Family Law

New Hampshire Family Law: An Overview

New Hampshire family law plays a big part in many significant life stages – whether that be when you are getting married, adopting a child, or filing for divorce.

Through these and many other moments, the state has specific legal requirements and procedures that families need to be aware of. Family law in New Hampshire sets out rules on topics such as who can get married, the process for getting divorced, how custody arrangements are agreed, and how alimony payments are decided.

It can be a complicated and emotive area, which is why it is important to have a good understanding of the legalities involved. LawInfo’s New Hampshire Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

New Hampshire Marriage Requirements

The law related to marriage in New Hampshire is, of course, far from the most exciting part of planning a wedding. However, a couple looking to tie the knot still needs to be aware of New Hampshire’s processes and rules related to how to get married. The basic requirements are:

  • No male under 14 or female under 13 can get married, and no person under 18 can be married without the consent of their parent or guardian
  • Neither party can already be married
  • The couple cannot be related as first cousins, parent and child, siblings, or as uncle or aunt and nephew or niece

New Hampshire Marriage Licenses

Before getting married, a couple needs to obtain a marriage license from any town or city clerk in New Hampshire. To do so, they must show proof of their age, as well as certified copies of any previous divorce decrees or a death certificate of a former spouse. The license remains valid for 90 days after being issued, and there is no waiting period before it can be used to get married.

New Hampshire Divorce Requirements

If a marriage breaks down irreversibly, one spouse may start considering filing for divorce. In New Hampshire, the rules on divorce are extensive and many factors can be taken into account. Grounds for divorce in New Hampshire include:

  • Impotency of either spouse
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty of one spouse to the other
  • One party’s absence of two years or more without contact
  • Either party being a habitual drunkard for two years

A “no fault” divorce, where neither spouse is blamed for the marriage breakdown, is allowed based on irreconcilable differences between the parties. This means that a court won’t investigate any claims of misconduct of either spouse unless they could impact on child custody arrangements.

New Hampshire Alimony Guidelines

After a divorce, a court can decide to have one party make alimony payments to the other to support their living costs. In New Hampshire, the decision to award alimony depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether one party lacks the income and assets to provide for their own needs
  • If the other party has the means to support themselves and their former spouse

In reaching a decision, a court will consider the standard of living that the couple had become accustomed to during their marriage. Alimony payments may be ordered to be made as a lump sum or regularly, and the amount will be based on issues such as:

  • Whether one party was at fault for the divorce
  • The length of the marriage
  • The income of both parties
  • The assets and savings of each person
  • Both parties’ skills and employ-ability
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