A divorce ends your legal connection and obligation to your spouse. However, it does not end the obligation to your children, unless you have been providing financial support for stepchildren during the marriage.
Your biological children, along with stepchildren or unrelated children adopted during your marriage, will likely require child support during and after the divorce. Typically, child support obligations last until a minor turns 18, although there are certain exceptions to that rule. That means that there may be a decade or more of child support obligations that follow your divorce.
Whether you hope to collect child support to offset the cost of caring for your children or worry that you may have an obligation to pay child support, the more you know about New Hampshire’s rules on the topic, the better.
New Hampshire looks carefully at family circumstances to set a fair amount
Child support is often an area where no one feels satisfied in a divorce. The parent receiving the support will probably feel like they don’t receive nearly enough to cover the costs that the kids incur, while the parent paying support will probably feel like the support represents too much of their income every month.
However, it’s important that you and your ex both come to terms with the fact that child support isn’t about what you want, but rather what the children from your family need. Each family has its own circumstances that impact the amount of support that will be necessary and reasonable. The courts will look at everything from the split of parenting time to the costs associated with childcare when determining child support levels. You can estimate the obligation by using the state’s online calculator.
From the number of children in the family to the current income of both spouses and any special medical or educational needs, the state will look carefully at your financial circumstances to make sure that the amount of support they order is reasonable and fair.
The courts issue support as a court order
Child support is a court order that carries the full weight of the New Hampshire family court. Failing to pay child support as ordered can result in legal consequences, including enforcement efforts ranging from the garnishment of wages to the potential for an arrest for unpaid child support.
Parents who truly cannot meet the obligation as ordered by the courts have the right to seek a modification, which is the process in which they request that the courts re-evaluate the family’s financial circumstances and adjust the support level accordingly.
It is important for any parent struggling to pay child support to seek a modification in a timely manner, as child support is a priority debt that parents cannot discharge in bankruptcy proceedings. Once you accrue that financial obligation, you won’t have any way to discharge your child support debt.