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Bar Journal - December 1, 1999



This issue of the New Hampshire Bar Journal represents the final edition of our Bar Association's journal publication this century. The topic of family law is well chosen for the occasion. The administration of justice for our children and families has been a priority of our Bar Association since its inception. In this edition, many authors look back to the historical roots of family law jurisprudence and trace its progress over the years. Others look ahead as they discuss the emerging legal issues that reflect the growing complexities and challenges facing the family law practitioner entering the 21st century.

Marie-Helene Bailinson discusses the upcoming revisions to New Hampshire's domestic violence law, NH RSA 173-B, with particular focus on the legislative history of the new revisions. From her position within the Legislative Office Building, she provides a unique perspective on how the legislative process influenced these significant developments related to domestic violence protection.

In recognition of the growing reliance on mediation in domestic relations cases, Patti Blanchette and Marcia Kovalik address the recent emergence of case law challenging the validity of privately mediated divorce settlements. They offer sound advice for practitioners and mediators who may encounter attacks on the validity of settlement agreements reached through the mediation process.

The next two articles, authored by John Cameron, Carolyn Garvey and Honey Hastings, touch upon both the origins and future outlook of child custody in the courts. In her article, "Custodial Rights in New Hampshire: History and Current Law," Attorney Hastings offers an historical chronology and comprehensive overview of New Hampshire statutes and case law addressing child custody. Attorneys Cameron and Garvey consider the growing prevalence of relocation in child custody disputes. They survey the existing New Hampshire case law, as well as the varied standards employed by other jurisdictions when considering the relocation of the primary residence of a child.

David Phillips discusses the Supreme Court's recent opinions in the Estate of Rita Croteau v. George D. Croteau, in which the Court re-visited the interpretation and construction of real property conveyances in divorce decrees. Kirsten Wilson, in her article entitled "Filial Responsibility - A New Look at an Old Legal Concept," suggests that we reconsider the concept of a legal obligation of familial support for our elderly. She compares various statutory models designed to ensure that family members make financial contributions within their means in order to care for our aging population.

David Adams, M.Ed., analyzes the often difficult task faced by the judicial system in identifying the perpetrators of domestic abuse. Based on his research, he provides a descriptive profile of the abusive husband, in an effort to assist those who encounter battered women subject to manipulative patterns of abuse. Eric G. Mart, Ph.D, in his article "Joint Physical Custody - What We Know," offers a mental health perspective on various models used to determine child custody arrangements. He provides guidance for counselors and guardians ad litem in answering the elusive question of what is in a particular child's best interest.

In customary fashion, it is only fitting that the Bar Journal concludes this edition and transitions into the new millennium through Charles DeGrandpre's Lex Loci survey of recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decisions.

We extend a special thanks to Andrew Schuman, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Class of 2000, for his editorial assistance. Our authors benefited greatly from Andrew's careful eye and editorial commentary. We hope that Andrew's participation in this edition may spark yet another collaborative relationship between the Bar Journal and Franklin Pierce Law Center.

The Author

Michael A. Delaney, Attorney, Criminal Justice Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General, Concord, New Hampshire.

The Author

Attorney Mark H. Puffer is a partner with the firm of Barto & Puffer, Concord, New Hampshire.

The Editor

Andrew Schuman, Class of 2000, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, New Hampshire.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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