Parenting Petitions

Parental Rights Attorneys

In New Hampshire, the Family Division generally handles parental rights cases for unwed parents.  However, the Court does not divide assets and liabilities, which is common in divorce cases.  Instead, the Court focuses on issues related specifically to the children.  And this includes child support and parenting responsibilities.  The Court considers the best interests of the children when it issues parenting plans.

To start a parenting case, you must file a parenting petition. If you agree, you can file a joint parenting petition.  Once you  file a petition and serve the other parent, the Court schedules a first appearance session.   Then the Court sends the parties to either a case manager conference, mediation, or a court hearing.

The parties then exchange documents to obtain information about each other’s finances.  This process  includes mandatory disclosures of financial information pursuant to Court Rule 1.25-A. The mandatory disclosure requirements in parenting cases are much less exhaustive than in a divorce. The parties can send interrogatories, request the additional documents, and take depositions.  The parties may then come to an agreement.  This means the parties can make their own parenting plan .

However, if the parties cannot resolve their outstanding issues by agreement, the Court will hold a trial and will resolve all outstanding issues based on that hearing. The Court hears the parties’ arguments and crafts a parenting plan based on those arguments and on the best interests of the children.  If a party does not agree with the outcome of his or her hearing, he or she may appeal the decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

If you’re not married, your parenting case begins with a Parenting Petition.  Let the family law attorneys of Cohen & Winters help you — contact us today for a free consultation of your situation.