Alimony and Property Division in New Hampshire

Married couples who have decided to divorce must determine how they will divide their property and whether one spouse should receive alimony. In New Hampshire a married couple’s property must be equitably distributed. This means that assets accumulated throughout the marriage belong to both parties. There must be an equitable distribution to both people. Alimony, also called spousal support, is a means to provide money to one partner during or after the divorce. While alimony has been quite common in years past, today alimony is designed with a purpose in mind. This means that alimony isn’t automatically provided but it is possible in some circumstances. Divorce can be a stressful and complex process so you’ll find the best results occur when you get help from an experienced New Hampshire divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Settlement Terms
There are many settlement terms that need to be discussed as part of a divorce. Some of the most important terms involve distribution of assets and debts, child custody, child support and visitation, and alimony. These terms will become part of the final divorce agreement and will become court ordered. The courts prefer that couples try to work out the major terms of their divorce so that both parties agree. Some of the most common terms that need to be resolved include:
Division of property
Distribution of assets and debts
Child custody
Child support and visitation
While marital property is to be divided equitably, this can be difficult for some couples to accomplish. Equitable distribution applies to material property as well as to money such as funds in checking and savings accounts. It is important to make a list of all of your assets including property, accounts, debts, and pensions. A knowledgeable New Hampshire divorce lawyer will be able to help you as you work through the specifics of division of property.

Marital Property
Marital property is considered anything that you and your partner purchased together as a couple after the marriage. Property that you owned on your own prior to getting married belongs to you and is not included in distribution. When items were purchased together after marriage the items belong to both parties. Sometimes division of property can become difficult, especially when the couple has been married for a long time and has accumulated a great deal of items. It is essential that you work out these issues as best as you can. Keep in mind that property that you owned individually, before you married, is yours alone. The best thing to do is make a list of all your property along with an estimated value of it. Once you have a list you’ll be better prepared to go through the property to determine how to handle distribution of it.

Equitable Division
In New Hampshire as in other states, marital property must be divided equitably between both spouses. This is true with few exceptions. Equitable distribution means that both parties will come away from the marriage about equal. Everything must be considered when looking at marital property. In addition to physical property, money must also be considered. This may include bank accounts, retirement funds, and pension plans. All of these assets will be reviewed when deciding who will get what. Remember that in addition to assets, couples must also address debts they have accumulated during the marriage. These debts include such things as the mortgage, car loans, home equity lines of credit, and credit card debts. These are important aspects of the divorce because just as both people are entitled to half of the money, they are also both equally responsible for debts.

Types of Alimony
There are two main types of alimony in New Hampshire. Permanent alimony and temporary alimony are both available in the state. Alimony isn’t automatically ordered in every divorce case. Permanent alimony is a specific amount of money to be paid for a definitive length of time. Temporary alimony is generally provided for a short length of time. Temporary alimony is most often ordered to assist one spouse with living expenses while he or she prepares to reenter the workforce. Temporary alimony may begin even before the divorce is final and may last for several months or longer. Alimony may be paid in regular monthly payments or may be paid in a lump sum. The Type of alimony that is ordered will depend on many factors. Always talk to an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney for assistance in learning about alimony in your divorce.

Factors Determining Alimony
A judge will review many factors when considering alimony in a divorce case. First, the spouse who is asking for alimony will need to present reasons why it should be granted. Some of the things that the judge will look at include:
Length of the marriage
Age of both partners
Ability of each spouse to work
Health of each spouse
Standard of living
Education of each spouse
Current and previous employment

These factors will be reviewed to determine the alimony to be provided, or even if alimony is warranted. Temporary alimony is most often granted as a way to assist those who need to return to school for a time in order to prepare for a career. Permanent alimony is not as common and is most often ordered for a spouse who was married for a long time, has not been in the work place, and will not be able to become employed. Permanent alimony typically is ordered for a period of time and can be renewed if needed. If a spouse that is receiving alimony gets remarried, the alimony will typically be ended.

Resolving Alimony Disputes

Alimony disputes are best settled through the use of a mediator. A mediator is an impartial professional who will work with both parties to assist in resolving divorce issues including alimony. The mediator will review statements from each party and will then meet with the parties to try to find a solution that is acceptable to both. The goal of a mediator is to assist couples in finding equitable solutions to divorce terms. It is best to first discuss your divorce and alimony with a New Hampshire family law attorney.