New Hampshire Divorce & Custody Lawyers
- Divorce Law In New Hampshire
- Divorce Issues
- Post-Divorce Law In New Hampshire
- Mediation and Unbundled Services
Divorce Law In New Hampshire
The Attorneys and staff at Solomon Law Offices have over years(); ?> years of experience in divorce and child support cases. We have handled thousands of cases in Courts throughout New Hampshire. We understand the sensitive personal issues involved in these cases as well as the serious long-lasting financial repercussions. Our goal is to provide you with the action and results you are entitled to.
If you are contemplating a divorce or if you believe your spouse is contemplating a divorce, or if any action has been filed, you need and deserve the help and skill of competent attorneys. Your attorneys need to be aware, as we are at Solomon Law Offices, that divorces involve emotional issues, legal issues, economic issues, parental issues, and that often times the decisions you make now will affect you for many years to come.
Divorce typically involves the division of all assets/debts accumulated during the course of your marriage. Marital assets include the equity in your home, your business, retirement accounts, stocks, stock options, bank accounts, etc. The law requires that the division of these assets between you and your spouse be "equitable" or fair with the presumption that absent any special circumstances, equitable means an equal division. Special circumstances that may alter a 50-50 split of assets are differences in the age, health, education work capacity and income generated of you and your spouse. The fault of one party in the breakdown of the marriage can also be a factor.
Alimony or spousal support is awarded in the State of New Hampshire, although there is no specific formula to determine the amount. The amount and duration of alimony depends on the specific circumstances of your marriage, including such factors such as the length of your marriage, your lifestyle enjoyed when married, the support needed after divorce and the ability of the other to supplement the alimony requested. Alimony may only be modified by agreement or upon a substantial change in circumstances for either party.
Furthermore, if the marriage produced children, your divorce must address the parental rights and responsibilities of you and your spouse. The law has changed significantly in this area and we no longer use the words "custody" and "visitation". The State also encourages both parents to be actively involved in their children's lives. The rights and responsibilities of each parent are decided in the "best interest" of your children. Child Support is calculated pursuant to a formula utilizing both parties' gross wages. Child support remains in place until your child attains the age of eighteen (18) and/or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. Child support can be modified every three (3) years, upon a substantial change in circumstances (i.e. a child ages out of the support entitlement or a party's income dramatically changes) or by written agreement of the parties.
Unfortunately, you may find that although you already have been divorced, you or your ex-spouse are having problems abiding by your agreement and/or the Court's original Order; or you want to change a provision regarding your children or alimony because your circumstances have changed. Our attorneys have experience in all types of post-divorce issues including, child support modification, changes in parenting schedules, relocation issues, modification of alimony and other contempt actions where your former spouse is deliberately disobeying your divorce Order.
At Solomon Law Offices, we are committed to achieving the actions and results to which you are entitled in any and all issues you may face in your divorce or post-divorce. We are available for consultation by telephone and we have four office locations and handicap accessible facilities.
If you are contemplating a divorce, or if a divorce action has or may be filed against you by your spouse, understanding the issues you will face during the divorce process is critical, so you can make reasonable, rational decisions based on knowledge and information, not on emotion or fear. Every divorce is unique; for instance you or spouse may own your own business, you might be employed or not, you may have issues with creditors, you may have children or not; there are innumerable variables. The divorce process is governed by State Statute, which establishes standards for:
- Dividing the assets of the marital estate;
- awarding custody of children;
- determining child support and/or alimony;
- generally dissolving the marital partnership.
The division of marital assets and debts, also known as "the property settlement", is governed by the "fair and equitable under the circumstances" standard. Our Courts have ruled that “fair and equitable” usually means an equal division. This standard may be deviated from in accordance with the unique circumstances of your marriage. In New Hampshire, the marital estate includes all real property, (land and buildings) stocks, stock options, bonds, pensions and 401(K) plans, checking and savings accounts, furniture, jewelry, businesses, cars, etc…no matter if the assets are held individually or jointly. To determine what the marital estate consists of, you should first identify all of your assets together with their fair market value. Next you should list all of your liabilities; outstanding credit card debt, loans and other financial obligations. Absent special circumstances, such as inherited property, an extremely short or long-term marriage, the existence of fault based grounds for divorce, assets which pre-date the marriage, disparate earning capacities, education, health, etc., the division is roughly a 50/50 split of all assets and debts. If you or your spouse own a business, or if there are assets which are subject to different valuations, such as stock options, real estate or pension plans, you should contemplate hiring attorneys who will strive to obtain experts to achieve valuations which will lead to the most favorable division of assets for you.
“Custody” and “visitation” terms were eliminated with the adoption of New Hampshire RSA 461, the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act. Parents must now determine what the “residential schedule” will be for their children during and after the divorce. In many divorces the residential schedule is not contested. The State and the Courts now typically favor a shared residential schedule where the children spend equal amounts of time with both parents. It is best to determine a schedule that you and your spouse can reasonably maintain once you are divorced, taking into consideration everyone’s schedules, including the children’s. When the residential schedule is disputed, a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed to represent the children and conduct an investigation to determine those interests. Residential issues are resolved by using the standard of what is in “the best interest” of the children.
Child support is determined by a formula that utilizes you and your spouses combined gross income, less certain deductions for the parents who pays self-employment taxes, health insurance for the children, daycare expenses for the children, and a few other allowable deductions pursuant to the New Hampshire Child Support Guidelines. The following percentages are then applied to the adjusted gross income to determine specific dollar amount for support: 25% for 1 child; 33% for 2 children and 45% for 3 or more children. Payment of the full guideline amount from one parent to the other is inclusive of all the support that parent is obligated to pay. There is no additional obligation to pay for extracurricular or miscellaneous expenses. There are circumstances that would allow for a deviation from the Guideline. Please call our office and schedule an office consultation to learn more.
Spousal support is determined by the requesting party’s need, and the other party’s ability to pay. Spousal support may be requested where the parties have a long-term marriage, and/or significant earning discrepancies, or where one party does not work, or is in ill health or otherwise requires help to meet their basic needs. Needs, however, may vary according to the particular lifestyle you and your spouse lead. The Courts have previously ruled the Alimony is not a "stipend" to be paid merely because of marriage, rather it is rehabilitative, and therefore its duration and amount will vary considerably from case to case. More recent Court decisions, however, indicate that alimony is not strictly rehabilitative and circumstances may exist where alimony is paid long-term or even of indefinitely.
There is no exact timetable for a divorce. The process can be as short as thirty days or take over a year to complete, depending on how much you or your spouse disagree over the issues involved, or of assets needed to be appraised or for a number of other reasons. At Solomon Law Offices we offer you aggressive, attentive representation from our initial consultation until your divorce is completed.
Your divorce will touch upon one, if not all of the above issues.
The attorneys at Solomon Law Offices are prepared to use their knowledge of the law, their experience and their resources, to help you obtain the most favorable results possible in your divorce.
Post-Divorce Law In New Hampshire
Although divorce legally severs the intimate relationship between adults, divorcing parties who have children, pay or receive alimony or have an agreement or Court Order whereby marital property is sold or distributed at some future date may be tied together through those issues for years to come. The Attorneys and staff at Solomon Law Offices have over years(); ?> years of experience in post-divorce cases. We have handled numerous post-divorce cases in Courts throughout New Hampshire. We understand the sensitive, personal issues involved in these cases, as well as the potential serious financial impact they carry. Our goal is to provide you with the aggressive, attentive representation these cases demand and your situation requires.
If you are thinking of changing your current parenting schedule, recalculating child the amount of child support you pay or receive, we can give you the representation you need. Parties often make verbal agreements without thereafter executing an amendment to their original divorce. You and your former spouse may have agreed with the new “rules” you have discussed. Unfortunately, if future conflicts arise, what was once “understood” is now usually claimed as “never agreed to” by one of the parties, and since Courts tend not to recognize oral agreements, the original Order is likely to stand with appropriate penalties assessed, if any, to the party who is not acting in accordance with that Order.
Post-divorce issues often center around the children’s schedules and payment of support. Changes may be necessary, which are not driven by the fault or inability of either party to parent, but as a natural result of the growth of the child(ren), their changing schedules, needs and desires. Changes in the parental rights and responsibilities of the parents may result in a recalculation of the Child Support Guideline. Additionally, there are specific standards which apply to changes in parenting schedules, support and relocation of any children outside the State of New Hampshire which you should understand in the event you and your ex-spouse do not agree to the proposed change.
Conflicts may arise in the way you or your ex-spouse interpret the provisions of your divorce Order. In some cases, the meaning of a particular provision is not readily apparent or easily understood. The Attorneys at Solomon Law Offices have over years(); ?> years experience in interpreting divorce Orders and are committed to resolving such conflicts to your satisfaction as the law allows. You may discover that your need for alimony has increased or, if you are obligated to pay alimony, that your ability to pay has decreased or that the initial time allotted for alimony is approaching and that you want payment to continue. You may remarry, retire, or your children, who were young at the time of the divorce, are now applying to colleges and universities. You may discover that your former spouse is remarrying and/or moving out of the State of New Hampshire with your child(ren). Your child may have recently become emancipated and the marital home must be sold according to the provisions of your original divorce Order.
At Solomon Law Offices, we are available for consultation by telephone or in person at one of our four office locations to discuss your post-divorce needs.
REMEMBER OUR INITIAL CONSULTATION IS ALWAYS FREE.