Upon divorce, “marital property” is divided. Marital property includes all tangible (a car, a house) and intangible (intellectual property, pensions) property. In New Hampshire, judges must divide marital property fairly. In most cases, the Court presumes that an equal division is fair. However, Courts sometimes divide property unequally after considering fourteen statutory factors (RSA 458:16-a).
These factors include: the duration of the marriage, employment and sources of income, need of the custodial parent, unequal contribution to the marriage by either party, and the value of property acquired prior to marriage. The Court looks at the roles of each party in the marriage and their ability to earn in the future. Contributions to the marriage may come in the form of earning income, but can also be responsibilities like caring for children and the home.
Included in the fourteen statutory factors is whether or not the divorce is fault-based. A fault-based divorce contrasts with a no-fault or irreconcilable differences divorce. If divorce is granted on fault grounds, the court may make an unequal distribution of property in favor of the harmed person. In addition to these fourteen factors, Courts may consider “any other factor that the court deems relevant” in determining the division of marital property.
For one common example, if Jim and Mary are getting divorced, and Mary has a larger earning capacity than Jim, the Court might award a larger share of the marital assets to Jim, the lower-earning spouse. This would be done on the basis that Mary should be able to recover more quickly financially after the divorce.
Ultimately, an attorney will help flesh out your full financial situation prior to a property division in a divorce action. It is the attorney’s job to convince the Court to divide assets in a manner most favorable to you, by arguing that some of these fourteen factors work in your favor. Without an attorney to help conduct your divorce, you take the risk of getting an unfavorable property division. To speak with one of Welts, White & Fontaine’s experienced divorce attorneys, please call us today at (603) 883-0797, or use the contact form at the foot of this page.
Author Michael J. Fontaine
Welts, White & Fontaine is Nashua’s largest law firm and serves the legal needs of both individuals and businesses in towns such as Amherst, Milford, Hudson, Brookline, Windham, Hollis, Merrimack, Litchfield, Bedford, Londonderry, Pelham, and of course Nashua.
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.