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How is marital property divided in New Hampshire?

Any individual who has worked hard to get where he or she is in life may harbor concerns about what could happen during a divorce. This may lead to many questions about what might happen to the property and holdings one has accumulated when a judge orders the marital assets divided.

Marital Property versus Separate Property

If a couple is unable to agree on a fair division of their assets, it will be up to a judge to decide how to split the marital property. The most basic question to be answered is: What is considered to be marital property in New Hampshire?

Unlike in some other states, all property a married individual holds in New Hampshire is said to be marital property. How or when the property was acquired is irrelevant, as is the name on a title of ownership. For example, a car purchased before a marriage, or a property bequeathed to one party and not the other, though seemingly the possession of one person, will still be pooled with the rest of the assets and considered for division.

What assets will be divided during a divorce?

Since it has been established that all assets accumulated during the time of the marriage are, in effect, jointly owned by a husband and wife, it can fairly be said that every item, be it intangible or physical, must be valued and divided. This includes:

  • Real estate, including the family home, vacation properties and timeshare ownership
  • Vehicles, jewelry and furnishings
  • Employment income, investments, pensions and benefits
  • Debts

Equitable Distribution

Once the assets have been valued, a judge will then consider how to divide them equitably. This does not mean splitting them equally. Rather, it means each party gets what seems to be a fair portion of the overall value of the assets.

Many factors will be considered when determining equitable distribution, such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Individual opportunities for future assets and income
  • Balancing the ability of the custodial parent to maintain employment with the interests of minor children
  • Value of property allocated in a prenuptial agreement
  • Contributions of one spouse to aid the career or education of the other

Working with a lawyer during a divorce

In a high-asset marriage, it is all but certain that those assets will be a major focus of the divorce proceedings. Those who has spent their lives working to better their situations and the situations of their families may be understandably protective of all they have accomplished. No one wants to see his or her hard-earned assets lost unnecessarily.

A lawyer who has handled many such cases before may be exactly the asset you need to protect your interests in a divorce. Dedicated, professional attention to your case may help to ensure a truly fair settlement in the end.

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