Family Law: Divorce and Custody
Divorce, custody, and other domestic disputes can result in the most stressful and emotionally draining conflicts our clients and their families face. We are ready to help you through this difficult period in your life. We seek client centered solutions and believe in the importance of keeping our clients up to date and aware of every facet of their case so that they may make informed decisions regarding their future.
Whether you are dealing with a contested divorce involving complex financial issues, alimony, a parenting or custody dispute, an uncontested divorce, or a post-divorce issue, we will work with you to resolve your case quickly and fairly to enable you to take control of your future and help control your legal costs. We practice in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
David Sayward is a litigator with over 35 years of experience in civil litigation and domestic relations. In David’s domestic relations practice, he is a firm believer in thorough preparation, sensitivity to his clients who are going through a very emotionally difficult time, and in attempting to settle divorce cases to enable his clients to control their futures and legal costs. On the other hand, David is fully capable and prepared to litigate cases, if a reasonable settlement cannot be achieved.
Anthony Muir joined the firm as an associate in 2015. Anthony graduated from UNH Law as a member of the Daniel Webster Scholars Honors Program and served as an officer on UNH Law Review. Anthony puts treating his clients with compassion and respect at the forefront of his practice. Anthony believes in allowing his clients to control their own destinies and he works intelligently and diligently towards obtaining the settlement or verdict his clients desire and deserve.
Some of the Services We Provide
-Contested Divorce Litigation
-Drafting and Filing Documents for Uncontested Divorce
-Representation at Divorce Mediation
-Divorce Decree Modifications
-Drafting Parenting Plans
-Parenting Plan and Custody Modifications
-Child Support and Child Support Modifications
-Prenuptual and Postnuptual Agreements
-Domestic Violence Petitions
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is Getting Divorced Expensive?
This is a question we are asked frequently. The unfortunate answer is “it depends.” The cost of divorce varies based on the complexity of the case. More complex cases may include fault matters, complex financial and debt division, and contentious custody issues. However, cases may be more affordable where the issues are simpler or where both parties are committed to coming to an amicable resolution in an “uncontested divorce.” We are firm believers in our clients controlling the outcomes and costs of their cases. No matter the complexity, David and Anthony are committed to working in an efficient, thoughtful, and cost effective manner to reduce legal expenses and to produce the results their clients deserve.
Q. How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced?
The length of time it takes to get divorced varies depending on the complexity of the case and the likelihood that the parties will come to a settlement. In New Hampshire, if both spouses are in agreement as to the key terms of a divorce and file jointly for an agreed upon final decree, the divorce may become final in less than a month. On the other hand, a contested divorce with complex financial and custody issues could take more than a year depending on the needed discovery and the court’s schedule. Massachusetts divorces tend to take longer on average than New Hampshire divorces.
Q. What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party is required to state specific grounds for divorce other than that irreconcilable differences that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. The majority of divorces in New Hampshire are no-fault because no-fault divorces do not require specific proof of a wrongful action on the part of one of the parties. In some situations it may make sense to petition for a finding of fault on the part of your spouse. New Hampshire recognizes the following fault grounds: 1) impotence; 2) adultery; 3) extreme cruelty; 4) conviction of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; 5) treatment so as to seriously endanger health or reason; 6) abandonment for a period of 2 or more years; 7) habitual drunkenness for a period of 2 or more years; 8) a spouse refuses to live with the other for a period of 2 or more years; and 9) when one party joins a religious sect or society that believes the relations between husband and wife are unlawful and who refuses to cohabit for a period of 6 months or longer.
Q. Will I Get Alimony?
Whether an individual will be entitled to alimony is a complicated analysis. Alimony is now gender-neutral and is governed by RSA 458:19 in New Hampshire. Put simply, alimony requires both a “need” for alimony on the part of the person requesting it and an “ability to pay” by the person paying it. New Hampshire’s legislature has put forward a number of factors courts must consider in determining whether to order alimony, which are as follows: length of the marriage; the age, health, social or economic status, occupation, amount and sources of income, the property awarded, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties; the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income; the fault of either party; and the federal tax consequences of the order.