New Hampshire Jurisdiction
Before starting any divorce action, the first thing you should do is evaluate whether New Hampshire is the appropriate jurisdiction. A New Hampshire court can dissolve your marriage if you and your wife both live within the state at the time you file the divorce petition. If your wife currently lives outside the state, you can still file for divorce in New Hampshire if you’ve resided there for at least one year. However, if you’ve been living in New Hampshire for less than one year, the only other way you can file for divorce there is if your wife can be served with the divorce petition in New Hampshire—meaning that she is physically present in the state.
Grounds for Divorce
New Hampshire recognizes a number of legal grounds for which you can file for divorce from your wife. You have grounds for divorce if your wife is unable to engage in sexual relations with you; if she has committed adultery; if she engages in behavior that is extremely cruel or dangerous to your health; if she has been in prison for more than one year; if she refuses to share a home or abandons you for at least two years; if she becomes a member of a cult or religious group that views marriage as an unlawful activity; or if she suffers from alcoholism for at least two years of your marriage. However, New Hampshire will also allow you to divorce your wife when you have irreconcilable differences.
Filing Divorce Petition
There are two types of divorce petitions that New Hampshire allows you to file to commence divorce proceedings. If your wife agrees to the divorce and doesn’t contest it, you should file a joint petition for divorce. However, if your wife is unaware that you are filing for divorce or advises you that she will be contesting it, you need to file a regular divorce petition. If you have children together, be sure that you attend the four-hour seminar on how a divorce affects children, which is required in all New Hampshire divorce actions involving children.
Where to File
Sometimes figuring out at which courthouse to file your petition can be more confusing than filling out the petition itself. If you live in Cheshire or Southern Hillsborough County, you need to file your petition in the Cheshire Superior Court or the Hillsborough Superior Court South. For all other counties of residence, you will file the divorce petition in your local circuit court.