If you are considering divorce in New Hampshire, you should be aware that state laws divide property slightly differently than in most areas of the United States. Although New Hampshire is an equitable distribution state, it considers all property that a couple owns, regardless of when it was acquired, as marital property.
Facts about equitable distribution
New Hampshire courts usually accept a fair distribution of property when couples agree on property division. However, when a divorce becomes contentious and both sides are unable to reach a settlement, the court assigns a monetary value to the marital property and debt and distributes the assets according to what it considers fair.
Equitable distribution does not mean a 50% split but is based on several factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The spouses’ ages
- Future opportunities for income
- The ability of the custodial parent to engage in gainful employment
- Contribution by one spouse to promote the career of the other
- Prenuptial agreements
Property not detailed in a prenuptial agreement that was acquired before the marriage will be considered marital property. Even vested pensions acquired before the marriage fall into this category. To split these accounts, you must usually complete a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that provides instructions to a plan administrator on how to divide the benefits.
The challenges of splitting marital property
Property division can be difficult. Collaborative divorce and mediation are two alternatives that allow you to have more control over the divorce settlement and ensure that your interests are protected. In most cases, if you can prove to the court that you have reached a fair agreement, a judge will accept your plan.
One spouse may end up with more assets. Yet, you should remember the factors involved when determining your marital property agreement.