Get The Help You Need: 603-595-0600

Se habla español

Resolving Your Family Law Issues

Family law matters, including divorce and child custody disputes are disruptive and stressful. The decisions you make during these difficult events can have a profound effect on your life and your children's lives for years to come.

At Bernazzani Law, ensuring that you have the information and strong legal representation you need to make sound decisions that work for you and your family is our top priority. Our attorneys help families find solutions that protect their interests for issues related to:

More Detailed Information

Representing Clients In Divorce And Alimony Matters

At Bernazzani Law, some of the most frequent questions we hear from divorcing and separating spouses concern money:

We help clients retain as much control as possible in their postmarital asset divisions. We also assist clients who seek alimony or want to limit paying it, depending on circumstances.

The Property Division Process In New Hampshire

In New Hampshire and Massachusetts, financial assets, physical possessions and real property that spouses acquire during the marriage are distributed equitably between them as part of the divorce. The "division of assets" or "asset distribution" is performed by a judge when a divorce is taken to court, but it can also be resolved by the parties through mediation or a settlement.

By contrast, ongoing financial support, in the form of alimony (also known as spousal support), may be paid by one spouse to the other following a separation, temporarily during a divorce, or after the termination of a marriage.

Alimony is not required under either New Hampshire or Massachusetts law. When it is granted, it is usually based on the ability of one party to pay the other party according to his or her need. Whether or not a party receives spousal support is ultimately up to negotiations or the determination of a judge.

Generally, the party with fewer assets, lesser earning prospects or greater child care responsibilities is the one who is eligible to receive alimony. The factors influencing spousal support payments include the following:

For more information about alimony and property division in New Hampshire, please read our Frequently Asked Questions page.

We Can Help Couples Resolve Disputes Outside Of Court

When possible, we encourage clients to resolve as many of their divorce-related financial issues outside of court, either through direct negotiations, collaborative negotiations with an attorney or through mediation. By doing so, you can save thousands of dollars in court costs and attorney fees, while retaining more money for yourself and your family.

Our attorneys work with financial professionals, including asset valuators, accountants, vocational counselors and other experts in making your case for assets or support payments. They are also trained in mediation and collaborative techniques. They can help you achieve the financial results you need to move on with your life.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Looking Out For Your Best Interests In Divorce And Legal Separation

Divorce is one of the most traumatic events that a person can experience. It can also be one of the most freeing. The divorce attorney you select to handle your divorce can make the difference between a divorce that goes well and one that ends badly.

Our family law attorneys provide the answers, guidance and assistance you need to make decisions that are right for you and your family about matters related to property division, child custody and visitation, alimony (spousal support) and relocation.

Experience With All Divorces Matters

Our lawyers have successfully assisted numerous clients throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts resolve various divorce issues, including:

For more information about divorce in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, please read our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Mediation As An Alternative To Court

It's almost never too late to negotiate the terms of a divorce. Even if you are set to go to court, you and your spouse can choose to save money and maintain more control over your legal outcomes by pursuing negotiations or mediation. Our attorneys are trained in mediation and collaborative techniques, and are qualified to assist clients in finding solutions that fit their lives and their pocketbooks.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Protecting Families Facing Domestic Violence

Whether abuse is physical, emotional or financial, domestic violence can cause those who are affected to suffer deep wounds and scars that last a lifetime.

If you, or a member of your family, are subjected to abuse by a spouse, domestic partner or significant other, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and those you love.

We Can Help You Obtain A Restraining Order

At Bernazzani Law, we provide legal help to clients who are negatively affected by violence — or threats of violence — in their lives. One way we do this is by seeking restraining orders on their behalf.

Restraining orders can prohibit abusers from contacting their victims in various ways, either temporarily or over a long term. Although a restraining order is not a guarantee of safety, it places an important legal hurdle in the abuser's path, which he or she ignores at risk of arrest and penalties.

A restraining order, also known as an order for protection, can prevent an abuser from contacting a victim by:

Is It Difficult To Obtain A Restraining Order?

It can be due to the prevalence of false abuse claims, family law judges are increasingly cautious in granting requests for restraining orders, particularly for permanent restraining orders. While the paperwork for requesting a restraining order may seem simple on its face, it is easy to make mistakes. Working with an attorney at our firm can greatly improve the chances that your request for protection will be approved.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Modifying And Enforcing Family Law Court Orders

When an individual's circumstances substantially change, the terms of an existing court order related to child custody, child support or alimony may also change.

At Bernazzani Law, our attorneys help clients who wish to modify the terms of existing family law-related court orders. We also provide legal help to clients who need to enforce existing orders or to block another party's request for modification.

What Are The Grounds For A Modification?

Parents often seek to modify child custody and visitation terms in situations such as:

Likewise, there are circumstances in which parents and/or divorced spouses can seek to modify the terms of a child support or spousal support (alimony). Often, these modifications are sought when one parent or former spouse experiences a substantial increase or decrease in income, due to job promotion, unemployment, financial windfall or some other reason.

It is important to understand that modifications are almost never automatic, even when parties agree. Nevertheless, judges most frequently grant modifications when parties agree to the terms in advance of a court hearing.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Helping Parents Define And Enforce Custody Orders

In New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the best interests of a child are the primary factor in child custody decisions. However, what the court considers to be in a child's best interest is determined by a predetermined list of legal factors and how a judge interprets those factors.

At Bernazzani Law, our family law attorneys have years of experience helping clients throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts retain their parenting rights after a divorce, separation or other relationship breakdown. Meet with our lawyers, and we can discuss your situation thoroughly and assess your options for seeking the degree of joint legal custody (joint decision-making), physical custody (primary residential responsibility) and/or visitation (parenting time) that fits your situation.

Whether you are a biological parent, stepparent or adoptive co-parent, we will work to preserve your parental rights. We can also assist you if you are a grandparent or relative who has an interest in seeking legal or physical custody of a child through a guardianship or adoption.

How Do Judges Determine Child Custody?

The many factors that may influence child custody decisions include:

At Bernazzani Law, our lawyers are able to tell when proposed custody and visitation plans are likely to work well, and when they are likely to prove troublesome. We are experienced in negotiating and, when necessary, litigating custody and visitation arrangements to meet the needs of our clients and their children.

For more information about parenting rights and responsibilities in New Hampshire, please read our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Custody And Relocation Matters

When two individuals divorce, separate or become estranged due to the breakdown of a relationship, it is not unusual for one or both of them to move to a different city or state.

However, when shared children are involved, existing custody and visitation arrangements must be taken into account and followed. A change as simple as moving to a new school district is of interest to the court and can have an enormous effect on a child's quality of life.

At Bernazzani Law, we assist parents in Nashua, Woburn and throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts in obtaining the necessary permissions — from courts and, if possible, from co-parents — to relocate with their parental rights intact. We also assist parents who wish to prevent their counterparts from disrupting their children's lives and limiting their ability to spend time with their children.

Parental Relocation Must Be In A Child's "Best Interest"

New Hampshire considers the "best interest" of children in all parenting decisions, including relocation. Usually, this includes providing the child access to both parents, even if one parent has been granted physical custody of the child most of the time.

If the judge believes an out-of-state move or other long-distance relocation by the custodial parent will significantly disrupt the child's life, that parent may not be allowed to move with the child, or may have to make accommodations for the child to travel to see the other parent, siblings, grandparents and other relatives, as well as allow for communication with the child via email, telephone, Skype or other means.

Conversely, if the judge believes the move is in the child's best interest, after considering other statutory factors, then relocation may be granted. It can be very difficult to prove that a proposed relocation hundreds or thousands of miles away is in the best interests of the child or children, but with the right set of facts, these cases can be won, and our attorneys have done just that.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Using Collaborative Law For Your Divorce

Family law situations are unquestionably difficult. When children or significant assets are involved, the situation is compounded. Litigation can make things even more difficult emotionally as well as financially.

Because of this, more and more families throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts are choosing collaborative law options that can then transition in a way that preserves emotional and financial well-being as much as possible.

What Is A Collaborative Divorce?

In collaborative law, each spouse retains his or her own attorney, often with the aid of a divorce coach and a financial neutral. After signing a petition agreement, attorneys and their respective clients work through issues in a collaborative way.

If you are considering taking advantage of collaborative law solutions for your family law issue, we are prepared to put more than half a century of combined experience to work to help you reach a best possible outcome. We will help you customize a collaborative divorce situation that suits your unique circumstances.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Military Divorces Come With Unique Issues

Military service members have unique issues to deal with above and beyond those of a typical divorce. Retirement benefits and health insurance can pose unique and immensely complicated issues. Additionally, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has specific compliance issues that may often need to be disbursed.

Failure to adequately value these issues can have catastrophic long-term effects. If you are working through military divorce issues, get in touch with our team as soon as possible.

Personal Representation For Men And Women In Uniform

The attorneys at Bernazzani Law are prepared to help military service members and their spouses discover solutions to divorce issues, including:

By partnering directly with clients, our attorneys undertake the needed discovery and investigation to properly value all military benefits.

It is important to realize that depending on when a couple married, differing portions of the benefits may be considered marital versus nonmarital property. There can be significant nuanced issues of disbursement and division as military pensions never offer options for lump-sum payouts. As such, the calculations can be more complex.

We will work to ensure that your financial interests are protected in the immediate and long term.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Using A QDRO To Protect Your Retirement

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is an extremely important tool that can divide retirement funds following divorce.

A QDRO defines how retirement benefits are to be transferred from one spouse to another in divorce. If drafted correctly, the order can be flexible and payouts properly ensured. Because a QDRO requires continual follow-up and safeguards, to ensure your financial well-being, it is extremely important to retain experienced counsel.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys Protecting Your Assets

The attorneys at Bernazzani Law have extensive experience in drafting QDROs. We work directly with you to understand your goals and draft documentation that is ideally suited to your unique situation.

By undertaking all necessary investigation and document review, we can help determine the portions of retirement plans that are marital and nonmarital, the former being divisible. While the division is typically 50-50 if a spouse was enrolled after the marriage, there can be complicated factors involved, including amounts earned prior to marriage.

The more subtle and nuanced these factors become, the more technical the documentation must become to reflect these issues. Because we have more than half a century of combined experience and extensive knowledge of high-asset divorce cases, there is no QDRO case for which we are not prepared. We encourage you to get in touch.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Is A Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

When an individual is entering a marriage with substantial funds or assets, a prenuptial agreement can be a great way to clarify and define the financial terms of the marriage.

With years of combined experience, the attorneys at Bernazzani Law are prepared to help you address your prenuptial agreement issues. Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, and Woburn, Massachusetts, our attorneys can help you determine if a prenup is right for you and your spouse. We can also negotiate, draft and review any agreement before you sign it to ensure it protects your interests.

Do Not Create A Prenup Alone

Although some individuals may have reservations or concerns about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, such documents allow parties to customize and define their own financial terms which provide for significantly more flexibility than the law dictates.

Additionally, many couples believe that a prenup starts a marriage out from a position of mistrust, and that divorce will be inevitable. Instead, working with your soon-to-be spouse on a prenup can help you discuss financial issues honestly and openly. It can allow you to start your marriage out on the right foot.

While it is possible to file a prenuptial agreement on your own, one mistake can cause huge issues due to ambiguity or complications that are not defined in the documentation. As such, it is important to reach out to counsel if you are considering using a prenuptial agreement.

We are able to help you document issues of premarital and postmarital assets and explicitly document all issues in the agreement. After we draft documentation that is tailored to your unique circumstances, we can reach out to a court reporter to get the agreement into a court report. We can also retain and document any additional needed testimony.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

High-Asset Divorce Calls For In-Depth Understanding

Divorces involving significant assets and funds present unique, nuanced and often complex problems above and beyond those of normal divorces. Bernazzani Law has handled numerous complex and high net worth divorces throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We have the detailed legal knowledge and understanding that you need to protect your interests.

Finding Asset Protection Strategies That Work For You

High-level managers, including executives, are often compensated in unusual ways. Additionally, small-business owners, including legal or medical professionals, have their own unique assets and issues that can be complex. For example, an executive may not receive a simple salary, but may be compensated in performance units, stock options or other incentives that can appreciate or fluctuate.

Small-business owners also have issues regarding compensation — it must be established whether accounts receivable or the actual salary of a professional is considered marital property.

If you are working through high-asset divorce issues, get in touch with our legal team. Our attorneys are prepared to put more than half a century of combined experience to work to address nearly any high-asset issue, including:

We also recognize that many of these issues present complicated discovery and valuation issues. We are prepared to bring our experience to fully trace and value all assets to help you reach the most fair and equitable outcome possible.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Asset Discovery And Valuation In Divorce

In divorce, the division of marital assets can be complex. At Bernazzani Law, we work directly with you and reach out to financial experts and forensic professionals to complete a comprehensive and rigorous investigation to trace and value each and every asset.

Discovering The True Value Of Assets

High net worth divorces present extremely complex issues in terms of division. But even before the division process, all assets must be properly valued and traced. Many expensive assets appreciate, so basis reporting needs to be taken into account. Other assets are not divisible, including certain compensation plans, loans, buy-sell agreements and liabilities.

Additionally, when one spouse is not paid through a traditional W-2, it can be difficult to accurately determine accurate incomes. Also, when assets are commingled, in the case of certain bank accounts or additions to real estate, the process becomes further complicated.

If you are working through any tracing, discovery or valuation issue, it is extremely important to work with a skilled legal team that will undertake the needed investigation to protect your immediate and long-term financial interests. Failure to do so can have catastrophic long-term financial outcomes.

Return to View More Detailed Information OR Contact Us For More Information

Talk To Our Lawyers Today About Your Family's Needs

Our law firm is committed to keeping our clients involved and in charge of making the large and small decisions in their own cases that will affect their futures. We keep you informed at all times, along with always keeping your best interests our top priority.

For more information about our lawyers, contact Bernazzani Law today to schedule a free initial consultation. You can call 603-595-0600 or reach out to us via our online contact form.