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New Hampshire child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this New Hampshire child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is New Hampshire child support determined?

In New Hampshire, reasonable provisions for the support and education of a child may be ordered to be paid a parent.

There are official New Hampshire Child Support guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts use to help determine the correct amount of child support. The guidelines are based on the net income of the parent paying the child support and the number of children owed child support.

  • one child - 25% of net income
  • two children - 33% of net income
  • three children - 40% of net income
  • four or more children - 45% of net income

These guidelines will be followed, unless both parents agree to an amount that’s at least equal to that calculated by the guidelines, or the courts decide the guidelines are unjust due to the following considerations of the particular case:

  • any extraordinary medical, dental or educational expenses for the child
  • a significantly higher or lower income of either parent compared to the income assumptions in the guidelines
  • any economic consequences caused by any stepparents or stepchildren
  • any extraordinary expenses associated with the actual physical custody
  • any economic consequences to either parent of selling the family home
  • state and federal tax consequences
  • any split or shared custody arrangements
  • any other significant factors

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age.

Obligation also ends when the child gets married or begins military service.

New Hampshire's custody guidelines:

Generally, the parents agree upon decisions about parenting and custody. If there is no agreement, then the courts will make these decisions.

In New Hampshire, joint custody – the sharing of responsibility for all parental decisions and rights, except physical custody – is presumed to be in the best interests of the child, unless there is any evidence of child abuse by one of the parents. The courts consider the following factors in custody decisions:

  • the preference of the child
  • the education of the child
  • any findings or recommendations of an objective mediator
  • any other relevant factors

The courts will give no preference to a parent based on the sex of the parent. If a parent with primary joint custody rights interferes with the visitation schedule the other parent, the courts may choose to change the custody order.

New Hampshire's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. Usually, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through the non-custodial parent’s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for New Hampshire child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children.

While all orders concerning the children are modifiable in the future, we encourage you to not enter into an agreement based on the idea that it can always be changed or modified later.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Most states, including New Hampshire, have a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

Joint custody is now widely recognized by parents, courts and state legislatures as the preferred parenting plan. In fact, in New Hampshire, joint custody is presumed to be best for the child, unless there is evidence of child abuse by one of the parents.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children.

While joint custody is a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities and major decisions affecting the children, it rarely works out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Usually one parent is named as the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The primary joint custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

How New Hampshire determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the
nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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