Bar News - October 17, 2008
Family Division Adds Sites in Hillsborough and Cheshire Counties
By: Gina Apicelli
The New Hampshire Supreme Court and the Judicial Branch Family Division have announced the next three courts for Family Division expansion: Goffstown, Jaffrey/Peterborough, and Manchester. With these Hillsborough and Cheshire county openings, the Judicial Branch Family Division will be operational in 25 court locations, with at least one family division located in each New Hampshire county.
Family Division Jurisdiction: The Judicial Branch Family Division has subject matter jurisdiction over a range of cases in family matters as set forth in RSA 490-D:2. In general terms, the family division hears actions for divorce, legal separation, civil union dissolution, parenting, domestic violence protection, delinquency, CHINS, abuse/neglect, termination of parental rights, guardianship of minors, and in adoption actions which relate to any of the following: abuse/neglect, guardianship, or termination of parental rights proceedings.
Family Division Transitions -
Sites, Expected Dates
Goffstown District Court - Covering Francestown, Goffstown, New Boston, Weare - mid-Jan 2009
Jaffrey/Peterboro District Court -Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Jaffrey, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Rindge, Sharon, Temple - May 2009 (approx.)
Manchester District Court - Covering city of Manchester and, pending legislative approval on temporary bases, Amherst, Bedford, Lyndeborough and Mont Vernon - late 2009.
Future sites for Family Division: Merrimack, Milford, Nashua, Keene – TBD.
Operational Dates: As the family division becomes operational in new locations, except in the limited circumstances as allowed under RSA 490-D:2, all pending matters of family division subject matter jurisdiction and specific geographic jurisdiction (see below) which were filed in the probate, superior, and district courts will be transferred to new family division locations. Pursuant to RSA 490-D:5, the operational dates for each family division location will be set by order of the Supreme Court.
Goffstown Family Division: The Goffstown Family Division will open when the Goffstown District Court transitions into its new location in the Bouchard Building, 329 Mast Road, Goffstown. The anticipated timeframe for the District Court transition and the Family Division opening is mid-January 2009. A specific date will be announced once the renovations at the Bouchard Building are closer to completion. The towns that will have pending superior court, probate court, and district court cases flowing into the Goffstown Family Division are Francestown, Goffstown, New Boston, and Weare. From the opening day forward, all new family division matters arising in these towns shall be filed in the Goffstown Family Division.
Jaffrey/Peterborough Family Division: The Jaffrey/Peterborough Family Division will open in the Jaffrey/Peterborough District Court in (approximately) May 2009. The towns whose family division case types will flow into the Jaffrey/Peterborough Family Division include: Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Jaffrey, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Rindge, Sharon, and Temple.
Manchester Family Division: The Manchester Family Division will open in the Manchester District Court building in late 2009. The Manchester Family Division will be on the first floor, in a section of the building which is being renovated for this purpose. Family Division cases from the city of Manchester will flow into the Manchester Family Division. Pending legislative approval, all marital cases from the towns of Amherst, Bedford, Lyndeborough, and Mont Vernon which are currently heard by the superior court, will be heard temporarily in the Manchester Family Division. Ultimately, cases from these four towns will be heard in new family division locations when they open in Merrimack and Milford during the next phase of the family division expansion.
Questions about the Goffstown, Jaffrey/Peterborough, and Manchester Family Division expansion efforts should be directed to Family Division Administrator Gina Apicelli at 603-271-6418.