For my New Hampshire clients, here’s the update: Currently, the Courts are closed. You may not go to the court, but the Family Division is conducting some of the court’s business behind closed doors. Here’s what to expect:
- In an emergency situation, you will likely be assigned a hearing by telephone for the court to rule on the emergency issue.
- For certain matters, the court may hold a telephonic hearing rather than further delaying the process. Thus far, I have seen the Court schedule structuring conferences and temporary hearings by telephone.
- Some courts are issuing final orders when parties submit agreements for the court’s approval. If you are able to negotiate a Final Decree or Final Parenting Plan, you can submit all applicable documents to the court for approval. If acceptable, the Court can issue Orders. Translation: With an agreement, you might be able to complete your case even with a court closure.
- Many courts are processing new cases and issuing summonses for service.
So, do you need an attorney during court closure? Absolutely. For most cases, progress can be made. Even if you are not in the midst of the case where a hearing is upcoming, you can use this time wisely to some progress on your case even within the court closure in NH. Your attorney can begin to prepare the initial pleadings for a case. He or she may be able to negotiate certain provisions of support or parenting (or otherwise) that will make your situation better. Also, there is always work to be done in a case: financial disclosure, discovery, business evaluations, etc. that can be worked on during closures to make good use of the time. Even if the court is closed, having an attorney assist you is so important. Most importantly, you should not go through this alone. Having an attorney by your side removes the stress and anxiety associated with your case and gives you the peace of mind to know that your case is focused and stable. Where everything is so uncertain, you will have one major life event under control.