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Situations in which New Hampshire offers sole custody in divorce

In general, courts in New Hampshire prefer to arrange for shared custody scenarios in a divorce involving minor children. Although there was once a time when courts often favored one parent over the other, years of psychological and sociological research have made it clear that children have fewer negative consequences when they maintain healthy, balanced relationships with both parents.

In many cases, fully shared custody, with each parent assuming 50 percent of parenting times and other responsibilities, is the preferred outcome. That may mean alternating days or even weeks with your ex.

However, there are scenarios in which the New Hampshire family courts will consider assigning sole custody to one parent or the other. These cases are usually relatively severe, as well as rare.

Neglect, abuse, addiction and instability are reasons to deny custody

In custody, as in asset division, the courts typically do not consider marital misconduct. The courts will not consider an extramarital affair or other issues in the marriage when deciding how to allocate parental rights and responsibilities in a New Hampshire divorce.

However, if there is official documentation of serious issues, ranging from addiction to abuse, the courts may choose to allocate all parental responsibilities, other than child support, to one parent. That situation could involve no parenting time for one parent or even supervised visitation.

The guiding principle for all child custody determinations must be the best interests of the children. When a parent is unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations to their children, the family courts will consider that during divorce and custody proceedings. However, you will need police reports, medical records or other document that shows a pattern of instability, abuse or addiction.

Start planning now if you want to leave a toxic marriage

Many people living with an unstable, abusive or addicted spouse do not speak out about it or report issues to law enforcement. They do this out of a sense of loyalty to their spouses, as well as concern for their own safety and the safety of their children.

However, if you want to protect your children in a divorce scenario, you will need some kind of official corroboration to support your claims about your spouse's behavior. The courts will rarely allow verbal testimony about issues alone to suffice if one parent asks for sole custody.

If you truly cannot seek medical care or involve law enforcement, maintaining a diary with exact details of what happens in your household may help. Photographing injuries caused by or documenting the expenses and issues that arise because of addiction can help you convince the courts about the issues plaguing your household. The most important consideration should be protecting the children and ensuring their safety, as well as your own.

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