If you are contemplating or facing divorce, you may wonder how you and your spouse will split your property. In New Hampshire, marital property refers to everything and anything owned jointly by you and your spouse.
If you and your spouse can agree on how to split your marital property, the court will accept your decision. If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decision on how to split your property.
Definition of marital property
Marital property is everything owned by you and your spouse jointly. Some things that are not typically considered marital property are gifts given only to one spouse and not the other, items or property acquired before marriage, and inheritances.
Your attorney can help you determine which items are considered marital property and which are not.
Equal vs. equitable
In New Hampshire, courts will divide marital property equitably, not equally (this is common in most states). They will look at factors such as:
- Did one spouse give up an education or career for the benefit of the other spouse?
- Did one spouse contribute more to the marriage/family than the other in terms of time and care?
- Did one spouse waste or deplete assets during the marriage?
These are just a few things the court will consider. Each divorce case is different, so the factors the courts look at to determine property division will vary.
Equitable division of your home
First of all, the equity in your home is determined from the day you separated. Typically a home appraisal is performed and all items that are owed are deducted from that appraisal figure.
Once you have determined the equity of your home, there are three options for dividing your home equitably in New Hampshire.
The first option is simple and straightforward – sell the home and split the proceeds. But this option doesn’t always make logistical or financial sense, as the custodial parent and the children will have to move to a new home.
The second option is for one spouse to refinance the house and buy out the other spouse. This option isn’t always feasible if the spouse does not have the financial means to refinance the house.
The third and final option is for the child and custodial parent to remain in the house until the child graduates from high school or turns 18. At this point, the house can be sold and the proceeds divided equally, or one spouse can buy out the other.
Dividing marital property in New Hampshire is not difficult – if you and your spouse agree. If you don’t agree, you will have to make your point in court as to why you should receive a greater amount of your marital property.