A “First Appearance” occurs in a New Hampshire Family Division court in a divorce involving children or in a parenting petition case. The judge or marital master will talk about the court process, what to expect, and how the parties might settle their issues without litigation. At this time the court may refer individual cases to mediation. Mediation is an alternative process to litigation where a trained neutral third party helps negotiate and resolve disputed issues.

The court will hand out a First Appearance Highlights form that summarizes all of the information given at the First Appearance.

Below are some of the topics covered in a First Appearance:

· Court Process

· Case Management

· Child Impact Program

· Case Manager

· Guardian ad Litem

· Mediation

· Legal Representation

· Parenting Plans

· Child Support

Blog Credit: Marissa L. Ulloa, Crusco Law Office Law Clerk