Full Statute Name:  Revised Statutes Annotated of the State of New Hampshire. Title XLIII. Domestic Relations (Ch. 457 to 461-a). Chapter 458. Annulment, Divorce and Separation. Alimony, Allowances, Custody, Etc. 458:16-a Property Settlement.

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Primary Citation:  N.H. Rev. Stat. § 458:16-a Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  September, 2019 Alternate Citation:  NH ST § 458:16-a Date Adopted:  2019 Historical: 
Summary: This New Hampshire statute defines "property" for purposes of the state's marriage dissolution (divorce) procedure. In August of 2019, a new provision was added to this law related to animals (Subsection II-a). This subsection states that "[t]angible property shall include animals. In such cases, the property settlement shall address the care and ownership of the parties' animals, taking into consideration the animals' wellbeing."

I. Property shall include all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties. Intangible property includes, but is not limited to, employment benefits, vested and non-vested pension or other retirement benefits, or savings plans. To the extent permitted by federal law, property shall include military retirement and veterans' disability benefits.

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:

(1) Caused substantial physical or mental pain and suffering; or

(2) 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.

II-a. Tangible property shall include animals. In such cases, the property settlement shall address the care and ownership of the parties' animals, taking into consideration the animals' wellbeing.

III. If either or both parties retain an ownership interest in an education savings account held on behalf of a child of the marriage, including a qualified tuition program under 26 U.S.C. Section 529, the court may, in its discretion, preserve the account for its original purpose or may treat the account as property of the marriage subject to equitable division under this section.

IV. The court shall specify written reasons for the division of property which it orders.

Credits

Source. 1987, 278:1. 2000, 178:1. 2004, 136:3, eff. May 19, 2004. 2019, 130:1, eff. Aug. 24, 2019.

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