To file for divorce in New Hampshire, the spouse filing for divorce must have lived in New Hampshire for one year. To begin the process, one spouse must file a Petition for Divorce. New Hampshire is a “no-fault” marriage state, which means that neither spouse needs to provide a legal reason for the divorce. However, if a spouse wishes to allege that the other spouse is at-fault, it may have an impact on the court’s decisions regarding child custody and division of property. Proper grounds for divorce in New Hampshire include:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Extreme cruelty
- Conviction and imprisonment for more than 1 year
- Physically injuring the other spouse
- Abandonment or separation for 2 consecutive years
- Habitual Drunkenness for 2 years
- A spouse joins a religious sect that believes the relation of husband and wife is unlawful and the couple has been separated for 6 months
In addition to a required legal reason, the Petition for Divorce should also address any other issues involved in the divorce such as dividing property, child custody, child support, and alimony.
What is the Difference Between Divorce and Separation in New Hampshire?
A legal separation agreement tends to function a lot like a divorce but it does not end the marriage. Like a divorce, a separation agreement can be used to resolve issues such as dividing property, child custody, child support, and alimony. If accepted by the judge, a separation agreement is legally binding and can be enforced in court. Generally, a judge will accept a separation agreement if it is agreed to in writing by both spouses and the agreement appears to be fair.
What Paperwork Do You Need to File for Divorce?
To start the process for a divorce, a Petition for Divorce (or a Joint Petition for Divorce) in a proper New Hampshire local court. There are a different set of documents to fill out if you are divorcing with minor children, as the paperwork will also start addressing the issue of custody. The required documents can be found on the New Hampshire Court website.
Community Property vs. Separate Property
New Hampshire is an “Equitable Distribution” state, which means that all marital property is divided fairly by the court unless the spouses make their own agreement. Marital property, also known as community property, consists of most of the assets and debts that a couple acquires during the marriage and is subject to division during the divorce. Separate property, is the property that a spouse owned before the marriage or received during the marriage as a gift or inheritance. This distinction is important because separate property is usually not subject to division in divorce. It is important to know that separate property can become community property through actions like placing your spouse on the title of the property.
What Should You Do if There are Children Involved?
As part of the divorce the judge will issue a child custody order and parenting plan that will detail the parental rights and obligations over the marital children. Child custody can be very complicated and stressful, so if you have concerns about child custody it is important to talk to a lawyer.
Regardless of who retains custody after a divorce or separation, both parents are responsible for supporting the children of the marriage. At the very minimum, the court will order the non-custodial parent to make child support payments.
Do You Need to Pay Alimony?
When the judge orders a divorce, it is possible that he will order one of the spouses to make temporary spousal maintenance payments or alimony payments. A judge may impose spousal support if he finds that it is fair based on a number of factors including the length of the marriage, the income of the individual spouses, who has custody of the children, etc. Spousal maintenance payments will end if the spouse receiving payments remarries or moves in with another partner.
Where Can You Find the Right Divorce Lawyer?
Going through a divorce can be an emotionally charged experience and involves complicated legal issues related to property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc. If you are looking for an attorney to aid you navigate this process, then contact a local New Hampshire divorce lawyer today to get the help you need.