Parenting in the Holiday Season

Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Collaborative Law, Divorce, Family Law, Parenting Rights & Custody

As we approach the holidays, tensions can run high amongst family members; that may be especially true for divorced or separated parents.  As parents we want the holiday season to be filled with joy for our children as well as for ourselves.  We reflect back on our holidays during our own childhood and strive to replicate the joy or replace what may be our own difficult memories with beautiful memories for our own children.  For parents that are newly divorced or separated this time of year may be even more stressful as the pain of loss of the once intact family feels ever present.  One of the best gifts that divorced parents can give their children is a peaceful holiday season.  As difficult as it may be for you, the parent, it is more difficult for your children.  They feel the painful loss as well, and want nothing more than to be able to spend time with both parents as well as extended family and friends.  Those events and activities that make up our holiday traditions are important to them as well.  So, while it may be difficult it is likely best if you are able to negotiate the holiday schedule well in advance of the holiday itself.  Respect both families and extended families and their traditions, and above all, remember that your children are a piece of both parents and an appreciation and respect for all family members will show your children how to negotiate and resolve conflict in the most positive way. A Lesson from Dickens for Co-Parents this Holiday...

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Alimony modifications

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Alimony, Family Law

Alimony it is one of the most difficult issues that we grapple with in a divorce.  If a case is appropriate for alimony (meaning one spouse has a need for financial support to get to a point of self-sufficiency and the other spouse has the ability to meet that need) the most difficult questions for spouses, lawyers and judges is how much alimony should be paid, and for how long.  Unlike child support, there is no formula to determine what is appropriate, rather it is a judgment made based on the specific facts of the individual case. Alimony can also be modified; in New Hampshire in order to modify an alimony award an individual must prove that there has been a substantial and unforeseeable change of circumstances that makes the current alimony award either improper or unfair.  That is a standard that has been described as difficult, and a high burden to meet.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court has recently clarified that this standard for modification does not apply to cases where an extension or renewal of alimony is being requested.  Rather, if an individual is asking the court to extend the length of time an alimony award will last, the standard is lower and is described by the Court as “to establish that justice requires a renewal or extension”  See, In the matter of John Lyon and Kimberly Lyon, 2013-401, slip op. (May, 2014)....

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Child Support Referee

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Child Support

If you are modifying a child support order in New Hampshire, chances are when you go to court you will appear before a child support referee.  What is a child support referee and what types of authority do they have are questions that many people have when they first arrive in court.  The first thing you will notice is that the Child Support Referee does not wear a black robe, and does not sit on the judges bench.  In fact, most child support referee hearings are held in the courtroom, but sitting at a table.  The authority of the child support referee comes from RSA 490-F:15.  Referee’s are attorney’s who have been appointed by the Court to hear cases of child support, medical support, paternity and other child support related matters.  The child support referee hearing proceeds much like any other hearing in a Family Division courtroom – both parties have an opportunity to speak, to present their case with testimony and evidence then the child support referee will make a decision.  A decision is not made that day, but the information is taken in by the child support referee, considered and then they make a recommendation to  a marital master or judge and the Court Order is entered.  If you are dissatisfied with the Court’s order, you cannot appeal to a judge or a marital master.  Like any other family division case, you are entitled to file for a reconsideration of the order within 10 days, and if you are still dissatisfied an appeal to the NH Supreme Court is your...

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