In New Hampshire, the Court is charged to make an equitable division of the parties' marital estate. According to New Hampshire law, equitable division starts with a presumption of a 50-50 division, which division is subject to adjustment after consideration of other factors. Equitable does not always mean equal, but it is a good start. Specifically, RSA 458:16-a, II provides:
II. When a dissolution of a marriage is decreed, the court may order an equitable division of property between the parties. The court shall presume that an equal division is an equitable distribution of property, unless the court establishes a trust fund under RSA 458:20 or unless the court decides that an equal division would not be appropriate or equitable after considering one or more of the following factors:
(a) The duration of the marriage.
(b) The age, health, social or economic status, occupation, vocational skills, employability, separate property, amount and sources of income, needs and liabilities of each party.
(c) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
(d) The ability of the custodial parent, if any, to engage in gainful employment without substantially interfering with the interests of any minor children in the custody of said party.
(e) The need of the custodial parent, if any, to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects.
(f) The actions of either party during the marriage which contributed to the growth or diminution in value of property owned by either or both of the parties.
(g) Significant disparity between the parties in relation to contributions to the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of the children and the care and management of the home.
(h) Any direct or indirect contribution made by one party to help educate or develop the career or employability of the other party and any interruption of either party's educational or personal career opportunities for the benefit of the other's career or for the benefit of the parties' marriage or children.
(i) The expectation of pension or retirement rights acquired prior to or during the marriage.
(j) The tax consequences for each party.
(k) The value of property that is allocated by a valid prenuptial contract made in good faith by the parties.
(l) The fault of either party as specified in RSA 458:7 if said fault caused the breakdown of the marriage and:
- Caused substantial physical or mental pain and suffering; or
- Resulted in substantial economic loss to the marital estate or the injured party.
(m) The value of any property acquired prior to the marriage and property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.
(n) The value of any property acquired by gift, devise, or descent.
(o) Any other factor that the court deems relevant.
RSA 458:16-a (II) (emphasis added).
The factors enumerated above provide the Court flexibility to make a deviation from the presumed 50-50 division.
At Tenn And Tenn, P.A., our NH divorce lawyers understand the complexities of trying to equitably divide the marital estate. Please contact one of our experienced Family Law attorneys today at 1-888-511-1010 to discuss your Divorce and Marital Estate.