Unlike child support which has a specific formula, in New Hampshire there is no formula for determining alimony in a divorce case. So how does a Judge decide whether alimony should be awarded and in what amount? It is essentially a “needs versus ability to pay” analysis. New Hampshire law, specifically N.H. RSA 458:19, I, permits the court to award alimony if it finds that:
In determining the amount of alimony to be awarded, N.H. RSA 458:19, IV provides that the court shall consider the following factors:
The court may also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in the value of their respective estates, as well as each party’s noneconomic contribution to the family unit.
These factors serve merely as a guideline for judges. A Judge must start with these factors and then use his or her discretion in determining whether alimony should be awarded, the proper amount, and the period of time that is appropriate. Since there is no prescribed formula, it is often difficult to predict how a Judge will rule on the issue. Two different judges may view the same set of facts completely differently. For these reasons, it is very important to have an experienced family law attorney to assist you.
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