New Hampshire Divorce Laws

In the state of New Hampshire residency requirements must be met in order for the court to accept the case.  Jurisdictional rights must be verified or the case will be dismissed or not accepted at all.  Below are the New Hampshire divorce laws that are currently in place.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

In order to legally file in the state of New Hampshire, both spouses be residents of the state and the filing spouse for at least one year.   Alternatively, if the grounds for the divorce occurred within the state and one of the spouses was a resident for at least 1 year prior to the filing.

Grounds for divorce must be declared on the petition, those grounds can be no-fault or fault, legal grounds for fault divorce in New Hampshire include:

  • Absence of either party for two consecutive years.
  • Habitual drunkenness by either party for 2 years or more.
  • Imprisonment, of either party due to conviction in any state or federal court.
  • Joining of a religious sect in which the relationship of a husband and wife is believed to be unlawful, coupled with refusing to cohabit with the spouse for 6 months.
  • Adultery of either party
  • Impotency of either party
  • Extreme cruelty of either party toward the other as well as when either party has mistreated the other to injure health, mental or physical.

Division of Property

Property distribution in the state of New Hampshire is “equitable.”  Parties are encouraged to determine their own fair division of assets and property.  If unable to do so then the courts will intervene and determine the most equitable division of property based on relevant factors such as:

  • Contribution by one party to further the education or career of the other party.
  • The fault of the dissolution of marriage, if fault is chosen as grounds for divorce.
  • The need of the custodial parent, if children are involved to maintain a residence familiar to the children.
  • Specific actions taken by either party to increase the value of property during the marriage,
  • Tax consequences for each.
  • Any property that was acquired by gift or inheritance.
  • Other factors as deemed applicable by the judge.

Child Custody

Child custody is decided on in the manner least emotionally traumatic to the children.  If the courts must intervene in custody matters, they make decisions in the best interests of the children.  The parties to the divorce are encouraged to come to agreement regarding living arrangements of the children.  If an agreement cannot be arrived at, the courts decision will depend on several factors including:

  • The child’s specific needs and the ability of either parent to meet them.
  • The relationship of the child with any other significant person in their lives and the continuity of that relationship.
  • The child’s school and community situation.
  • The support of each parent for the child’s relationship with the other parent.
  • Any other factors deemed relevant by the deciding court.


Child support In New Hampshire is defined by the Percentage of Income formula to calculate the appropriate support as a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent.  Other factors may be considered such as significant disparity between the parents’ incomes, or extraordinary expenses that the child may require due to special needs or circumstance.

Other factors may be considered such as schedule of parenting time, or the economic impact on either parent.

Spousal support is not standard in all divorce cases.  Temporary or permanent support from one spouse to support the other is determined by agreement of parties or by decision of the court.  Alimony is defined by both amounts and periods of time, whether temporary or permanent.  Maintenance orders are determined regardless of marital misconduct and after considering any contributing factors such as, (1) financial resources of party seeking support. (2) ability of the spouse seeking support to get training and find employment appropriate to being able to support themselves.  (3) Age, emotional and physical condition of the spouse seeking support.  (4) Ability of the spouse expected to provide support to meet the needs of the spouse as well as their own.  Other factors deemed relevant by the court will be considered as appropriate.