The end of a marriage can be difficult on a person, emotionally and financially. This may be especially true if one spouse earned much more than the other spouse while the couple was married, or if one spouse stayed out of the workforce entirely while married to care for the household. For this reason, the lesser-earning spouse may want to seek alimony (also called spousal support) from the greater-earning spouse as part of the final divorce decree. It is important, then, for residents to have a basic understanding of alimony laws in their state.
Under New Hampshire law, alimony awards may be either temporary or permanent, and may or may not have a definite endpoint. Alimony will be awarded if the court determines that the party in need of alimony does not have enough in the way of income and assets to meet their reasonable needs, taking into consideration the lifestyle the couple enjoyed while married. However, the spouse from whom alimony is sought must also be able to meet their own reasonable needs while still paying alimony, given the lifestyle the couple enjoyed while married.
In addition, to award alimony, the court must find that the party seeking alimony is unable to obtain sufficient employment that allows them to support themselves at a standard of living that meets their reasonable needs or that the party seeking alimony has custody of a child under circumstances that make it appropriate for that party to stay out of the workforce to care for the child.
An alimony award can be made either in periodic payments, as a single payment, or both. The court will consider various factors when determining how much alimony to award. It may consider each spouse's age, health, employment, income, assets awarded in the property division process, debts and other factors.
This is only a very brief overview of some aspects of alimony in New Hampshire. As such, it cannot serve as legal advice for any specific situation. Every divorce is unique and will be treated as such by the courts. Legal professionals have knowledge about alimony in our state and may be able to provide those who want to learn more about this topic with more information.