New Hampshire’s New Alimony Laws

On January 1, 2019, New Hampshire’s new alimony laws went into effect. Alimony refers to court-ordered payments awarded to a former spouse as part of a divorce agreement. New Hampshire courts often award alimony to the spouse who made a lower income or no income at all. Senate Bill 71, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, puts into place a statutory formula for calculating alimony. Family court judges will use the formula to determine how much alimony payor must pay the spouse receiving alimony.

The New Statute Will Make the Calculation of Alimony More Predictable

Before the new alimony law went into effect, alimony payments could vary widely. Different judges would arrive at different alimony agreements in similar circumstances. Now, the alimony amount is set at up to 30% of the difference between the income of the ex-spouses.

A number of other factors can affect that calculation. Under the new law, judges can order alimony payments to last for up to half of the length of the marriage. Or, judges can require alimony payments until the payor reaches retirement age. Judges still have the discretion to modify the terms of alimony cases based on the facts of each individual case.

How is Term Alimony and Reimbursement Alimony Determined?

Term alimony is alimony that a judge calculates according to a formula provided by New Hampshire’s new law. The alimony amount must be the lesser amount of the recipient’s reasonable need for alimony or the amount derived from the formula. The formula amount is 30% of the difference between the gross income of the spouses, reduced by subtracting child support and the costs of other specified expenses.

Cohabitation and the New Alimony Law

Cohabitation can affect alimony payments in New Hampshire. If a family court judge finds that two unrelated adults in a relationship resembling marriage are cohabitating, the judge can terminate or modify alimony. The judge must find that two of the following factors exist for adults to be cohabitating under the law:

  • Two adults are living together on a continual basis in a primary residence
  • Two adults are sharing expenses
  • Two adults are economically interdependent on one another
  • Two adults join ownership of real or personal property
  • An intimate relationship exists
  • Whether or not the adult couple holds themselves out to be a couple

In some circumstances, recipients of alimony can petition the court to reinstate the original alimony order after the cohabitation ends. Similarly, if a second marriage ended in divorce, the alimony recipient can move for reinstatement of alimony from his or her first spouse. A judge could grant the motion when there are still alimony payments left under the original agreement.

Our New Hampshire Divorce Attorneys can Help

Understanding New Hampshire’s new alimony formula can be challenging. The divorce attorneys at Ward Law have helped many clients navigate New Hampshire divorce proceedings. Contact our Manchester law firm today to set up your free case evaluation to discuss how our attorneys can help you.