New Hampshire Divorce

Residency Requirements

In order to file for divorce in New Hampshire, both parties must be living in the state and the plaintiff must have lived in the state for one year preceding the filing.


Grounds for Divorce

New Hampshire has no-fault divorce where a divorce can be granted on the ground of irreconcilable differences that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. A divorce can also be decreed in favor of the innocent party for any of the following causes:

a) Impotency of either party.
b) Adultery of either party.
c) Extreme cruelty of either party to the other.
d) 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.
e) When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason.
f) When either party has been absent 2 years together, and has not been heard of.
g) When either party is an habitual drunkard, and has been such for 2 years together.
h) 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.
i) 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.


Division of Property

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.

Property shall include all property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of one or both parties. Intangible property includes, employment benefits, vested and non-vested pension or other retirement benefits, or savings plans.


Spousal Support

The court can order alimony for a definite or indefinite period of time if the court finds that:

a) The party in need lacks sufficient income, property, or both, 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; and
b) 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
c) 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 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:

a) the length of the marriage;
b) the age;
c) health;
d) social or economic status;
e) occupation;
f) amount and sources of income;
g) the property award;
h) vocational skills;
i) employability;
j) estate;
k) liabilities;
l) needs of each of the parties;
m) the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
n) the fault of either party; and
o) the federal tax consequences of the order.


Child Custody

In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child, and shall consider the following factors:

a) The relationship of the child with each parent and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance.
b) The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
c) The child’s developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, both in the present and in the future.
d) The quality of the child’s adjustment to the child’s school and community and the potential effect of any change.
e) 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, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
f) The support of each parent for the child’s contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
g) The support of each parent for the child’s relationship with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
h) The relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child.
i) The ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make joint decisions concerning the children, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
j) Any evidence of abuse and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.
k) 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.
l) Any other additional factors the court deems relevant.


Child Support

Child support in New Hampshire is designed to minimize the economic consequences of divorce to children and uses specific guidelines based on the following principles:

a) Both parents shall share responsibility for economic support of the children.
b) The children in an obligor’s initial family are entitled to a standard of living equal to that of the obligor’s subsequent families.
c) 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.

In general, the amount of child support paid is a percentage of a party’s net income based on the number of children being support. One child is 25%, two children is 33%, three children is 40%, and four or more children is 45% of net income.


New Hampshire Resources


Laws & Courts:

New Hampshire Law – state statutes, Title 43, Chapters 458 through 460.
Judicial Branch – searchable opinions, justice biographies and court news (from the New Hampshire Court System).

Additional Resources:

New Hampshire Bar Association – public information pamphlets, research links, and bar news from.
Children’s Rights Council – national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status.

Report broken links or send suggestions by contacting us.

Additional Links

The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.