If you are getting divorced in New Hampshire, you are likely wondering whether you can get spousal support, also referred to as alimony. The answer is yes, but only if you meet the eligibility requirements of New Hampshire law. Although there was a time when alimony was routinely awarded to women, that's no longer the case. Instead, the court will look at each party's circumstances and financial condition in deciding whether to award alimony.
Below, you'll find some answers to commonly asked questions about alimony in New Hampshire. For more information on spousal support, see our Alimony page. For information on New Hampshire divorce law, including child custody, child support, division of property, and more, see our New Hampshire Divorce and Family Law page.
Can alimony be awarded in New Hampshire?
Yes. New Hampshire has a statute providing that alimony may be awarded in certain circumstances.
When will alimony be awarded?
To award alimony, a court must find three things:
- that the spouse seeking alimony doesn't have enough income, property, or both, to meet his or her reasonable needs, considering the lifestyle the couple enjoyed during their marriage
- that the spouse from whom alimony is sought will be able to meet both spouse's financial needs, again considering the lifestyle the couple enjoyed during their marriage, and
- that the spouse seeking alimony cannot support himself or herself or must take care of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for the parent not to work outside the home.
Basically, the court must find that the spouse seeking alimony needs it, and the the spouse from whom alimony is sought can afford to pay it.
How much will the Court award?
The alimony statute sets out various factors a court must consider in deciding the amount of alimony to award. They include the following:
- how long the marriage lasted
- the age, health, and social or economic status of each spouse
- each spouse's occupation
- the amount and source of income for each spouse
- the property awarded to each spouse in the divorce
- the vocational skills and employability of each spouse
- the estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse
- each spouse's opportunity to acquire assets and earn income in the future
- the fault of either spouse in the divorce (as defined by statute), and
- the federal tax consequences to each spouse of awarding alimony.
The court has broad discretion in determining whether or not to award alimony, how long the award will last, and the amount of the award. It must, however, set forth specific reasons for awarding or denying alimony in its order.
What are the federal tax consequences of an alimony award?
Alimony is taxable as income to the recipient spouse and is deductible by the payor spouse.
When must a spouse request alimony?
A request for alimony must be raised in the divorce pleadings. The court will not allow a party to raise the issue of alimony at the final hearing if it was not requested in that party's pleadings. The party from whom alimony is sought must be given fair notice so that they may defend against such a request.
How long will the alimony award last?
Alimony may be awarded temporarily or permanently, for a definite or indefinite period of time. Prior versions of the alimony statute put a three-year limit on alimony for couples that had no minor children. Such limitations have since been removed, however. This means the court could make a permanent alimony award, if the facts and circumstances warrant it.