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Case Results

Case Result - Grandparent Visitation

Procedural Posture

The grandmother was granted visitation by the 9th Circuit, Manchester Family Division Court (New Hampshire) under NH Rev. Stat. Ann. §461-A:13. Prior to Attorney Browne’s involvement the child’s mother cut-off all contact between the grandmother and minor child. The paternal Grandmother’s son was not able to exercise his own parenting time due to extenuating circumstances. Grandmother then retained the Law Office of Shaunna L. Browne, PLLC and petitioned the Court for grandparent visitation wherein she sought visitation based upon the best interests of the child. The child’s mother opposed the grandmother’s petition and was looking for the grandmother to be awarded no visitation at all. Both parties were not opposed to having a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) appointed. A GAL was appointed in the matter, however, the child’s mother failed to participate in the GAL investigation.

Overview

The paternal grandmother had previously been involved in the minor child’s life since the time of her birth. The grandmother would see the child several times a week including overnight visits. There was a period of time that the child was in the care of a third party care taker, during which the grandmother continued to have regular contact and visitation with her grandchild. When the child’s mother regained residential responsibility she immediately terminated any and all contact between the paternal grandmother and child. Due to other extenuating circumstances the grandmother believed that the only way to be able to continue a meaningful relationship with her grandchild was to seek grandparent visitation through the Court. In an effort to assist the Court in determining whether or not the granting of grandparent visitation was in the child’s best interest, the grandmother requested the appointment of a GAL. Even though the child’s mother opposed any and all contact between the grandmother and child, she agreed to the appointment of a GAL, but then failed to participate in the GAL’s investigation.

Outcome

At the hearing on the grandmother’s petition for grandparent visitation, the Court found that it would be in the child’s best interest to continue to have a relationship with the grandmother. The Court awarded limited visitation wherein the grandmother was awarded one visit per month to take place between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The grandmother experienced significant interference by the mother which resulted in several missed visits. The grandmother filed a motion for contempt and after hearing the Court awarded increased the grandmother’s visitation to include overnights and vacation time.

With the assistance of the Law Firm of Shaunna L. Browne, PLLC, the paternal grandmother was able to obtain a Court Order which allows her ongoing monthly overnight visitation with her grandchild as well as vacation time.

Case Result - Alleged fault, unequal division of assets, alimony, and settlement through mediation

Procedural Posture

Petitioner Husband filed a petition for divorce based on irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a.  Respondent Wife filed an answer requesting that the Court grant a divorce based on the fault grounds of N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7 II, adultery, and N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7 V, treatment to seriously injure health or endanger reason.  Attorney Browne assisted Petitioner Husband, and the parties were able to amicably resolve their divorce through mediation.  The parties were granted a divorce by the 9th Circuit, Goffstown Family Division Court (New Hampshire) on the no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a

Overview

The parties were married for 19 years and have three children, with the youngest child being only six (6) years old.  Husband worked full-time to provide for the family, and Wife stayed at home as a caretaker for the children.  Throughout the marriage, the parties acquired numerous marital assets, including a house, vehicles, bank accounts, and retirement accounts.  Due to the length of the marriage and the fault based grounds for divorce, Respondent Wife was seeking a substantial amount of long-term alimony until she reached the applicable age for retirement (approximately 15 years), and a disproportionate distribution of marital assets.  Petitioner Husband was opposed to long-term alimony due to Wife’s voluntary unemployment and her ability to obtain gainful employment prior to reaching retirement age.  Husband also contested a disproportionate distribution of the marital assets, and instead pursued an equitable division of the assets that would be fair to both parties.

Outcome

After the parties second session of mediation, they were able to reach an agreement to submit to the Court for approval as a Final Divorce Decree.  The parties stipulated to sell the marital home and split the proceeds equally, keep their respective vehicles, keep possession of their own bank accounts, and divide Husband’s retirement account in an equitable manner based on the value acquired during the marriage.  Husband agreed to pay a reasonable amount of alimony (less than half of spouse’s initial demands) for a total of 7 years, 5 years at a set amount followed by 2 years at a significantly lower amount.  The parties agreed to joint decision making responsibility and a parenting plan that will allow Husband to spend parenting time with the children when he’s not traveling for work.  The Court accepted the parties’ agreed upon Final Divorce Decree and granted the parties a divorce on the no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a

 

Case Result - Relocation of child in New Hampshire

Procedural Posture

Petitioner Wife filed a petition for divorce based on irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a.  Prior to the final hearing, Wife filed a Motion for Relocation to obtain the Court’s permission to move the parties’ child from New Hampshire to Rhode Island.  Respondent Husband opposed this move, arguing that it would severely disrupt his parenting time with the child.  The parties were granted a divorce by the 9th Circuit, Manchester Family Division Court (New Hampshire) on the grounds of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a.  In the Final Decree, the Court found that it would be in the best interest of the child to allow the relocation to Rhode Island.

Overview

The parties were married for 12 years, during which they resided in New Hampshire.  Husband and Wife have one child.  Throughout the parties’ marriage, both Husband and Wife worked, and Wife was the primary caretaker of the child.  At the temporary hearing, the Court awarded Wife primary residential responsibility.  Husband was given parenting time two nights during the week and was ordered to pay child support.  After the order, Husband failed to pay child support.  Wife needed more financial support to raise the parties’ child, so she filed a motion to relocate with the child to Rhode Island to be closer to her family and support network.  Wife asserted that relocating with the child would be in the child’s best interest.  She argued that relocating would provide both the child and Wife needed support from Wife’s extended family, Wife and the child would have a place to live until Wife could afford a home, the child had a connection with friends and family in Rhode Island, the child would receive a better education from the school system in Rhode Island, and the possibility of Wife obtaining gainful employment in Rhode Island was high.  Wife also contended that a parenting schedule in which Husband had parenting time with the child every other weekend would provide more quality time for the child and Husband to spend together since the child is usually in school during Husband’s parenting time.  Husband opposed Wife’s relocation with the child, stating that it would not be in the child’s best interest to relocate because it would limit his parenting time with the child.

Outcome

At the final hearing, the Court granted Wife’s Motion to Relocate.  Even though they found that the distance between Rhode Island and New Hampshire might be inconvenient, the Court recognized that it was not inconceivable.  The Court found that it would be in the child’s best interest to relocate even though it would have an impact on Husband’s parenting time.  The Court noted that a new schedule that permitted Husband to have the child every other weekend, with extra time during the holidays and summer, would ensure continued development of the parent-child relationship.  The Court granted the parties’ a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a, and allowed Wife and the child to relocate after the current school year concluded.

 

Case Result - Divorce

Procedural Posture

The parties were granted a divorce by the 9th Circuit, Merrimack Family Division Court (New Hampshire) on the ground of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a.  Prior to Attorney Browne’s involvement, at the Temporary Hearing, the trial court granted primary residential responsibility of the parties’ minor child to Petitioner Wife, granted primary residential responsibility of Respondent Husband’s minor child to Wife, granted joint decision making responsibility for the parties’ minor child and Husband’s minor child to both parties, granted minimal parenting time to Husband for both minor children with no overnight stays, allowed Wife to remain in the marital home, awarded Wife a substantial amount of child support, and ordered Husband to continue to pay for marital expenses.  Husband argued that granting primary residential responsibility of his minor child from a prior marriage was a violation of his constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental right to raise his child.  Husband also argued that he should be awarded his home as well as other property owned prior to the marriage, and that he should not be required to pay alimony due to the short-term length of the marriage and Wife’s voluntary unemployment.

Overview

Prior to the parties’ marriage, Husband had primary residential responsibility of his minor child from a previous marriage.  During the parties’ marriage, the parties’ had one child.  Throughout the entirety of the parties’ marriage, Husband worked to provide for the family, and Wife stayed home to take care of the children, but Wife never adopted Husband’s minor child from a prior marriage.  During the marriage, Husband routinely participated in parental responsibilities for the minor children.  At the Temporary Hearing, Wife used Husband’s prior conviction as a means of isolating him from the parties’ minor child and Husband’s child from a prior marriage.  The court appointed a Guardian ad Litem to assess the parenting abilities of each parent and make a Parenting Plan suggestion to the court before the Final Hearing.  The trial court temporarily granted Petitioner Wife primary residential responsibility of the parties’ minor child, granted Wife primary residential responsibility of Respondent Husband’s minor child from a prior marriage, granted Husband minimal parenting time with no overnight stays, and granted joint decision making responsibility of both minor children.

The parties had a short-term marriage, which lasted for 6 years.  Prior to the parties’ marriage, Husband earned a college degree, worked full-time in Massachusetts, had a retirement account and stock investments, possessed multiple vehicles, and several years before the marriage purchased a home in New Hampshire.  Prior to the parties’ marriage, Wife earned a college degree, conducted her own business from home, had savings/retirement accounts, lived in a furnished apartment, had one vehicle, and during the divorce process began taking classes online to earn a Master’s Degree.  Throughout the parties’ marriage, Husband continued to work in Massachusetts, Wife stayed at home to care for the minor children, and both of the parties and the minor children resided in Husband’s home in New Hampshire.

Outcome

At the Final Hearing, the trial court vacated the Temporary Order.  The court adopted the Guardian ad Litem’s Parenting Plan.  The court found that Husband’s prior conviction had no bearing on his ability to parent his minor children.  The court ordered primary residential and decision making responsibility of Respondent Husband’s minor child to Husband, and awarded Petitioner Wife step-parent visitation.  The court ordered joint residential and decision making responsibility of the parties’ minor child.  The court ordered Husband to pay child support to Wife with the calculations based on joint residential responsibility of the parties’ minor child, Husband’s income, and Wife’s earning potential.  The court imputed an income for Wife due to her voluntary unemployment.  The court also adopted Respondent Husband’s Final Decree of Petition for Divorce subject to minor alterations from the court.  The court ordered an equitable division of marital property.  The court ordered Wife to vacate the home and awarded full title to Husband free and clear of any interest of Wife.  The court ordered that Wife keep her vehicle, Husband keep his vehicles, and ordered the parties’ to share the profits from the sale of other minor marital assets.  Since the parties had a short-term marriage, Husband was only required to share with Wife the amounts of his retirement account and stocks that accrued during the 6 years that the parties were married, and Wife was not awarded alimony.  The court granted the parties’ a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §458:7-a