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Christopher Buck

Christopher Buck’s Answers

231 total


  • My ex-fiancé is refusing to return the engagement ring that I gave her. What is the best way for me to retrieve this?

    this has a value of more than 10k so what are my rights in getting this back when she is refusing. This wasn't given as a gift to her.

    Christopher’s Answer

    The general rule, from case law, is that an engagement ring is a "gift given in contemplation of marriage." If the marriage is called off, the engagement ring should be returned. As a side note, it can be difficult to use the same justification to retrieve a wedding ring, since there is no expectation that a wedding ring should be returned if the parties divorce.

    In your case, the best way to proceed is to consult an attorney who handles civil disputes. This is essentially a dispute over property. It is not really a "family" or "marriage" case. I have changed the category of this post accordingly. You may find that more civil litigation attorneys view the post that way.

    The NH Bar Association has a lawyer referral service. Their website is http://nhbar.org. Good luck.

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  • My landlord sent a text message from out of state. Is that text a legal eviction notice under NH law?

    The landlord lives in CA, the apartment is a duplex in NH. He is not evicting us for 'unpaid rent' or other concerns - it is an 'Owner Move In' eviction ordering us out by the end of November. We have also been trying to get him to do repairs sinc...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The short answer is no. A text message is not a valid method of serving an eviction notice. There are specific requirements for an eviction notice at RSA 540:3 and 540:5. A link to the statute is below.

    You should consult with an attorney who handles Landlord-Tenant cases. It may be possible to obtain an award for damages and/or attorney's fees. The NH Bar Association has a lawyer referral service that can help you find someone. Their website is http://nhbar.org. Good luck.

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  • Wife asked for divorce and I have learned she is having an affair, can I ask that she not live in the home while divorce ongoing

    I live in NH. We have been married 7 years. She does not have a job but does have a large inheritance in the bank. There is not a room for her to sleep in the house as they are occupied by me and 3 children. one is her child the other younger ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Since she is the Petitioner, and you are the Respondent, I would guess that the basis for the divorce is irreconcilable differences. Whether or not that's true doesn't make much difference in terms of who gets to stay in the home. The courts are constantly deciding how to divide property, how to keep the parties apart, and how to ease the tension associated with a divorce. The usual course of action for asking the court to do something specific with regard to the living situation is to file a motion for temporary orders. You should consult a family law attorney in your area. Many will offer free consultations. There is also a lawyer referral service through the NH Bar Association at http://nhbar.org. Good luck.

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  • Custody - Ex disobeyed Judge sending case back to NH (from MA) lied, provided GAL witnesses I have not seen in 6 yrs.

    ex filed: restraining order, emergency custody, & registered our divorce in MA all while I was out of the country. Claimed I was non existent for 3 full years, abusive, drug adict. I had our children 5 days each week - even they will tell you this...

    Christopher’s Answer

    A pleading requesting that a parenting plan not be modified is not an admission of fact. It's a counter-argument to the notion that the plan should be modified. Saying that the Attorney's argument in support of a pleading is an admission is also a stretch. It can be difficult to disprove the conclusions and recommendations of a GAL. You need to have ample facts and evidence, and it would be helpful to hire an attorney. The New Hampshire Bar Association has a lawyer referral service. Check out http://nhbar.org.

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  • How do I find and serve a tenant who owes me money . He lives in NH but I don't know where.

    A tenant became unemployed and when I gave him an order to quit he left. Net after accounting for security deposit + interest leaves about $1200 due. I'd like to sue him in Small Claims Court for this but cannot find his address though others te...

    Christopher’s Answer

    When I am trying to find someone for service of process, I tend to go through a private investigator. PI's are relatively inexpensive (about $95 for a basic person search, more or less). If you locate the defendant and get them served with notice of the lawsuit, it is reasonable to expect an award for the fee you paid to the PI, as long as you prevail on the underlying claim.

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  • My ex husband refuses to follow the parenting plan we have in place, is filing a contempt motion appropriate course of action?

    Parenting plan has never been followed and ex admitted to court he has no intentions of seeing kids again, judge said he couldn't modify the plan due to fact I filed modification improperly. I can't afford a lawyer to modify plan, but shouldn't h...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Christine is right. You have a good basis to request a contempt finding. The only thing I would add is that attorney's fees are mandatory in family cases if the judge finds a party in contempt. They must be awarded by statute (either RSA 458 or RSA 461-A). That is potentially a way to make the representation more affordable/accessible to you. However, you would still likely need to pay upfront for a retainer.

    Alternatively, the New Hampshire Bar Association offers reduced fee and pro bono referral programs. Here's the link: http://www.nhbar.org/for-the-public/lawyer-referral-services.asp.

    There are many fine attorneys who discount their time or represent clients for free. The service is based on income guidelines, so be prepared to discuss your finances in detail.

    Here's a guide to finding affordable representation in New Hampshire:
    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-find-affordable-legal-representation-in-new-hampshire.

    Best of luck.

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  • Cut down neighbors trees by accident

    I accidentally cut my neighbors trees cut down by accident. I thought I knew where the property line was, but it turned out to be about 20 feet further over than I thought. I was under the impression that a rock wall divided the property, but in r...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The notion of a felony is a little dramatic. Your neighbor is understandably upset about her trees being cut down, but since you say that it was an accident, you would have a reasonable defense. It sounds like she hasn't filed a lawsuit yet. If she does, then it would likely occur in the District Division Court for a small claim (under $7,500). The Courts favor sending the parties to mediation, rather than consuming the Court's time. Hopefully, at that stage, you could work out a settlement for the amount you would pay for the damage to your neighbor's property. Having an attorney may be a good idea. There is a lawyer referral service online at http://nhbar.org.

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  • Can I put the divorce on hold without her permission?

    Once she is served the papers, can I file a petition with the court to place the divorce on hold even if she does not agree?

    Christopher’s Answer

    I am proceeding on the assumption that you were the Petitioner, and now you are reconsidering the divorce. There really is no mechanism for putting a divorce "on hold." If you were the Petitioner, you can withdraw your Petition, but you would probably forfeit the filing fee. Alternatively, if you reconcile with your spouse, and wish to work on the marriage, then the Court should dismiss the Petition, on account of reconciliation.

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  • Are there any legal repercussions if I show my spouse the Petition For Divorce papers before she is legally served.

    Will my petition be void if I let her read the petition before she even receives the paperwork from the courts telling her of the filing and telling her to come and pick up the papers at the court?

    Christopher’s Answer

    Letting her read the petition shouldn't have any consequence, either positive or negative. Sometimes, attorneys let the other side see a draft of a pleading before actually filing it, as a tool for negotiating a settlement. As long as you don't badger her with the pleading, but are showing it to her in good faith and for a valid purpose, it should be fine. In order for her to receive proper notice, she must still receive the paperwork from the court. Your showing your wife the document doesn't speed things up, but it doesn't slow anything down either.

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  • Can I revise my child support order without changing the custody and vistitation agreement?

    I have full custody of my son, his father has only seen him once since he was 3 months old, my son will turn 3 in January. His father was ordered to pay 50 dollars a month in child support about 2 years ago and didn't pay a dime until last month. ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The outcome will depend on the specific facts of your case, and though you have provided some background already, more information is necessary to start making predictions. You should consult with a family law attorney. Many offer free consultations.

    What can be said about this situation is that child support and residential responsibility do not directly depend on each other. The purpose of child support is to ensure that the child's financial needs are met, whereas the purpose of crafting a parenting plan is to ensure that the child's best interests (in a more general sense) are met. Just because a parent pays child support does not mean that they are qualified to take on more parenting time.

    Of course, there is also a policy that says that a child should have time with both parents, as long as that is appropriate. An attorney will help you weigh the arguments against each other and give you some idea about a possible range of outcomes.

    The New Hampshire Bar Association has a lawyer referral service that might be helpful. The website is:

    http://www.nhbar.org/for-the-public/lawyer-referral-services.asp

    Best of luck.

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