The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of New Hampshire divorce.
for more specific information regarding New Hampshire divorce laws.
Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.
|Residency Requirements ||A divorce can be filed in New Hampshire when both parties were domiciled in the state when the divorce papers were filed, when the plaintiff was domiciled in New Hampshire and the defendant was personally served within New Hampshire, or when the plaintiff was domiciled in New Hampshire for one year next preceding the time when the divorce papers were filed.
|Where to File ||The county in which either spouse resides|
|Grounds for Divorce ||A divorce in New Hampshire can be granted, irrespective of the fault of either party, on the ground of irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. New Hampshire laws also list the following fault grounds:
- Impotency of either party
- Adultery of either party
- Extreme cruelty of either party to the other
- Conviction of either party, in any state or federal district, of a crime punishable with imprisonment for more than one year and actual imprisonment under such conviction
- When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason
- When either party has been absent 2 years together, and has not been heard of
- When either party is an habitual drunkard, and has been such for 2 years together
- When either party has joined any religious sect or society which professes to believe the relation of husband and wife unlawful, and has refused to cohabit with the other for 6 months together
- When either party, without sufficient cause, and without the consent of the other, has abandoned and refused, for 2 years together, to cohabit with the other
|Voluntary or required mediation ||Yes|
|Voluntary or recommended Counseling||Yes|
|Property Distribution ||
Property shall include all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties. Intangible property includes, but is not limited to, employment benefits, vested and non-vested pension or other retirement benefits, or savings plans. To the extent permitted by federal law, property shall include military retirement and veterans' disability benefits. |
When a dissolution of a marriage is decreed, the court may order an equitable division of property between the parties. The court shall presume that an equal division is an equitable distribution of property, unless the court establishes a trust fund under RSA 458:20 or unless the court decides that an equal division would not be appropriate or equitable after considering one or more of the following factors:
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, health, social or economic status, occupation, vocational skills, employability, separate property, amount and sources of income, needs and liabilities of each party
- The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income
- The ability of the custodial parent, if any, to engage in gainful employment without substantially interfering with the interests of any minor children in the custody of said party
- The need of the custodial parent, if any, to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects
- The actions of either party during the marriage which contributed to the growth or diminution in value of property owned by either or both of the parties
- Significant disparity between the parties in relation to contributions to the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of the children and the care and management of the home
- Any direct or indirect contribution made by one party to help educate or develop the career or employability of the other party and any interruption of either party's educational or personal career opportunities for the benefit of the other's career or for the benefit of the parties' marriage or children
- The expectation of pension or retirement rights acquired prior to or during the marriage
- The tax consequences for each party
- The value of property that is allocated by a valid prenuptial contract made in good faith by the parties
- The fault of either party as specified in RSA 458:7 if said fault caused the breakdown of the marriage and:
(1) Caused substantial physical or mental pain and suffering; or
(2) Resulted in substantial economic loss to the marital estate or the injured party
- The value of any property acquired prior to the marriage and property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage
- The value of any property acquired by gift, devise, or descent
- Any other factor that the court deems relevant
|Child Custody ||
When determining a child custody award, New Hampshire laws consider the best interests of the child. There shall be a presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that joint legal custody is in the best interest of minor children if any of the following apply:
"Joint legal custody" shall include all parental rights with the exception of physical custody which shall be awarded as the court deems most conducive to the benefit of the children.
- Where the parents have agreed to an award of joint legal custody
- Upon the application of either parent for joint legal custody, in which case it may be awarded in the discretion of the court. To assist the court in making a determination whether an award of joint legal custody is appropriate, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the children
- Where the court finds that abuse has occurred, the court shall consider such abuse as harmful to children in determining whether joint legal custody is appropriate. In such cases, the court shall make custody and visitation orders that best protect the children, or the abused spouse, or both
Allegations or evidence of specific acts of misconduct where child custody is an issue are only admissible when the misconduct is relevant to establish that parental custody would be detrimental to the child.
|Child Support ||There are specific child support guidelines that will determine how much child support should be paid. Child support typically can't be waived by the parents, although a judge might decide this on a case-by-case basis, looking at all factors. |
Child Support Guidelines.
Child support is determined in New Hampshire by taking the parents' total net income, and multiplying it by a specific percentages.
The total child support obligation shall be divided between the parents in proportion to their respective incomes. Allowable child care expenses or medical insurance should be divided between the parents in proportion to their income, then added to the basic child support obligation.
The minimum child support order in New Hampshire is $50 per month.
Unless otherwise specified, child support terminates when all the dependent children for whom support is ordered complete their high school education or reach the age of 18 years, whichever is later, or become married, or become a member of the armed services. This amount shall remain as specified unless a legal order expressly allocates the payments on a per child basis. If the order involves a disabled child, the court shall specify the duration of the order, which may be beyond the time when the child reaches the age of 18.
|Spousal Support ||
New Hampshire laws allow the court to order alimony, either temporary or permanent, for a definite or indefinite period of time, if the motion for alimony payments is made within 5 years of the decree of nullity or divorce and the court finds that:
In determining the amount of alimony, the court shall consider:
- The party in need of alimony lacks sufficient income, property, or both, including property awarded in the divorce decree, to provide for such party's reasonable needs, taking into account the style of living to which the parties have become accustomed during the marriage
- The party from whom alimony is sought is able to meet reasonable needs while meeting those of the party seeking alimony, taking into account the style of living to which the parties have become accustomed during the marriage
- The party in need is unable to be self-supporting through appropriate employment at a standard of living that meets reasonable needs or is the custodian of a child of the parties whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment outside the home
- The length of the marriage
- The age, health, social or economic status, occupation, amount and sources of income, the property awarded in the divorce decree, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties
- The opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income
- The fault of either party, if the fault caused the breakdown of the marriage, and caused substantial physical or mental pain and suffering or resulted in substantial economic loss to the marital estate or the injured party
- The federal tax consequences of the order
- The contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates and the noneconomic contribution of each of the parties to the family unit