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Divorce, Prenuptial Agreements and Family Law in New Hampshire and MA

Rich Clark prefers to handle his clients divorce litigation objectively and timely. For the past two years Rich has completed the majority of his clients divorces within 65 days of first meeting the client. Divorce boils down to two primary parts- money and a parenting plan. Rich has litigated small estates of divorcing New Hampshire clients to multimillion asset high net worth estates. Whether the marital estate is large or small, complex or simple, they are all divided similarly. If you prefer to limit the acrimony and needless delay causing your divorce litigation to continue for years- Rich is the divorce attorney you want.

Whether you are considering filing for divorce or are already a party to a divorce proceeding, you want an attorney who knows the law and the process, but who also understands the emotional challenges you face. You want a lawyer who will work hard to alleviate the stress and anxiety you feel while taking all the steps to protect your rights. Divorce sucks, so lets handle it objectively and get it done.

At Clark & Assoc, LLP, we provide one-on-one advice to men and women throughout the New Hampshire and in Massachusetts who are involved in a divorce. We place a high priority on responsiveness, making certain we keep you fully informed of all developments in your case and answering your questions or concerns on a timely basis. We will work hard to negotiate a settlement, if doing so is in your best interests, but are also willing to take your case to trial to protect your rights when needed.

Our Divorce and Family Law Practice

We represent clients throughout the divorce process, from the initial filing through negotiated settlements or trial to post-judgment requests for modification or enforcement. We handle all matters arising out of divorce, including:

  • Child custody and visitation. We will help you work out custody and visitation arrangements that are in the best interests of your children. We will also seek to protect your role as a parent, ensuring that you get to participate in decisions about education, medical treatment and religious training.
  • Child support. We will review all proposed child support orders for compliance with state guidelines and to ensure that all relevant income is included in the calculation.
  • Spousal support or alimony. We will work with you to determine whether spousal support is necessary and, if so, how much should be paid and for how long.
  • Distribution of marital assets. We will assist you with the equitable distribution of marital property, including real estate, bank accounts and investments, retirement fund and business interests.
  • Marital Home- sale, division of equity to allowing one spouse to acquire the interest of the other spouse.
  • Prenuptial Agreements. Prenuptial agreements are legal and enforceable in New Hampshire when they are done right. Rich Clark will draft and negotiate the terms of your prenuptial agreement. These are often used to deal with assets owned by each party, alimony, retirement accounts, pensions, homes, and conditions should a divorce occur. Rich has completed prenuptial agreements for clients with multimillion dollar estates to those that just want to protect their family property in case a divorce should occur. Rich will require the prenuptial agreement be signed by all parties long before the wedding. He also requires the other party to meet certain other conditions so the prenuptial agreement is valid and enforceable. One of the most common mistakes is failure to list all assets which are incorporated in the Prenuptial Agreement as an exhibit.

If you are planning to get married and are either bringing substantial assets into the marriage or have children by a previous marriage, we can help you protect those assets in the event of a divorce or separation. We will help you prepare and put in place a prenuptial agreement that specifies the division of property upon divorce or separation.

The New Hampshire Divorce Process

The rules and laws related to NH divorce change regularly. This is only a brief overview and not intended for legal reliance. You should retain an experienced NH divorce attorney and seek counsel for specifics associated with your case.

Before filing for divorce in New Hampshire, you must verify NH has jurisdiction. To qualify for a NH divorce you must meet one of three criteria:
1) both parties reside in New Hampshire,
2) the individual first to file for divorce (the Petitioner), has lived in NH for one year, or
3) the Petitioner lives in New Hampshire and the other recipient party (the Respondent) can be served with papers in NH.

An individual can file for divorce by completing the Petition for Divorce along with the Personal Data Sheet. The Court will notify the Respondent by mail. The recipient usually receives service of the Petition for Divorce by accepting the Divorce Petition at the Family Court. The filing may be served by certified mail, or Sheriff service.

New Hampshire divorce rules usually require a first set of initial disclosures called Rule 1.25-A. The deadlines to provide the Rule 1.25-A discovery must be adhered to. To be 1.25-A Rule compliant you should begin gathering the list of documents early in the proceeding. These disclosures will allow the parties to identify assets, valuations, property and allow the parties to split them. These documents are not filed with the Court. For more information on Rule 1.25-A, click here

The “First Appearance Session” is usually the first hearing after the divorce is filed. Lawyers do not appear with their clients for this hearing. During the First Appearance the judge or marital master will explain the divorce process and impact to children. If you have a minor child you should register for the Child Impact Program before the First Appearance. You must adhere to Child Impact Program deadlines.

Some of the most contested issues are child custody issues. Attorney Rich Clark argues custody cases before all NH Family Courts. He works with his clients and the opposing party to agree upon a NH Parenting Plan when possible. To get court ordered child support you must complete a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. In 2013, there were changes to the Child Support Guidelines which became effective July 1, 2013.

Court-ordered child support may be modified anytime by the person paying or receiving child support based on a substantial change in circumstances. If three years have passed since the last child support order was issued, either party may file a Petition to Change Court Order without the need to establish a substantial change in circumstances. Click the link above to see the form.

Some cases Attorney Clark handles require the use of a guardian ad litem(GAL) when the parents can't agree on a parenting plan for the party's children. Attorney Clark drafts and files the necessary motion seeking the Court to order a GAL to investigate and provide the Court with its findings. Attorney Clark addresses who is to pay for the GAL within his motion before the Court. The GAL is the child's advocate and will meet the child, parents, relevant friends and family. After this is completed the GAL will provide the Court with an interim or final written report with the GAL's findings and recommendations. The recommendations are used along with other evidence for the Court to determine the Final Custody arrangement.

Typically the first formal hearing is the Temporary Order Hearing. Don't be fooled by thinking it will have temporary implications. The Temporary Order that comes form the Temporary Hearing will be effective until the divorce is finalized or upon modification by the Court. This will address spousal support, alimony, who pays all existing bills, health insurance, bank accounts, child support, car use, who remains in the marital home, and other issues. The divorce video above explains the Temporary Order Hearing in further detail.

Every case is different. There are times Attorney Clark will use the assistance of a neutral third party, a mediator when it's appropriate. Sometimes the parties can limit issues or use a mediator list provided by Attorney Clark to finalize the matter. When the opposing party is acting unreasonable and mediation is not an option, Attorney Clark will argue divorce proceedings before the Court and have the judge decide the matter.

Parental Alienation in New Hampshire Custody Cases and False Accusations of Physical or Sexual Assault – Attorney Rich Clark is an expert in this area and has experience in both causes.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent intentionally causes the other parent to limit or have no contact with the divorcing parties children. This is commonly done where one parent continues to tell the parties child the innocent parent is bad. It also occurs when the disparaging parent falsely accuses the innocent parent of things the innocent parent never did such as false allegations of physical or sexual abuse. Typically, the disparaging parent will make a worse allegation when one fails to achieve their goal. These are commonly done by NH Family Court motions for exclusive custody or false allegations used in restraining orders of domestic protection where a relief requested is exclusive custody of the parties children.

The allegations often originate shortly after a divorce has been filed. NH Family Courts may identify them as suspect in timing but rarely hold the false reporting parent accountable. Suddenly the disparaging parent states they don't know who their spouse is after being married to them for ten or twenty years and petition the NH Family Court for the innocent parent to be removed from the marital home, have no contact or supervised visitation at a parenting support center, pay alimony, child support and numerous expenses. Most often the falsely reporting parent will never be held accountable in any capacity.

The innocent parent is often questioned by DCYF, the NH State Department that investigates allegations propounded by a parent falsifying abuse allegations. These reports are often sent to local law enforcement even though they are often concluded to be “unfounded” by DCYF. The police then investigate and question the innocent parent. Most prosecutors have no experience or training in NH Family Courts where they only have knowledge relative to NH criminal court proceedings. An innocent parent can be arrested or indicted, then have to defend themselves in criminal court for these false accusations.

What can an innocent parent do in NH if they are battling false allegations in criminal courts, NH Family Courts, a DCYF complaint – all while having no or minimal contact with their children? The innocent parent should find a tough lawyer experienced in fighting all of them at once. If your children are more important to you than anything, you will likely endure a long-term litigation path. These cases are disgusting and Attorney Rich Clark will aggressively represent clients that are falsely accused of accusations that prevent a parent contact with their children.

Child Impact Program

All parties involved in a divorce, or actions involving parental rights and responsibilities and child support are required by law to attend a CHILD IMPACT PROGRAM. This is a four-hour informational seminar on how to help children deal with issues surrounding divorce, separation and parental rights and responsibilities. The seminar provides strategies, ideas and tools for helping children. Parents may attend the course separately or together. For more information, visit our NH Child Impact Program page.

Parental Alienation and False Accusations of Physical or Sexual abuse in New Hampshire child custody cases during a divorce are common in New Hampshire. The majority of false accusations are against fathers in New Hampshire. The false allegations are used by a parent to increase time with a child, attack the innocent parent, ask for a more equity in the marital estate, request child support, acquire other financial incentives, and prejudice the innocent parent. Often an innocent parent is also charged with a crime in New Hampshire. These false allegations typically become first "known" at the commencement of a divorce filing or custody dispute. Courts typically find the false allegations suspect but rarely hold the false accuser accountable. When you first become aware of false allegations during a divorce process, you should immediately find an attorney that is experienced in false accusation. Attorney Rich Clark is an expert in handling parental alienation and false accusations of physical or sexual abuse in New Hampshire relative to divorce and criminal charges. 


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