How do New Hampshire Courts Determine Child Custody and Child Support?

If you are a parent who is going through a divorce in New Hampshire, you likely have child custody concerns. Understanding New Hampshire’s child custody and child support laws is important for any parent participating in a parenting plan. At Ward Law, our family law attorneys are experienced in all relevant child custody matters.

We understand that divorce and child custody issues can be emotionally charged and complicated. With over 60 years of combined legal experience, our child custody attorneys effectively advocate on behalf of our clients. Contact our Manchester, New Hampshire law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation and consultation.

How do New Hampshire Courts Determine Child Custody?

New Hampshire now refers to child custody determinations as ‘parenting plans.’ Family courts prefer that both parents be fully engaged in parenting and prefer creating parenting plans in which parents share responsibilities. Courts will award sole decision-making responsibilities to one parent when it is warranted. Family courts consider several factors in determining parenting plans, such as:

  • How well the child is adjusting to his or her community and school
  • The ability of the parents to communicate with each other
  • The quality of the child’s relationship with each parent
  • The child’s developmental needs
  • The ability of each parent to foster a quality relationship with the other parent and child

New Hampshire’s Child Support Laws

New Hampshire family court judges determine the monthly child support amount each parent needs to pay. Judges apply the child support statute which provides a set formula for determining child support. New Hampshire’s child support laws are based on three main principles:

  • Both of the parents should share the economic responsibility of supporting their children.
  • Children of the obligor (person who pays the support) are entitled to the same standard of living as any children born to the obligor at a later time.
  • Child support is based on a percentage of the obligor’s net income. The percentage is determined based on the obligor’s income level and number of children.

Specifically, family courts take all of the following into account when determining the child support amount:

  • The parent’s adjusted gross income
  • The parent’s number of children
  • The cost of the child’s medical insurance
  • Daycare costs
  • The amount of state income taxes paid by the parent
  • Any relevant tax deductions

Family Courts do Not Always Apply the Child Support Formula

New Hampshire family courts will enter all of the relevant information into a calculation chart that will indicate the monthly child support obligations of each parent. After the family court determines the amount of child support, a parent can request an adjustment based on special circumstances. In special circumstances, judges do not need to apply the strict child support formula and can increase or decrease the monthly child support obligations accordingly.

We can Help You with Your Child Custody or Child Support Needs

We understand how stressful child custody and child support issues can become. If you need legal assistance in a child custody or child support matter, we can help. Contact our Manchester law firm today to set up your free initial consultation.