How to Safeguard Your Family Business in Divorce

By Jacqueline A. Leary (Botchman) (co-written by Gena B. Lavallee)

As published in NH Bar News (November 2019)

The end of marriage can spell the end of a married couple’s business relationship.

In family businesses, particularly those owned and operated by married couples, boundaries are often blurred between the affairs of the family and the management and ownership of the business.  The finances of the family and those of the business are closely tied.  Although familial bonds often lead to great success in businesses, there are challenges associated with the family business structure.  Well drafted, protective, contractual provisions can help keep the family business operating and allow management and employees to remain focused on the day-to-day operations of the business, particularly in the midst of an emotionally charged divorce between the owner-operators of a company.

To read the full article, click here.

Litigating Your Divorce: It Doesn’t Have to be That Way

By David DePuy

The New Hampshire statutes and court rules set forth the procedures for initiating and litigating a divorce proceeding beginning with the filing of a Petition by the Petitioner and an Answer by the Respondent.  Thereafter, the Court rules govern the divorce litigation process.  Litigation of a divorce is expensive, time consuming and can drag on for a year or longer.  While the aim of divorce litigation is to obtain a just resolution of the breakup of the marriage, by opening the door to the courthouse, the parties wind up spending a lot of money contesting matters that, although felt to be of great importance at the time, are often transient, involving issues which are temporary and often increase the hostility of the proceedings.  Words spoken cannot be taken back and those that are put in written pleadings are forever memorialized.  Furthermore, the court rules set deadlines with regard to discovery, including the submission of interrogatories, requests for production of documents, taking depositions, production of expert reports, the automatic disclosure of a host of financial records, including 6 months of credit card statements, 12 months of bank account statements, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and other records.  For business owners the automatic disclosure rule, family Court Rule 1.25-A, requires the disclosure of monthly, quarterly and year-to-date financial statements, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets for the year that the divorce petition is filed and year-end financial statements for the prior year.  All such documents are to be produced within the earlier of 45 days from the service of the divorce petition or 10 days prior to the first hearing.  That first hearing is usually the temporary hearing.

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New Law Changes Treatment of Trust Interest in Divorce

By Jacqueline A. Botchman

As published in NH Bar News (November 2017)

Your divorce client advises you that her parents, who are well off, have likely provided for her in their trusts and she is concerned that her husband may share in her potential inheritance. What do you advise her?

In New Hampshire, marital property includes “all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties.” RSA 458:16-a (emphasis added).

To read the full article, click here.

McLane Middleton Hosts CLANH Annual Meeting

By David DePuy (originally published 10/27/2015)

The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire’s (CLANH) annual meeting was held at McLane Middleton on September 17, 2015.  The firm is a big supporter of CLANH’s work, and are proud to have been able to host the event again this year.

As part of the event, attorney Honey Hastings was recognized with the John Cameron award.  We congratulate Honey and appreciate her continued dedication to the collaborative law movement.

Divorce Is A Two Step Proceeding: Don’t Get Bogged Down in Temporary Matters

By David DePuy (originally published 1/5/2015)

Divorce is really a two step process. The second step is the ultimate resolution of all issues on a permanent, basis, either following a trial or by agreement, as to all issues involved, including property division, alimony, child support and parenting issues.It is the first step of divorce proceedings involving temporary matters where the parties can easily go astray. Continue reading

Prenuptial Agreements: Set Forth Your Marital Rights by Agreement Not by Default

By David DePuy (originally published 4/24/2014)

When you tie the knot in New Hampshire (or anywhere), there are certain rights and responsibilities that are imposed upon you and your spouse by law.  Those legal obligations are, in effect, default provisions in the event you and your intended have not provided otherwise by agreement.  Instead of having your marital rights and responsibilities determined by the State according to laws passed by the State Legislature that apply to everyone, couples entering into marriage may instead determine their rights and responsibilities in an agreement written by them.  Such prenuptial agreements may address almost any matter the parties wish, other than their rights and obligations with regard to children.

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Postnuptial Agreements – Changing the Rules After Marriage

By David DePuy (originally published 3/13/2014)

The New Hampshire Supreme Court, in a landmark decision (In Re: Estate of Richard B. Wilber), has confirmed that agreements made between spouses after marriage are valid and enforceable in New Hampshire.  The questionable validity of agreements determining rights of each spouse in property of the other upon death or divorce has now been laid to rest.  The Court in the Wilber case followed the trend of other states which recognize such agreements, finding that they are, in essence, subject to the same requirements as agreements entered into by parties prior to marriage, so-called prenuptial agreements.  Continue reading