A recent amendment to the New Hampshire Family Division Rules requires that parties automatically disclose certain financial documents shortly after a divorce proceeding is commenced. These include a completed financial affidavit, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, applications for loans, documentation showing the cost of health insurance, and 401k or investment statements. A complete listing of the materials required under the mandatory disclosure is found in N.H. Fam. Div. 1.25-A.
The mandatory disclosure must be exchanged on the earlier of two dates: 45 days after the opposing side is served with the Petition for Divorce or 10 days prior to the first hearing in the case.
The purpose of a mandatory disclosure is to lessen the cost of divorce litigation by reducing the number of discovery requests that a party has to send to the other side. It is also intended to ensure that both parties have a fairly complete picture of the finances prior to the first substantive hearing.
People who are contemplating a divorce would be well advised to review this rule (it can be found online at the state judicial website) and gather copies of these documents (do not take the only copy as this could raise the suspicion that one side is intentionally sabotaging the other’s discovery) and bring them to the first meeting you have with your attorney. This will enable your attorney to more quickly come to grips with the financial issues at stake in this case and to give you a preliminary projection on such things as an appropriate child support amount or the likelihood of an alimony award. For spouses who have not been involved with the couple’s finances during the marriage, obtaining and reviewing these documents may also serve as a “reality check” as to the other side’s representations of the parties’ financial strengths or earnings.
If you have any questions regarding the Rule 1.25-A Mandatory Disclosures or any part of the divorce process, please contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan.
Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at [email protected].