Alimony refers to the legal obligation of one spouse to support the other. In a divorce proceeding in New Hampshire, the Court has the authority to award alimony (sometimes called spousal support) to either a husband or wife. The Court can make an award of alimony to the party in need of support, either on a temporary basis or a permanent basis, and may do so for a definite or indefinite period of time. Alimony also can be awarded in a lump-sum, periodic payments, or a combination of both.How do I Know if I Qualify for Alimony, and how Much can I Receive?
Typically, in New Hampshire, alimony may be awarded if one spouse has a need for support and the other spouse has the ability to pay support. Unlike child support, there is no set formula for calculating the amount of alimony.
In determining the nature and extent of an alimony award, the Court is required to consider a number of factors, including:
- How long the couple was married
- The health, age, occupation, economic status, liabilities, and needs of both parties
- A spouse's opportunity to amass future income and assets
- The fault of either party (if one party caused the breakdown of the marriage)
- The federal tax consequences
Specifically, RSA 458:19(IV) (b) provides:
(b) In determining the amount of alimony, the court shall consider the length of the marriage; the age, health, social or economic status, occupation, amount and sources of income, the property awarded under RSA 458:16-a, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties; the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income; the fault of either party as defined in RSA 458:16-a, II(l); and the federal tax consequences of the order.
When determining an award of alimony in New Hampshire, there are other factors that the Court may, but is not required to, consider, such as a:
- A spouse's contributions to the acquiring and preserving the marital estate during the marriage
- A spouse's contributions as homemaker and parent
Specifically, RSA 458:19(IV) (d) provides:
(d) The court may also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates and the noneconomic contribution of each of the parties to the family unit.What is Rehabilitative Alimony?
New Hampshire Courts have recognized the concept of rehabilitative alimony. This is alimony paid for a limited period of time to allow the other spouse sufficient time to become self-supporting -- or rehabilitated. The concept is designed to encourage a spouse receiving alimony to establish an independent source of income where appropriate. In some case, rehabilitative alimony can work; but, in others, depending on many factors, the Court may award permanent alimony and the concept of rehabilitative alimony is not applicable.When Does Alimony Terminate?
Typically, in New Hampshire, the Court Order will specify how long alimony is to be paid. Alimony does not terminate automatically upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse; however, the Court Order may impose termination of alimony in those events. Alimony does terminate on the death of the recipient spouse.
The Court Order may also provide that alimony terminates upon retirement, receipt of inheritance or trust assets, or upon the recipient achieving a certain level of income.Quality Legal Representation
Individuals seeking alimony or defending against a request for alimony should discuss their case with a skilled family law attorney. Issues regarding alimony are fact-specific and are impacted by the unique circumstances of the parties' marriage and financial condition. The experienced New Hampshire family law attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. understand the complexities in seeking or defending against an award of alimony in NH. Our New Hampshire family law attorneys are able to advise clients of their legal options and best strategies in an alimony case.