Married couples in New Hampshire may spend years or even decades amassing numerous assets. They may own a home together, automobiles, furniture, electronics, retirement accounts, bank accounts and more. However, if the couple decides to divorce, decisions will need to be made about how to divide these assets.

First, it is important to understand that marital assets are those obtained while the couple is married, and which both spouses have an ownership interest in, even if the asset is titled only in one spouse’s name. Thus, they are included in the divisible estate. Separate assets, on the other hand, may include property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage that has not commingled with marital assets, inheritances and personal gifts. Separate assets are kept by the spouse who owns them and are not part of the divisible estate.

New Hampshire follows the laws of “equitable distribution” when it comes to property division in a divorce. This means that the court will divide assets based on what is fair, and it may not necessarily lead to an exact 50/50 split. When determining how to divide assets in a divorce, the court may consider numerous factors, including: how long the couple was married; each spouse’s age, health, job and employability; child custody, if the couple has a child; and whether there is a significant disparity in each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. These are only some factors — there are others.

Property division is an important part of any divorce in New Hampshire. Spouses may feel strongly about who should get to keep what. Therefore, it is important that the final result, whether it is reached through out-of-court negotiations or whether it is through a court order, is fair and meets the needs of all involved.