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New Hampshire Divorce Laws

State divorce laws govern the divorce process. They dictate residency requirements, waiting periods, and grounds for divorce. It works the same way in the state of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire is a no-fault divorce state. Petitioners don’t have to list specific grounds for divorce. They must only cite irreconcilable differences. However, if one party believes the other engaged in marital misconduct, they can file a fault-based divorce.

Here, we’ll discuss the legal requirements for divorce in New Hampshire. We’ll explain what grounds for divorce are available. We’ll also provide a chart documenting New Hampshire divorce laws.

If you still have questions about your divorce, contact an experienced New Hampshire divorce lawyer.

Legal Requirements for Divorce in New Hampshire

Like other states, New Hampshire has residency requirements for filing for divorce. Eligibility to file for divorce in New Hampshire includes the following:

  • Both parties live in New Hampshire
  • The party filing for divorce has lived in New Hampshire for one year
  • The petitioner lives in New Hampshire and can serve their spouse with divorce papers in New Hampshire

New Hampshire law doesn’t require you and your spouse to separate before filing for divorce, but the state recognizes legal separation. If you and your partner wish to take time apart before filing for divorce, you can do so.

Your family law attorney can help you draft a legal separation agreement. This agreement will outline the same issues you’ll deal with should you pursue a divorce.

Your separation agreement may include the following:

Some couples use their separation agreement as a blueprint for their marital settlement agreement.

Types of Divorce in New Hampshire

Before filing your divorce papers, you must decide the type of divorce you wish to file. The quickest way to finalize your divorce is to file a joint petition with your spouse. You don’t have to agree on all divorce terms for a joint petition. You have to agree on some issues and outline these issues for the judge.

If your spouse agrees to the divorce and you’ve ironed out all the issues, you will file an uncontested divorce case. To do so, you must submit the following to the court:

If you have minor children, you must also submit the following:

If you and your spouse disagree about the material terms of the divorce, you’ll have to file a contested divorce. This process will take longer and cost more money. It’s your only option if you and your spouse fight over property, custody, or alimony.

Divorce Laws in New Hampshire at a Glance

The State of New Hampshire doesn’t impose a waiting period. Once the New Hampshire courts finalize your divorce, you can move forward with your lives. We've included additional New Hampshire divorce law provisions in the chart below, including the various grounds for divorce.

See FindLaw's Divorce section for a variety of helpful articles and resources.

New Hampshire Divorce Code Section

§ 458 et seq. of the New Hampshire Statutes

Residency Requirements

One of the following must apply:

  • Both parties live in the state currently
  • The petitioner has lived in the state for one year
  • The petitioner lives in New Hampshire and can serve the respondent in New Hampshire

Waiting Period

No waiting period

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

Irreconcilable differences

Other Grounds for Divorce (Fault)

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Conviction of either party, in any state or federal district, of a crime punishable with imprisonment for more than one year and actual imprisonment under such conviction
  • Endangerment of the other spouse
  • When either party has been absent for two consecutive years and has not been heard of
  • When either party habitually abuses alcohol or drugs and has been doing so for two or more consecutive years
  • When either party has joined a religious sect or society that professes to believe the relation of husband and wife unlawful and has refused to cohabit with the other for six months together
  • When either party, without sufficient cause or the consent of the other, has abandoned and refused, for two years, to cohabit with the other

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Denial of fault allegations

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through judicial action, the enactment of new legislation, and other means. You may want to contact a New Hampshire divorce attorney or conduct legal research to verify your state's laws.

A New Hampshire Divorce Attorney Can Help

As your marriage comes to an end, you'll want as much information about the divorce process in New Hampshire as possible. If you have questions about how divorce can impact the custody of your children, spousal support, or marital assets, consider contacting a divorce attorney in New Hampshire. An attorney can answer your questions and guide you through the divorce process.

Research the Law

New Hampshire Divorce Laws: Related Resources

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