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Parents in divorce or parenting actions involving children under the age of 18 will attend a First Appearance session soon after their case is filed at a family division court.

Information about the court process and the important role of parents in this process is presented at the First Appearance Session. At the end of the session, parents schedule the next event in their case - either a case manager conference, mediation, or a court hearing. Attendance by parents at the First Appearance session is required, unless specifically excused by the court.

(To see what a First Appearance Session looks like, please click on First Appearance Session to watch a video)

Pursuant to the NH Family Division Rule 2.11:

A. A First Appearance will be held within 30 days after service has been accomplished in divorces and legal separations in which there are minor children and in parenting petition cases. At First Appearance, a judge will give information about the court process and mediation. Before the parties leave First Appearance, the court will schedule mediation or the next court event.

B. Attendance by both parents is required, and is expected at the same First Appearance, unless good cause exists to allow separate attendance. If a protective order pertaining to the parents is in effect, each parent shall attend a separate First Appearance. Attendance by attorneys is encouraged but optional.

C. If parties or their counsel believe unique circumstances exist pertaining to their attendance at First Appearance, motions to be excused from attending First Appearance, in which the unique circumstances are specifically described, may be filed.

To view the Court’s Process Map after First Appearance please CLICK HERE.

If you find yourself facing A Divorce OR Family Law matter, please reach out to an Attorney who focuses their practice in the area of Divorce & Family Law.

To contact a New Hampshire Divorce & Family Law Attorney, please CLICK HERE or Call (603) 225-1114. Contact Information: Jeffrey A. Runge, Esquire Family Legal Services, P.C. Bio: CLICK HERE AVVO: CLICK HERE Direct Telephone: (603) 225-1135 Email: Website:

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