I. After an ex parte order is issued or petition filed, a preliminary hearing shall be conducted by the court to determine if reasonable cause exists to believe that the child is abused or neglected.
II. If the court does not find reasonable cause to believe that the child is abused or neglected, it shall dismiss the petition.

Terms Used In New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:15

  • Adjudicatory hearing: means a hearing to determine the truth of the allegations in the petition filed under this chapter. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Child: means any person who has not reached his eighteenth birthday. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Court: means the district court, unless otherwise indicated. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Guardian: means a parent or person appointed by a court having jurisdiction with the duty and authority to make important decisions in matters having a permanent effect on the life and development of the child, and to be concerned about the general welfare of the child. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Imminent danger: means circumstances or surroundings causing immediate peril or risk to a child's health or life. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Out-of-home placement: means the placement of a child in substitute care with someone other than the child's biological parent or parents, adoptive parent or parents, or legal guardian. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • Parent: means mother, father, adoptive parent, but such term shall not include a parent as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated by judicial decree or voluntary relinquishment. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 169-C:3
  • person: may extend and be applied to bodies corporate and politic as well as to individuals. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 21:9
  • petition: when used in connection with the equity jurisdiction of the superior court, and referring to a document filed with the court, shall mean complaint, and "petitioner" shall mean plaintiff. See New Hampshire Revised Statutes 21:51
  • Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.

III. Upon a finding of reasonable cause that the child is abused or neglected, the court shall:
(a) Appoint a CASA or other approved program guardian ad litem or an attorney to represent the child pursuant to RSA 169-C:10.
(b) Determine whether any ex parte orders issued should be continued or modified.
(c) Issue orders pursuant to RSA 169-C:16, which shall be immediate and in writing if the court finds that the child’s circumstances or surroundings present an imminent danger to the child’s health or life.
(d) Set a date for an adjudicatory hearing. In all cases, the adjudicatory hearing shall be held and completed and written findings issued within 60 days from the date that the petition was filed with the court. If a child is in an out-of-home placement, the adjudicatory hearing shall be held and completed within 30 days from the date the petition was filed with the court, unless the court makes a written finding of extraordinary circumstances requiring the time limit to be extended.
IV. The court shall determine whether each parent summoned, having custody or control of the child, understands the possible consequences to parental rights should the court find that the child is abused or neglected. Each person shall sign a statement stating that such person understands the consequences to parental rights. Such statement shall be in a form to be determined by the court.
V. Any person who is subject to an ex parte order may challenge the order at the preliminary hearing.