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Finding Court Records in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Courts Overview

It helps to understand how the New Hampshire state court system works when you’re trying to find court records. The New Hampshire trial court system consists of Superior Courts, Circuit Court District Divisions, Circuit Court Probate Divisions, and Circuit Court Family Divisions.

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but generally only hear cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts. District Courts have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil, criminal and juvenile cases. Probate Courts have limited jurisdiction over most probate cases, some real estate and some juvenile matters. Family Courts exercise jurisdiction over domestic relations and juvenile matters.

If you prefer, you can start your search by going to New Hampshire Courts by County.

New Hampshire Superior Courts

Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases but usually handle cases that are beyond the jurisdiction of other courts.

Only Superior Courts offer jury trials so cases in other courts that have a right to a jury will be transferred to Superior Court upon proper request.

Criminal cases heard by Superior Courts include felonies and other types of criminal cases that are eligible for a jury trial.

Civil cases heard by Superior Courts include all jury trials, general civil claims for more than $1,500 or involving title to real estate and general civil claims for more than $25,000. Superior Courts also handle divorce, child custody, domestic violence, redemption and foreclosure of mortgages, petitions to enforce contracts, and appeals from zoning and planning board decisions.

Superior Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts - District Division over domestic violence cases and most non-jury general civil claims for damages between $1,500 and $25,000 that do not involve disputes over title to real estate.

Superior Courts share jurisdiction with Circuit Courts - Probate Division over certain types of cases, including certain types of trusts, certain kinds of durable powers of attorney and waivers for marriage of minors.

Superior Courts share jurisdiction with District and Family Divisions of Circuit Courts over emergency domestic violence orders. In Cheshire County, which has no Circuit Court - Family Division, Superior Court has jurisdiction over marital cases.

New Hampshire Circuit Court District Divisions

Circuit Court District Divisions have limited jurisdiction over certain types of civil and criminal cases. Circuit Courts do not offer jury trials and must transfer cases to Superior Court when a proper jury trial request is made.

Circuit Court District Divisions have original jurisdiction over criminal misdemeanors and violations, small claims, landlord-tenant, stalking, general civil claims for less than $1500, emergency orders of protection in domestic violence matters, gun permit denial appeals, land use violations, and replevin.

Circuit Court District Divisions have jurisdiction over juvenile matters in counties without a Family Division.

Circuit Court District Divisions share jurisdiction with Superior Courts for most general civil claims for more than $1500 and less than $25,000, exclusive of interest and costs. Small claims cases offer a simplified court procedure for civil cases with disputes for less than $7,500. When a claim is for more than $1500, a right to a jury trial exists, so the case will be transferred to Superior Court if either party properly requests a jury trial.

New Hampshire Circuit Court Probate Divisions

Circuit Court Probate Divisions have limited jurisdiction over certain types of cases related to probate, real estate, and juvenile matters. Circuit Court Probate Divisons do not offer jury trials, so if a jury trial right exists and is properly requested, the case will be transferred to Superior Court.

Circuit Court Probate Divisions have exclusive jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates and trusts, conservatorships, guardianships, most adoptions of children, most name change petitions, termination of parental rights, durable powers of attorney for health care, living wills, some partition actions, actions to quiet title to real estate and other types of cases.

Circuit Court Probate Divisions share jurisdiction with Superior Courts for certain types of trusts, certain kinds of durable powers of attorney, waivers for marriage of minors, and some other types of cases.

When a Family Division shares territorial jurisdiction with a Probate Division, the Probate Division lacks jurisdiction over most cases heard by the Family Division, but continues to share jurisdiction over certain types of cases. Family Division has exclusive jurisdiction over many adoptions, but private, agency or international adoptions remain within exclusive Probate Division jurisdiction. Family Division has exclusive jurisdiction over most guardianships of minors, but if the case also involves the estate of a minor, jurisdiction over the entire case is exclusively vested in the Probate Division.

New Hampshire Circuit Court Family Divisions

Circuit Court Family Divisions exist in all counties except Cheshire, and have exclusive jurisdiction over most domestic relations and juvenile cases, including divorce, annulment, alimony, child custody, child support, paternity, juvenile delinquency, abuse or neglect of children, children in need of services, domestic violence protection, adoption of children in abuse and neglect cases, termination of parental rights, most guardianships of minors, and name change petitions associated with termination of parental rights.

Circuit Court Family Divisions share jurisdiction with Superior Courts and Circuit Court District Divisions for emergency orders in domestic violence protection cases.

Circuit Court Family Divisions share jurisdiction with District Divisions for temporary detention orders in juvenile delinquency cases and certain orders in cases that involve abused and neglected children or children in need of services.

Circuit Court Family Divisions have exclusive jurisdiction over many adoptions, but private, agency, or international adoptions remain within exclusive Probate Division jurisdiction. Family Divisions have exclusive jurisdiction over most guardianships of minors, but if the case also involves the estate of a minor, jurisdiction over the entire case is exclusively vested in the Probate Division.

In Cheshire County, there is no Circuit Court Family Division; marital cases are heard in Cheshire County Superior Court, and other types of family cases are heard in District and Probate Divisisions of Cheshire County Circuit Court.

Where to Find Court Cases in New Hampshire

The chart below gives general information on the types of cases heard in each type of New Hampshire court.

Most Cases = Most or all cases.     Some Cases = Some cases.

Case Type Court Type
Civil Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
General Civil - Unlimited Most or All Cases      
General Civil - Limited Some Cases Some Cases    
Small Claims   Most or All Cases    
Civil Equity Most or All Cases      
Complex Commercial Most or All Cases      
Foreclosures and Liens Some Cases Some Cases    
Real Estate Title and Boundary Most or All Cases   Some Cases Some Cases
Landlord / Tenant Some Cases Most or All Cases    
Ordinance Violations   Most or All Cases    
Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders Most or All Cases Some Cases   Some Cases
Administrative Agency Appeals Most or All Cases Some Cases   Some Cases
Criminal Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
Felony Most or All Cases      
Felony Preliminary Hearings Some Cases Some Cases    
Misdemeanors Some Cases Some Cases    
Ordinance Violations   Most or All Cases    
Juvenile       Most or All Cases
Traffic and Infractions   Most or All Cases    
Domestic Relations Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
Divorce Some Cases     Most or All Cases
Child Custody and Visitation     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Child Support     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Paternity     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Domestic Violence Protection Order Some Cases Some Cases   Most or All Cases
Juvenile Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
Adoptions     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Juvenile Delinquency       Most or All Cases
Child Abuse and Neglect     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Termination of Parental Rights     Some Cases Most or All Cases
Children in Need of Supervision       Most or All Cases
Mental Health Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
Involuntary Commitments Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases
Other Mental Health Cases Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases
Probate Superior Courts Circuit Court District Divisions Circuit Court Probate Divisions Circuit Court Family Divisions
Wills & Estates Some Cases   Most or All Cases  
Name Changes   Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases
Trusts Some Cases   Most or All Cases  
Guardianships and Conservatorships Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases Some Cases

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