?

If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:

  • selling the house and splitting the proceeds
  • transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
  • continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).

What About Retirement Accounts?

In your New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.

If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.

Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.

The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)

Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in New Hampshire?

You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your New Hampshire divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.

How Do I File My Divorce Papers in New Hampshire?

When you get your completed forms with New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file the paperwork in the Circuit Court in the county where either you or your spouse lives. If the Circuit Court in your county has a Family Division, you will file there. See the New Hampshire Judicial Branch’s Find a Court site to determine the best court for filing your divorce.

How Much Is New Hampshire’s Filing Fee for Divorce?

The filing fee in New Hampshire for a divorce without minor children is $250. For a divorce with minor children, the fee is $252. You will also need to pay a $25 fee to request new orders of notice (including a summons). (“Orders of notice” are orders from the court that apply to both you and your spouse after the divorce is filed. They contain instructions for how to serve your spouse with the court paperwork.)

What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?

If you can’t afford to pay the divorce filing fee, you can file a Motion to Waive Filing Fees. If the court grants your motion, you won’t have to pay the filing fees or service fees for your divorce. You will have to provide the court with a sworn financial statement with your motion.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in New Hampshire?

Unlike some states, New Hampshire doesn’t have a “waiting period” between when you file your divorce and when the court can start processing it. New Hampshire courts can begin processing divorce cases as soon as the time has passed for the non-filing spouse to respond to the petition. This means that your uncontested divorce will be complete as soon as the court has capacity to finalize it.

How Can I Get More Help With New Hampshire Online Divorce?

New Hampshire 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our New Hampshire Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).

Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about New Hampshire law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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