Devine Millimet | NH Law Firm

THINKING ABOUT FILING FOR DIVORCE?

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by the court.  Oftentimes, it is a confusing, emotional, and complicated process.  You will have to make difficult decisions regarding issues such as the division of your marital property, parenting time with your children, and the payment of child support and alimony.  That being said, there are several things you can do to make the process easier and less stressful. 

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY

            It is important that you have a competent attorney to assist you with preparing for a divorce.  The decisions you make prior to initiating a divorce can make a tremendous difference in the divorce process.  They can be the difference between an inexpensive amicable divorce versus a more expensive contested divorce.  The difference between an amicable divorce versus a contested divorce can be literally thousands of dollars in legal fees.  A contested divorce can also negatively impact your physical and mental health, as well as the physical and mental health of any children. 

KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN

            Divorce is emotional.  In many cases, divorces involve underlying issues such as infidelity, physical or mental abuse, or even addiction.  It is imperative that you treat your soon-to-be ex-spouse with dignity and respect.  If it is at all possible, and does not pose a threat to your safety, keep the lines of communication open.  There may be emotionally charged times during your divorce.  If you can communicate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you can diffuse the situation and avoid expensive litigation.  Open and respectful communication will prevent your relationship from becoming toxic, which will benefit you and any children during the divorce. 

PROTECT YOUR EMAIL

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse likely has access to your mail, e-mail, phone, and social media accounts.  If you intend to communicate confidentially with your attorney via email, then you want to ensure that your email is private.  You can create a new email account and/or change the password on your prior individual email account.

GATHER LEGAL DOCUMENTS

            In New Hampshire, after a divorce is filed, the spouses involved must exchange certain financial records.   These are called mandatory disclosures.  The disclosures consist mainly financial information and are set forth in New Hampshire Family Division Rule 1.25-A.  Prior to filing a divorce, it is helpful to gather:

      a.    The past three years’ of personal and business tax returns;

      b.    The four most recent paystubs and year end paystub for the prior year;

      c.    Documentation regarding employment benefits, including documents confirming the cost and status of medical and dental insurance, documents relating to any retirement benefits, and any other benefits offered at their employment;

      d.    Documentation regarding any life insurance policies for the past twelve months, including any declaration pages, beneficiary designation forms, and most recent statements regarding cash, surrender, and loan value;

      e.    Documentation regarding any credit or loan applications, or other sworn statement of assets and liabilities prepared for you and/or your soon-to-be ex-spouse, over the past twelve months; and

      f.    Any written prenuptial or written postnuptial agreement signed by you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.


You will also need to exchange statements for your bank accounts, financial accounts (e.g. investment accounts, 401K accounts, IRA accounts, and pension plans), and credit cards.  If possible, prior to filing for divorce, you should identify all of these accounts and credits cards and gather:

      g.    Statements for your bank accounts for the past twelve months;

      h.    Statements for your financial accounts for the past twelve months; and

      i.    Statements for your credit cards for the past six months.


Finally, although not required to be exchanged pursuant to Family Division Rule 1.25-A, a spouse seeking a divorce may want to obtain copies of any estate planning documents, such as any wills and trusts in existence.  The spouse seeking a divorce will likely want to disinherit their soon-to-be ex-spouse from these documents. 

            Please contact our office if we can assist you with an upcoming divorce.

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