If you would like to start a case, then you will need to file a case. In order to do that, you will need to know (1) the case type (2) the court you will need to file into (3) what you need to file. After you file the case, you will receive your next steps from the court.
If you have received paperwork from the court, you will need to (1) know what the case is about (2) know what forms you have to file.
If you received paperwork from the court stating that a hearing has been scheduled, take a look at the preparing for a hearing page.
If you know you have a hearing scheduled but you cannot remember when or where it is, look at the case access portal, or call 1-855-212-1234 and provide them with your case number.
Starting a case
To get started, you need to know what type of case you want to file. The case type will guide you to what court division to file into, what forms to fill out, and what events will occur next.
See an explanation of the different case types
Now that you know what type of case to file into, you should also know what type of court you will use: either the Family Division, District Division, or Probate Division of Circuit Court, or Superior Court. This information will help you figure out which court you will file into.
Find Your Court
With your court name and the case type, you have the basic information you need to start any case. Next, you need to know what forms you need to file. To start a case, you often will need to file multiple forms. To help you keep track of what you need to file, the New Hampshire Judicial Branch has created checklists for some of the most frequent cases.
Find a Checklist
With your case types, court, and checklist of things you must do, you are ready to file a case. If your casetype is one that is e-filed, you must use the e-filing system to fill out the required forms and file your case. For an up-to-date list of e-filed case types, visit the NH E-court project website. If your case is not e-filed, your case is considered a paper case. To file a paper case, fill out the forms listed on your checklist, and go to the clerk’s counter at your court. You may be required to pay a fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you may fill out a motion to waive filing fee along with a statement of assets and liabilities.
Did you know?
Some words that are used in the courts may not be familiar with everyone. We want you to become familiar with these terms and understand them so that you will be better able to understand what is happening with your case.
Responding to a case
If you received paperwork from the courts, you need to read the paperwork carefully and follow the instructions as accurately as you can. The instructions may ask you to file an appearance, ask you to attend a court hearing, or ask you to attend mediation. Pay special attention to any dates that you see. The dates may tell you when your court hearing is, or the deadline by which you have to file paperwork with the court. If you cannot attend the date of your court hearing, you can ask the court to reschedule the date by filing a motion.
Your paperwork will also tell you the case number. The case number is used by the court to track the progress of your case. You will need to put your case number on any paperwork that you file with the court. If you ever have questions about your case, you will need to provide your case number to the court staff.
It may help you to know what case type your case is. The case type will help to narrow down what laws, rules, and administrative orders govern your case, and will help you find other resources that may assist you in your case.
There are a range of legal resources available in New Hampshire, from a lawyer representing you for your whole case, to hiring a lawyer for only part of your case, to finding resources that can help you better understand your case.
Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Your case may benefit from going through mediation, an informal process where a neutral professional helps you and the other side negotiate an agreement. Mediation allows you to talk about the issues that matter the most to you in a private setting and helps you and the other party craft a tailored agreement that takes into account what is important to you. For more information on mediation (and other alternative dispute resolution programs), please visit the Office of Mediation and Arbitration website. If you believe that mediation is a good fit for your case, you may ask the court to refer the case to mediation by filing a motion.
Prepare for Court
Please take a look at the “Prepare for court” page to learn more about what it is like to go to court.
Forms You'll Need
Using the proper form is critical to processing your court action. Often more than one form will be needed to process your case.
Many forms need to be signed in front of a notary public. Also be aware of the implications of signing a form. You may want to check with a lawyer before putting your signature on a document.
Talk with a court representative or clerk
Once you have determined which court to go to, talk with the clerk about important deadlines and rules. Even though you are not a lawyer, you must meet court deadlines and follow court rules. Procedures about forms and court fees will also apply to your case, even if you appear in court without a lawyer.