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New Hampshire Divorce Laws Continued

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ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

Upon motion of either party for alimony payments, the court shall make orders for the payment of alimony to the party in need of 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:

  • The party in need lacks sufficient income, property, or both, including property apportioned in accordance with RSA 458:16-a, 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; and
  • The party in need is unable to be self-supporting through appropriate employment at a standard of living that meets reasonable needs or is allocated parental rights and responsibilities under RSA 461-A for a child of the parties whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the parent not seek employment outside the home.

In determining the amount of alimony, the court shall consider the length of the marriage; the age, health, social or economic status, occupation, amount and sources of income, the property awarded in the divorce settlement, 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; and the federal tax consequences of the order. [Based on New Hampshire Statutes - Chapter: 458:19]

SPOUSE'S NAME:

In any proceeding under this chapter, except an action for legal separation, the court may, when a decree of divorce or nullity is made, restore a former name of the spouse, regardless of whether a request therefore had been included in the petition. [Based on New Hampshire Statutes - Chapter: 458:24]

CHILD CUSTODY:

In determining parental rights and responsibilities under this section, including residential responsibility, the court shall not apply a preference for one parent over the other because of the sex of the child, the sex of a parent, or the financial resources of a parent. In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child, and shall consider the following factors:

  • The relationship of the child with each parent and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance.
  • The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
  • The child's developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, both in the present and in the future.
  • The quality of the child's adjustment to the child's school and community and the potential effect of any change.
  • The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing physical, written, and telephonic contact with the other parent, except where contact will result in harm to the child or to a parent.
  • The support of each parent for the child's contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact.
  • The support of each parent for the child's relationship with the other parent.
  • The relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child.
  • The ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make joint decisions concerning the children.
  • Any evidence of abuse, as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I or RSA 169-C:3, II, and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.
  • If a parent is incarcerated, the reason for and the length of the incarceration, and any unique issues that arise as a result of incarceration.
  • Any other additional factors the court deems relevant.

If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a minor child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the court may give substantial weight to the preference of the mature minor child as to the determination of parental rights and responsibilities. Under these circumstances, the court shall also give due consideration to other factors which may have affected the minor child's preference, including whether the minor child's preference was based on undesirable or improper influences. [Based on New Hampshire Statutes - Chapters: 461-A:6]

CHILD SUPPORT:

Both parents are responsible for the economic support of the children, and the percentage of net income paid for child support should vary according to the number of children and, with limited exemptions, not according to income level, as determined by the following New Hampshire child support guidelines.

All support orders shall provide for the assignment of the wages of the responsible parent pursuant to RSA 458-B, subject to the exceptions listed in RSA 458-B:2. The amount of a child support obligation shall remain as stated in the order until all dependent children for whom support is ordered shall terminate 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, at which time the child support obligation, including all educational support obligations, terminates without further legal action. 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. No child support order shall require a parent to contribute to an adult child's college expenses or other educational expenses beyond the completion of high school. [Based on New Hampshire Statutes - Chapters: 458-C:1, 458-C:3, and 461-A:14]

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