How to Obtain Court Records in New Hampshire
The court system in New Hampshire has a traditional structure, with circuit court district divisions being the most commonly-used entry point for most residents. These district division courts can be found in 32 locations around the state with jurisdiction over small claims, traffic issues, misdemeanors, and landlord-tenant disputes. Specialized divisions within these courts handle family matters such as juvenile cases, divorces, and custody; and probate division that has oversight of wills, estates, guardianships, name changes, and adoptions.
Above the circuit courts are superior courts that are the general trial courts that hear both criminal and civil cases. At the top of the state judiciary is the supreme court that is the appellate court for disputes about lower court decisions as well as the final say on the constitutionality of state laws.
Requesting court records
Having a copy of a court record or document can assist with issues around child custody, financial settlements, protective orders, and to show that you’ve completed the terms of your probation or parole. Some court records may be kept confidential (not released to the public) due to the inclusion of names of victims of certain crimes, medical information, or juvenile court details.
If you know the case number to request documents, you may contact the clerk of the court where the case was heard to request documents using this list: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/courtlocations/index.htm. If you do not know the case number you should use the following document to make the document search request: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/servicecenters/checklists/checklistfiles/Record-Search.pdf.
Probate court records
This division of New Hampshire circuit courts handles the distribution of property and valuables when a person has died as well as dealing with adoptions, name changes, guardianships, and some mental health commitments. Some records may be exempted or redacted for confidentiality reasons as stated above. If you have a case number, contact the clerk of the court where the person lived using the directory on this page: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/courtlocations/index.htm. If you do not have a case number, use this form to request a search: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/servicecenters/checklists/checklistfiles/Record-Search.pdf.
Child custody, division of shared property, name changes, alimony, and more are spelled out in a divorce decree that is approved by a judge. To request a copy, contact the clerk of the circuit court where the case was decided using this directory: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/courtlocations/index.htm. To find the case number (necessary before making a request for the document) use this form: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/district/servicecenters/checklists/checklistfiles/Record-Search.pdf.
When a person declares bankruptcy the case is not handled by state courts, it is overseen by U.S. District Courts in the state where the individual lives. These federal courts also handle criminal trials and civil issues that involve more than one state or residents of multiple states. To research a federal case, use this website: https://www.pacer.gov.