New Hampshire Divorce Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the New Hampshire Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner or Co-Petitioner

The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent or Co-Petitioner

The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name:
The State of New Hampshire, Superior Court in and for ___________ County

The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of New Hampshire. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document:
Petition for Divorce or Joint Petition for Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the New Hampshire Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document:
Decree of Divorce

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the New Hampshire Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
County Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

The grounds for legal separation (limited divorce) in New Hampshire are the same as for divorce: (1) the spouse filing for legal separation must have been a resident of New Hampshire for 1 year or (2) the cause of legal separation must have arisen in New Hampshire and 1 of the spouses must be living in New Hampshire when the action for legal separation is filed for. [New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated; Chapters 458:5, 458:6, 458:7, 458:7a, and 458:26].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable New Hampshire law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.