New Hampshire Alimony Law
When a couple negotiates a divorce agreement, there are several stipulations that can be added if the parties wish. These include many types of custody arrangements, allowances and alimony. Sometimes the terms of a divorce agreement can include a stipulation that includes one party to pay the other in order for them to maintain the life that they have been accustomed to. This is referred to as alimony or spousal support. According to Title XLIII of New Hampshire law, chapter 458, section 19 a person may be entitled to collect alimony under certain conditions.
Under New Hampshire law, a person can request to receive alimony payments if they file a motion within five years of the decree to nullity or divorce. The motion for alimony payments can be either temporary or permanent or for a given period of time. The court will approve an alimony motion if they find all of the following to be true:
- The party requesting alimony payments lacks income, property or both and requests alimony in order to provide for their reasonable needs considering the style of living to which they had become accustom to during their marriage. This means that the requesting party requires financial support in order to afford the life that they led when they were married.
- The party from whom the alimony is being requested is able to meet these needs taking into account the lifestyle which both parties have become accustomed to during their marriage meaning that the other party can afford to make alimony payments without sacrificing their own standard of living.
- The party requesting the alimony is unable to support themselves through employment to the point to which they had become accustom to or is a dedicated parent and is not seeking employment outside of the home. The party request support must not be able to easily find a job that would provide them with the resources that they are seeking. This can be because of lack of experience, inability to work, lack of skill or because they are the primary child caregiver and have responsibilities in the home.
If the court approves a motion for alimony they can set orders for the payment that would be just and equitable.
How Spousal Support is Determined in New Hampshire
In order for the court to decide how much one party should pay to the other, they will look at many factors. The court will ultimately decide how much alimony should be paid and whether it should be provided in a lump sum, as periodic payments or as a combination of both.
According to 485:19IV (b) of New Hampshire law, the court will consider the following when deciding alimony payments:
- The length of the marriage
- The age, health, social or economic status
- The occupation, amount and sources of income
- The property awarded under RSA 458:16-a
- Vocational skills and employability
- The estate Liabilities and needs of each of the parties
- The opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income
- The fault of either party as defined in RSA 458:16-a, II(l)
- The federal tax consequences of the order
The court will also consider the income of both parties but will not consider the minor child's social security benefit payments or the income of a second or subsequent spouse. This means that if either party marries a spouse with a significant income, it will not be used in determining how much alimony they should pay to the other party. In addition, the court will consider each party's contribution to their house including the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of the home and the non-economic contributions that each provided. If the court chooses not to grant alimony or the court denied the motion, they will specify the reasons for their decision with a written response.
Get a New Hampshire Divorce Attorney Now
If you are considering a divorce or would like to know more about filing a request for alimony, contact our office right away. Alimony is not a guarantee in New Hampshire, it is up to the court to decide what is fair for both parties. Having an experienced family law and divorce attorney on your side is a great way to make sure you get the results that you want.
Attorney Katharine Phinney handles all types of divorce cases and focuses on collaborative divorce and conflict resolution. An alimony request must be filed in a limited period of time so make sure you contact an attorney right away.