Filing for divorce or legal separation can be one of the most trying times in a person's life. Such a serious transformation of your relationship with your partner changes your life in many ways. If you have children, a divorce or legal separation becomes all the more complicated. In addition, there are certain steps to follow for filing in accordance with New Hampshire law. However, before taking any action, you may want to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you determine whether you would benefit more from a divorce or legal separation. A lawyer can also evaluate the specifics of your situation to develop a plan focused on your best interests and a favorable solution.Requirements for Divorce or Legal Separation
In order to file for divorce or legal separation in New Hampshire, the following, which also applies in regard to civil union dissolution, must apply:
- Both parties live in New Hampshire.
- The spouse beginning the action (the petitioner) has resided in New Hampshire for at least one year.
- The petitioner lives in New Hampshire and his or her spouse can be served with papers in New Hampshire.
Even if you and your spouse don't agree on the division of property or the parental rights and responsibilities, if you both agree on getting divorced or legally separated, then you can file a Joint Petition. Filing a Joint Petition will help to begin the process without having to pay the fees for the formal service of legal papers. On the other hand, a petition can be filed by one individual for divorce or legal separation.
It's not unheard of for divorcing or separating spouses to compromise and agree on how to resolve the matters at hand. However, it's common for disagreements to create rifts in communication, therefore lengthening the duration of proceedings.Difference Between Divorce & Legal Separation
For the most part, a legal separation is the same as a divorce; both require final custody, child support, child visitation, division of family assets and debts, and in some instances, alimony orders, to be established. However, there is a major difference; under a legal separation, you are still legally married and a partner isn't permitted to take back his or her former name. Typically, legal separations and divorces cost the same amount, require the same life-altering decisions, and take as long to resolve.
For some individuals, a legal separation is preferred in relation to religious beliefs and moral values against an actual divorce. Moreover, some health insurance plans provided by an individual's employer may still provide benefits for a spouse in a legal separation, but not in a divorce.Serious Points of Consideration
When filing for divorce or legal separation, there are countless points that you must take into account. You only get one chance to file, so it's important to do it right and with your future in mind. Some factors to consider include the following:
- Parenting Plan and Uniform Support Order
- Tax Exemptions for Children
- Guardian ad Litem Fees (court appointed individual to recommend what would be in the best interests of the child or children)
- Health Insurance for Spouse
- Life Insurance
- Motor Vehicles
- Furniture and Other Personal Property
- Retirement Plans and Other Tax-Deferred Assets
- Other Financial Assets (checking and/or savings bank accounts, credit union accounts, certificates of deposits, stocks, bonds)
- Business Interests of the Parties
- Division of Debt
For some, the decision to file for divorce or legal separation is the hardest part of the process; for others, it's the easiest. Dividing up your life isn't simple, and neither is starting over, but you don't have to go through this alone. The New Hampshire divorce lawyers at The Anzalone Law Firm combine sensitive counsel and aggressive representation to implement a reasonable and effective plan of action. We strive to get our clients the results they need and the fresh start they deserve to better their lives. For a free consultation, call us today.