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Rockingham County Child Custody Attorneys

Help with Complex Child Custody Matters

There are always difficult decisions to be made during a divorce, but deciding how to care for the children can create the most emotional stress and conflict. Having experienced legal counsel can be the key to a successful outcome for everyone involved. For nearly two decades, the team at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., has been assisting clients in navigating this difficult yet important process.

At our law firm, we understand that there is more to a Rockingham County parenting action than just the legal issues. Both parents deserve to be heard and considered when determining how coparenting will be addressed in the future. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our concern is reaching an agreement that meets the needs of both parents while providing the best possible outcome for the children involved.

Types of Child Custody in New Hampshire

New Hampshire encourages joint parenting responsibility between both parents, and that includes joint decision-making. In general, there are three types of child custody arrangements:

  • Shared physical and legal custody means that the child lives with both parents and that both parents are involved in the decision-making for the child. This is the arrangement New Hampshire prefers.
  • Sole physical custody and shared legal custody means that the child lives with one parent who is responsible for making the daily decisions for the child, but both parents share decision-making responsibility for major decisions in the child’s life.
  • Sole physical and legal custody means that the child lives with one parent and that parent makes all of the decisions in the child’s life. Usually, this arrangement is put in place if one parent presents a danger to the child’s well-being, either physically or emotionally.

Rockingham County, NH, has four family courts: Brentwood, Derry, Portsmouth, and Salem. Each one covers a different jurisdiction, so where you file your parenting petition will depend on your street address—specifically, where your child lived within six months prior to the commencement of the proceedings.

Factors Used in Determining Custody

The judge will take a great deal of information into consideration when determining child custody. In New Hampshire, this includes:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent and parent’s ability to nurture, love, guide, etc.
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
  • The child’s developmental needs and each parent’s ability to meet them.
  • The child’s adjustment to school and community and any potential effects from a change.
  • Each parent’s ability to promote a positive and frequent relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Each parent’s support for the child’s relationship with the other parent, including whether that contact could result in harm to child or parent.
  • The child’s relationship with any other person who may “significantly” affect the child.
  • Each parent’s ability to communicate and cooperate with the other to make joint decisions for the child.
  • Any evidence of abuse from either parent, and the impact of the abuse on the child.
  • If a parent is incarcerated, the reason for the incarceration.

Judges may look at any other information or factors they deem relevant to the case and make a final decision. The child’s own preferences may be considered, if he or she is mature enough to make them.

Visitation in New Hampshire

“Visitation” is the schedule of times when a child is seeing the parent that he or she does not live with. In many cases, the parents work out an amicable schedule between themselves and adhere to the schedule in a “good faith” manner. If the parents cannot reach an agreement for visitation, the courts can institute a process of either reasonable visitation upon reasonable notice or supervised visitation. With either of these processes in place, the courts can monitor the ongoing arrangement.

Making Changes to a Child Custody Order

The goal of any child custody agreement is to achieve the best living arrangement possible for the child, meant to provide long-term stability in the child’s life. But there are instances when a modification of parental rights and responsibilities can be requested. Some factors may include a parent relocating, or a parent who repeatedly interferes with the existing custody arrangement. These requests for a child custody modification must be heard by a judge, and the court will issue a ruling based on the evidence.

At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we’re here to provide parents with a good understanding of their rights and how the Rockingham County family courts make decisions when it comes to their children. Contact our legal team today for a free consultation at (978) 327-5140. Our office is located in Methuen, a quick hop across the border. Call today, and put your New Hampshire custody case in experienced hands.