When you are divorcing in New Hampshire, there are laws that are applied to each party that need to be followed. These are spelled out in the state’s statutes. Being totally familiar with all of the laws in this state would be daunting, however if you keep in mind a few of the overriding rules and laws, you will have the knowledge you need to help you have a smoother divorce process.
You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state of New Hampshire for at least 12 months or a full year before filing for divorce.
New Hampshire is both a no-fault and a fault grounds divorce state. Being no-fault, you only need to prove that both you and your spouse are living in the state of New Hampshire when the divorce is filed or that the person who is filing has lived there for a year. Another exception to the residency law is that the person being filed against has been served the notice within the state.
Getting a divorce that has fault grounds in this state means that your spouse has committed adultery, been proven impotent, has abandoned the other party for at least two years or that he or she has been in prison for more than a year. Other reasons for a fault grounds divorce are that one of the parties has been abusive and that there has been proven physical abuse in the past during the marriage. Desertion for at least two years can cause a fault grounds divorce as can proven drunkenness or being separated for two years or proven mental illness.
One of the reasons for getting a divorce that is fault based is probably because there will likely be a nasty and contested child custody dispute. The other reason for a fault grounds divorce is because there is property and asset division that may be contested and by proving that your spouse was at-fault you may get a bigger portion of the property. Finally, an alimony dispute may be a third reason for an at-fault divorce.
New Hampshire is an “equitable property division” state. This means that anything you earn during the marriage is yours to keep, as well as any income your spouse earned. This must be provable and you may be asked to submit pay stubs and other forms. The clearer the documentation you submit to the judge, the better you will be able to plead your case. If there is any property in your name alone or your spouse’s name only, the property is yours. However, the judge may divide property or allow one souse to sell some of it. It isn’t always a fair and equitable split. The thing that makes New Hampshire unique is that the court will begin with an assumption that the property will be divided equally and hear your testimony as to why a different division will be more equitable.
The state of New Hampshire puts the best interests of the child before the wants and wishes of the parents, so the outcome may not be what you want. The court wants the child to have contact with both parents after the divorce, and the judge may even rule that joint custody is the answer to the child custody issues that arise. Many times, the judge reads the documentation you present and may even call you in for questioning. He or she may also ask the child what he or she desires.
The question of child support is one that will come up if you have a child. The standard of living to which the child is accustomed is taken into consideration as well as the income generated by both parents. Both parents are required to support the child and the child should not be made to suffer because of the dissolution of the marriage. The court will take into consideration how much time each parent spends with the child. If one of the parents is able to make more income but does not take action to accomplish this, the court may demand that this be done.
While divorce may be common, when you go through it yourself, you still deserve dedicated, personal focus on your rights and unique situation. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you figure out the best way forward, explain the law, and represent you in court if it is ever necessary. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your divorce.