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            Until 2012, the burden of proof to terminate a guardianship of a child was placed upon the parent to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision was no longer necessary to provide for the child’s essential physical and safety and that terminating the guardianship would not adversely impact the child’s psychological well-being. Then, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on In the Matter of
Nuclear families often have annual holiday traditions. A family may spend each Thanksgiving with paternal grandparents, Easter with a favorite uncle and Christmas Eve at church services with maternal grandparents. Kids look forward to these annual traditions. However, if parents divorce, kids are split, often into alternating holidays. A traditional holiday parenting schedule may look something like this: Easter: even years with mom, odd years with dad 9 am to 6 pm July 4th: even…
On August 23, 2016, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued an opinion in Ross and Ross. It is a fascinating case about adultery and new relationships during a divorce. The outcome is a cautionary tale for persons seeking fault grounds for divorce.   The Facts Husband and wife met in dental school and later married. Husband, who had his own endodontist practice, helped his wife open and build her orthodontist practice. Considerable money was put into the venture. The…
In my years practicing family law, I have heard a lot of misconceptions about what is marital property. While the definition of marital property may differ between states, in New Hampshire marital property is anything and everything owned by the parties. I hear questions such as “Only my name is on the house, so that is off the table right?” Wrong. It does not matter how the house is titled. It can be in either…
I appreciate when judges talk to the parties at the end of the hearing. Today, following a hearing regarding disagreements about unilateral decision making and information sharing, the judge told the parties to ask themselves: Would you want to know? It is the perfect question for self-reflection in co-parenting.  If a doctor needed to be selected for your child, would you want to have input? If your children were traveling by airplane to a different…
Over the years, I have had several clients come to me with issues regarding the retroactivity of a child support modification. These situations have included circumstances such as informal modifications of child support which were never filed with the court to demands from the other parent to make a modification retroactive to the date of a substantial change, such as a child turning 18 or graduating from high school, without any pending petition to modify.…
The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued its opinion In the Matter of Mary Sheys and Eric Blackburn on July 15, 2015.  The Facts Mother and father married in 2005. They had two children during their marriage. When they divorced in New Hampshire in 2009, the parties agreed on a parenting plan providing mother with primary residential responsibility. Father exercised parenting time every other weekend, two afternoons per week and two weeks in the summer. In…
After you receive the GAL report and read it, your first instinct might be to share the document with family, friends and perhaps professionals such as therapists or teachers. It is important to hold back on this urge because the GAL report is confidential. Circuit Court Rule 2.15 states: “Written reports of the guardian ad litem shall be kept in an envelope marked confidential within the court file, and shall only be disclosed to parties…
A court will look to many factors under RSA 461-A:6 when making an initial determination of parental rights and responsibilities. Provided that each parent is capable of providing a safe, loving home, one of the most important factors that will be considered is the ability of each parent to support the relationship of the children with the other parent. Three specific factors under the statute read: “The ability and disposition of each parent to foster…
In the Matter of Susan Spenard and David Spenard was decided on October 17, 2014 The Facts Husband and Wife married in 1998. During the marriage the Husband worked in real estate and owned several businesses and the Wife worked as an entertainer. Before the parties’ divorce decree was issued, the Husband sold a promissory note that he had failed to disclose on his financial affidavit. During the divorce trial, the Wife argued that she…