In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding family law, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
Collaborative Law Efforts Mark the Rapidly Changing Face of New Hampshire Family Law
The ongoing crisis faced by New Hampshire family courts has been well publicized, and new measures are now being taken to resolve the current issues at hand. The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire has recently announced a new initiative to address the severe shortage of judicial officers available to witness family law cases. The current Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin E. Kelly recently issued the following statement to the New Hampshire Bar Association:
"The Circuit Court will be selecting locations and cases for continuances to accommodate the shortfall of judicial officers. This allows us to give those courts most impacted by the marital master shortage at least some marital hearing time.
I also encourage you to work collaboratively with each other to settle the cases that you can either on your own or using alternative dispute resolution methods, and if you do to notify our courts immediately so that hearing time can be given to others who are waiting."
For those who are not familiar with the CLANH, it is an association comprised of mental health practitioners, financial professionals, and family law attorneys who promote a method of practicing family law that encourages parties to cooperate with one another outside of the courtroom. The primary aim of this approach is to ensure that the interests of the children involved in such cases are protected and that the emotional damage and financial damage caused by such drawn out conflicts is minimized.
In the majority of cases, each party involved in a divorce case, from unmarried parents to minor children, can benefit from this method of practice. Children are shielded from emotional damage, and their confidential information is protected from the scrutinizing eye of the public. Furthermore, the authentic needs of each party are met in a carefully and peacefully structured agreement, especially when it comes to disabled children. The courtroom atmosphere can often promote an attitude of warfare among battling parties, but the collaborative law approach encourages each party to discuss their differences and needs based upon a model of effective communication and respect.
As more and more families and state family court systems discover what collaborative practice has to offer, it is quickly becoming the preferred method of family law practice for everything from divorce to child support agreements to parenting modifications. These issues are often fraught with emotion, and when decisions are made based solely on emotion, the results can often be devastating for all involved.
As aforementioned in Judge Kelly’s statement, because issues are resolved in a private manner, collaborative law is an effective method for resolving both parties’ issues without requiring comprehensive representation of an attorney. In collaborative law, when a dispute first arises, the New Hampshire family law lawyers pledge not to go immediately to court. Furthermore, the lawyers and families are provided with the assistance of professional experts in the financial and emotional aspects of a case to determine the best outcome for all parties involved. This provides the parties with access to resources that they would not otherwise have if the case was resolved in a court of law.
Once an agreement has been reached outside of the court system, the final paperwork is submitted to the New Hampshire family court for final approval. From start to finish, the need for court hearings is eliminated. Thus, it is not difficult for one to see the basis of its appeal. This new approach to family law is growing quickly in the state of New Hampshire, and the state has been holding frequent training sessions throughout the last year to train new groups of professionals. Currently, more than 80 New Hampshire family law attorneys have undergone this training, which fully certifies them to operate collaborative law cases under state law.
All indicators point to the fact that collaborative law is now going to become the de facto method of practicing family law in New Hampshire; however, it is still important for all parties involved to ensure that they are represented by experienced, professional family law attorneys, and this is where our firm can provide assistance.
If you have a current case that is pending in the state court system, please contact us today. Over the years, we have successfully handled hundreds of family court cases in New Hampshire, and ensuring that you are provided with professional representation. Your initial consultation is free. We look forward to working with you in the future.
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