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New Hampshire Family Law on Domestic Violence

In New Hampshire, abuse that occurs between family or household members constitutes the crime of domestic violence. Acts of domestic violence can be punished criminally, and can also have an effect on the offender's family law rights, specifically related to divorce and child custody. The chart below outlines New Hampshire's main domestic violence law.

Code Section

New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 173-B:1: Domestic Violence

What's Prohibited?

Domestic abuse is prohibited in New Hampshire. Abuse means the commission (or attempted commission) of one or more of the following acts by a family or household member or by a current or former sexual or intimate partner where such conduct is deemed to constitute a credible present threat to the victim's safety:
  • Assault or reckless conduct
  • Criminal threatening
  • Sexual assault
  • Interference with freedom
  • Destruction of property
  • Harassment
  • Cruelty to animals


The term "family or household member" means:
  • Spouses, former spouses, people cohabitating with each other, and people who previously cohabitated with each other but who no longer share the same residence, and
  • Parents and other people related by blood or affinity (other than minor children who reside with the defendant)

Causes for Divorce

In New Hampshire, domestic violence is one of several grounds on which a divorce can be granted. New Hampshire Revised Statutes section 458:7 lists the causes of divorce recognized in New Hampshire including:

  • Extreme cruelty of either party to the other
  • When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason

Domestic Violence and Child Custody

It is New Hampshire's state policy that when determining parental rights and responsibilities the court will aim to issue a child custody order that is in the best interest of the child. Previous acts of domestic violence can have a significant impact on child custody orders. When determining which custody arrangement is in the child's best interests the court considers many factors including whether there is any evidence of abuse, the impact of the abuse on the child, and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For state specific information regarding New Hampshire's family law on domestic violence contact a local family law lawyer or criminal defense attorney.

If you are a domestic violence survivor there is help available to you. During an emergency dial 911, and when you're safe contact the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

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