The COVID-19 virus has not only caused illness and panic, it has caused cancellations and delays in the vital services provided by the New Hampshire Family Court. Families in distress look to the Family Court to resolve and guide them through difficult and sometimes life altering circumstances. Disruption in the Family Court schedule is another unfortunate by-product of the virus on the people of New Hampshire.
Fortunately, the Family Division remains open on a restricted basis, providing crucial services to families in need. While the suspension of in-person hearings remain through May 3, 2020 and/or the last day of the Declared State of Emergency, the Circuit Court, which includes the Family Court, remains open for in-person hearings for the following issues:
- Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including bail-related matters, trials and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals.
- Requests for orders of protection for domestic violence under RSA 173-B, stalking under RSA 633:3-a and juvenile abuse under RSA 169-C:7-a, and hearings on such orders.
- Requests for child-related emergency orders in divorce/parenting cases under RSA 461-A and hearings on any emergency relief ordered.
- Temporary hearings in divorce/parenting cases.
- Hearings on the establishment or modification of child support.
- Division for Children, Youth and Families’ requests for emergency orders and hearings on such orders, as well as other hearings in RSA 169-C cases if children are in out-of-home placement.
- Requests for detention or placement of a juvenile under RSA 169-B and all hearings in RSA 169-B cases for juveniles who are detained or in an out-of-home placement.
- Requests for placement of a juvenile under RSA 169-D and all hearings in RSA 169-D cases in which the juvenile is in an out-of-home placement.
- Proceedings related to petitions for temporary emergency injunctive relief.
- Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders, including Involuntary Emergency Admission and Involuntary Admission (probate commitment) proceedings under RSA 135-C.
- Requests for emergency orders in minor guardianship cases under RSA 463 or guardianship over incapacitated persons under RSA 464-A, and hearings on such orders.
- Requests for emergency relief under RSA 540-A in landlord/tenant matters and hearings on such orders.
- Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Other exceptions as approved by the Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
The Family Division will conduct most of the above hearings telephonically. Additionally, the Family Court may conduct telephonic hearings for issues not identified above at the court’s discretion. If you are currently scheduled for a hearing, you should contact the Family Division at (855) 212-1234 before going to the courthouse.
Since 1889, the lawyers at Hamblett & Kerrigan have been serving the citizens of New Hampshire, through some of our nation’s most difficult times, such as the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, two World Wars, the Great Depression, September 11, 2001, and many other national crises. Hamblett & Kerrigan was with the citizens of New Hampshire then and we are here to serve you now.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.