Archive for Divorce Law & Family Law News

What Will Happen to Our Joint Property?

NH Divorce Advice

In New Hampshire divorce law there is a statute that says that the court shall divide marital property in a manner that is equitable under all of the circumstances.  Oftentimes, but not always, “equitable” means “equal.”  The statute goes on to list numerous exceptions when an unequal division of marital property may be justified.  They include circumstances such as when one party has a substantially higher ability to earn a livelihood going into the future, when the basis for the divorce is fault grounds, or when one party has substantially contributed to the accumulation of marital property.

Marital property is loosely defined as property whose value has been accumulated during the period of marriage.  It is not important in this analysis whose name the asset is titled in.

Are you considering divorce in New Hampshire? The attorneys at Weibrecht & Reis, PLLC are available to consult on divorce, family mediation and legal separation,  and can help with your questions about joint property and division of assets. Click here to contact Weibrecht & Reis, PLLC now.

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How Do We Tell Our Kids We Are Getting a Divorce?

NH Collaborative Divorce

This is a great question for any parents considering divorce,  and it really is an issue that is worth thinking through before you act.

Although there may be animosity between you and your spouse, in most cases it is best for the children if the two of you can work together to strategize about what to say to the children. Divorce or separation can be a time of great transition and instability for the kids, and so it’s very important for children to feel safe and certain in their relationships with you as parents.

Once you decide with certainty that you are planning to divorce, you should discuss what you want to say to your children. The more the two of you can come together as a united front, the better the difficult conversation about your divorce is going to be for your children. (more…)

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What If I’m Not Ready? How Does Legal Separation Differ from Divorce?

NH Divorce Advice

Is Legal Separation an Option?

Absolutely. If you and your spouse want the legal protections provided by a divorce in NH but don’t want the finality of a divorce just yet, you do have the option to get what is called a legal separation in NH. A legal separation provides many of the protections of a divorce in New Hampshire, with respect to dividing property and separating debt and establishing parenting rights, and has the flexibility to either become a divorce down the road or be withdrawn in the event the parties wish to pursue reconciliation.

The process of getting a legal separation is very similar to getting divorced in that decisions must be made about property division, child support, spousal support, and parenting rights and responsibilities. The difference is that, at the end of the process, the parties are still legally married. After parties are legally separated, if they want to change their legal separation to a divorce, they can do so and with minimal administrative detail and cost. People choose this option for varied reasons: some have emotional or religious reasons for wanting to avoid divorce; some have practical reasons, such as remaining insured through an employer’s health insurance policy. Whatever the reason may be for you, consider exploring the option with an attorney.

If you have questions, NH divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht is available to consult on legal separation issues in NH.

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Is Your Anger Too Raw? Or Is Amicable Divorce Still An Option?

Amicable Divorce in NH

When you’ve come to the realization that a divorce is inevitable, there are still many ways you can have an amicable divorce.

Consider your options on a spectrum. At one end is the highest level of involvement by the court or a judge. At the other end is the lowest level of court involvement.

The simplest divorce process is a purely uncontested divorce without lawyers where the two of you discuss and decide all of the different issues necessary for your divorce. Sometimes parties do this type of divorce in NH when there are no children and their assets are very straightforward. Although the least expensive option, reaching agreements in your divorce without the help of a lawyer has great risks and is not recommended except in the simplest of cases.

Mediation, Collaborative Divorce or Divorce Court?

Further down the spectrum is third party involvement and facilitation. For example, if you and your spouse have so much tension between you that you can’t discuss divorce issues without arguing, if you can’t reach agreements, or if you’re simply overwhelmed with all the different information and decisions to be made, then getting a third party involved might be a good option for you. Within this category is mediation or collaborative divorce.

Mediation is a process in which parties work with a trained divorce mediator who acts as coach and neutral facilitator. A mediator can help keep you on track as you work through the many decisions necessary for divorce and can help the two of you keep your discussions productive and civil.  An experienced divorce mediator can help the two of you avoid getting “stuck” on emotionally charged issues and can help keep the conversation going. Although not permitted to give legal advice, a mediator who has experience in the divorce system brings a wealth of “legal information” to the process to help the parties navigate this unfamiliar territory.  For more information about Mediation, click here.

Collaborative Divorce may be right for you if you like the idea of third-party facilitation but it feels important to you to have a lawyer involved throughout the process.  Collaborative Divorce is a technique that has enjoyed great success in other parts of the country and that is becoming more wide-spread in New Hampshire.  Collaborative Divorce takes the best features of mediation – trained facilitation during a series of round table discussions – and incorporates legal advocacy and the support of other professionals from fields such as mental health and financial planning.  For more information about Collaborative Divorce, click here.

Finally, at the far end of the spectrum is a fully litigated or court-based divorce. By “litigated,” I mean a divorce in which parties who are unable to reach their own agreements on issues, argue their different positions to a marital master/judge, who then makes the final decisions for them.  Traditionally, all divorces were divorces litigated through the court-process.  The Family Law system now recognizes, however, that except in rare cases, the majority of divorce cases fare better in the non-adversarial processes, such as mediation or Collaborative Divorce.  Litigated divorce, while an important option for those rare cases that require it, generally costs much more in legal fees, takes longer from start to finish, increases animosity between the parties, provides less control for the parties, and results in a higher dissatisfaction rate, which then leads to more litigation in the future.  Most notably, for couples who will continue to co-parent children long after their divorce, the animosity that results from litigated divorce does harm to their ability to effectively co-parent their children.

Amicable Divorce? What If I Can Barely Talk to My Spouse Right Now?

Actually, it’s very rare that a couple reaches the point where they know divorce is imminent and there isn’t some degree of anger between them. With this said, anger is not at all a disqualifying factor for achieving an amicable divorce, whether through mediation or collaborative divorce. In fact, the victory of most cooperatively resolved divorces is that despite their anger, couples were able to come together enough to take control of their divorce decisions and work for the benefit of the children.  Most couples are appropriate for some type of “cooperative” divorce process, and it’s the exceptional case, such as situations involving substance abuse or mental illness, where a cooperative option wouldn’t be appropriate.

Do you have questions? Wondering what your options are? Contact NH Divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht today.

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If Divorce is Inevitable, What Steps Should You Take?

NH-Divorce-First-Steps

I can’t say enough how important it is to consider the next steps after you decide to go through with a divorce in NH. In the traditional model of divorce, the answer is commonly that you should talk with a lawyer about how to protect yourself from the other party and affirmatively get the upper hand. Common tactics include filing for divorce stealthily and before your spouse has a chance to file first.

Nowadays, there is a good deal of professional and institutional support for parties in a divorce to use the least adversarial process necessary to protect their legal interests. A more amicable divorce allows the parties to maintain a productive relationship. This is especially important when children are involved and parents need a healthy and productive co-parenting relationship throughout their children’s lives. A highly adversarial divorce can do irreparable damage to co-parents’ relationships, not to mention the financial and emotional cost it takes on you and your spouse. (more…)

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NH Collaborative Law Alliance Annual Meeting

The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire hosted a successful annual meeting of its membership at the McLane firm in Manchester, drawing 40 members. Catherine Kligler of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council, presented on the development of local practice groups. NH divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht has been a board member of the CLANH since 2010. Her practice areas include alternative dispute resolution, divorce mediation and divorce law.
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NH Alternative Dispute Resolution Alliance Hosts Symposium

NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick was the keynote speaker for a Symposium on the Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution in NH, hosted by  the Alternative Dispute Resolution Alliance on June 9, 2010. NH divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht has been a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Alliance since 2009.

Sponsored by three partner organizations – the New Hampshire Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, the New Hampshire Conflict Resolution Association, and the New Hampshire Judicial Branch Office of Mediation and Arbitration – the ADR Alliance is advised by a 12-member committee that includes Chief Justice Broderick; Jim Roche, President of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association; Dr. Oglesby Young, former President of the New Hampshire Medical Society; John Hutson, President of the Franklin Pierce Law Center; and Lela Love, Professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

The symposium was the Alliance’s first public forum and it gathered interested professionals to consider the future of ADR in NH. A significant number of ADR professionals and participants attended the Symposium and heard presentations from eight speakers on the many faces of ADR. The Symposium also included small-group brainstorming sessions to foster discussions on more coordinated development of ADR in New Hampshire. (more…)

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Kim Weibrecht to Serve On Dispute Resolution Section for NH Bar Association

ADR for the NH Bar Association

Kimberly Weibrecht, a NH divorce lawyer practicing in Portsmouth and Dover, NH was recently nominated to serve as co-chairperson of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section.

The section of the NH Bar provides a forum for discussing alternative dispute resolution in NH, including training for mediator/arbitrators, ethical rule issues, mediation rules such as the adoption of the Uniform Mediation Act, rules for the Rule 170 mediators, and mediation rules for probate courts and marital courts. This section also keeps the Bar informed about alternative dispute resolution procedures, rules, and precedents nationally and internationally.

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NH Divorce Attorney Takes Part in Collaborative Law Alliance Training

Attorney Kim Weibrecht, a NH divorce attorney focusing on collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution, recently took part in a successful 12-hour training through the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire.

Attorney Weibrecht is a member of the Board of CLANH, which hosted the training on Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice for 40 new and veteran collaborative professionals.  The Alliance brought trainers from Maryland for the event.

“The number of family law attorneys in New Hampshire getting trained in Collaborative Divorce is a sign that we are gaining momentum.  We still have a ways to go before Collaborative Divorce is as well utilized as it is in most other parts of the country, but we are getting there,” Weibrecht said. “I look forward to future collaborative law learning opportunities from CLANH.”

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NH Divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht Joins Collaborative Law Board

Collaborative Law NH

NH Divorce Attorney Kimberly Weibrecht has been nominated to sit on the Board of the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire (CLANH).

A statewide organization of collaborative professionals that oversees training and membership of collaborative professionals in New Hampshire, the Collaborative Law Alliance includes more than 60 trained members.

“It is an honor to be nominated to serve on the Board of the Collaborative Law Alliance of NH,” Weibrecht said. “This organization is committed to providing NH families access to peaceful dispute resolution and I’m proud to be involved in this effort.”

CLANH is a New Hampshire voluntary corporation governed by a board of directors. It was formed by a handful of members of the New Hampshire Bar in 1998 who had too often seen the damage done to families through the litigation process, and who  enthusiastically mobilized upon learning of the alternative originated by Stu Webb in Minnesota. We have trained over 100 lawyers to resolve disputes collaboratively. In 2010, we expanded to include mental health professionals and financial planners in our membership. CLANH is a member organization of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and is proud to be a part of furthering that organization’s goal, Resolving Disputes Respectfully.

Have questions about collaborative divorce? Feel free to contact Attorney Kim Weibrecht for more information on collaborative law or collaborative divorce in NH.

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Kim Weibrecht To Serve On NH Public Defender Board

NH Divorce Attorney Kim Weibrecht has been nominated to sit on the Board of the New Hampshire Public Defender, a private, nonprofit corporation which offers New Hampshire a cost-effective means of providing high-quality, reliable representation to indigent defendants.

Kim formerly served as a trial attorney for the NH Public Defender in Strafford County for three years.

“The work of the NH Public Defender is something I’ve long supported,” Attorney Weibrecht said. “I feel privileged to have an opportunity to give back and support the important mission of this organization by serving in an advisory capacity.”

The New Hampshire Public Defender provides affordable criminal defense services and is one of the largest law firms in the state. It is among the most well regarded public defender programs in the country. The program’s attorneys serve clients facing criminal and delinquency prosecution who cannot afford to retain private counsel.  The attorneys work out of nine offices throughout NH. The NH Public Defender’s administrative offices are located in Concord.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Alliance Taps Attorney Kim Weibrecht

Kimberly Weibrecht, a divorce lawyer serving Portsmouth and Dover, NH has been invited to join the Alternative Dispute Resolution Alliance (ADRA).

The ADR Alliance is an independent group of mediation professionals and representatives from the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution section, the New Hampshire Conflict Resolution Association, and the New Hampshire Judicial Branch’s Office Of Mediation and Arbitration.  The group’s focus is on improving the future of ADR in New Hampshire through strategic planning and coordination.

If you’re wondering about alternative dispute resolution, Attorney Weibrecht is available to answer questions about ADR as a strategy to resolve divorce or family law issues. Contact her by email.

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Maintain Your Sanity During Divorce

Divorce Collaborative.com – Norfolk, MA   May 17, 2009

“Everyone knows that a divorce is stressful, but there are some steps you can take to better manage the anxiety surrounding the process.    I was orginally going to call this post  “The Top 10 Ways to Maintain Your Divorce Sanity”  but I really felt the need to have #11…”  Read full article.

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Collaborative divorce: A kinder, gentler process

NH Collaborative Divorce

Orlando Sentinel – Orlando, FL    May 18, 2009

“You’ve heard of happily married, but is it possible to have a happy divorce?
 A growing number of lawyers — including some who’ve spent careers brawling in divorce court — say yes.  They’re disciples of “collaborative divorce,” which tries to bring civility and cooperation to the traditionally bitter battle over the kids, family home and Grandma’s silver….”  Read full article.

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Divorce can carry short-term and future costs

Houston Chronicle – Houston, TX, USA   May 31, 2009

The old line goes it’s cheap to get married but expensive to get divorced. . . . There are, of course, alternatives to DIY divorce that are not as costly as traditional divorce scenarios where both spouses lawyer-up and prepare for a court battle.

These are mediated and collaborative divorces. Read more

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Five Things Every Married Woman Needs to Hear About Divorce

Forbes – NY, USA   June 3, 2009

“Not many people enter marriage thinking it will lead to divorce. While accurate divorce rates are difficult to calculate and often unreliable, many social scientists conclude that up to 40% of marriages are terminated. The chances are fairly high that you or someone you know will get divorced….”  Read full article.

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Community mediators resolve disputes, improve quality of life

The Olympian — Seattle, WA    June 14, 2009

It’s always interesting to see collaborative law and mediation practices in other parts of the country. The Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County, WA started 18 years ago and has been quietly empowering people to resolve their own conflicts without lawyers or courts. It saves city and county taxpayers more than $100,000 by mediating divorces and diverting commercial disputes away from Small Claims Court…  Read full article.

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