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New Hampshire Marital Property Laws

New Hampshire is an equitable distribution state regarding the division of property. Marital property belongs to both spouses. During a divorce or legal separation, courts divide it according to each person's needs and contributions to the marriage.

A few states are community property states. In these states, marital property gets divided 50/50 between spouses in a divorce property settlement. Equitable division states may divide property equally, but judges have the authority to make an unequal division.

New Hampshire divorce laws allow the parties to divide their property through a prenuptial agreement or other settlement agreement. The courts will accept a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement unless it’s clearly unfair to one party.

Note: State laws are subject to change through the passage of new legislation, court rulings (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. FindLaw strives to provide the most current information available. You should consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) before making any legal decisions.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

Equitable division and community property states distinguish between "marital property" and "separate property." In these states, marital property is everything spouses acquire during the marriage. Separate property is anything acquired before the marriage.

New Hampshire statutes (section 458:16-a) don’t make this distinction. In New Hampshire, everything that spouses own is marital property. This includes:

  • All property owned before marriage

  • Employment benefits, retirement accounts, and pension plans

  • Real estate and other property, regardless of whose name is on the title

  • All assets acquired during marriage

  • Inheritances, gifts, and bequests, even those given to one spouse

Visit FindLaw's Divorce and Property section for additional resources.

New Hampshire Marital Property Laws

During the divorce process, judges consider a number of factors in making an equitable distribution of property. Judges try to make an equal division unless there is a compelling reason for a different distribution. These factors may include:

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The age and health of the parties

  • The education, employability, and current economic status of each party, including current sources of income

  • Marital debt and liabilities of each party

  • Need of the custodial parent of any minor children to retain ownership of the marital home or household effects

  • Contributions of either party to the value of property or management of the home and reasons for any significant disparity

  • The tax consequences for each party

  • Other income or support orders awarded to each party, such as alimony or child support

  • The value of the property of marital assets set aside in a valid prenuptial contract

New Hampshire courts may consider marital fault (RSA 458:7) in the property division if the fault caused the breakdown of the marriage, caused "substantial pain and suffering," or caused economic loss to the marital estate or the other party.

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Get Legal Advice From a New Hampshire Family Law Attorney

New Hampshire state laws on divorce and property division are complicated. If you’re facing the dissolution of marriage, talk to a New Hampshire divorce attorney for help understanding your property rights.

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