New Hampshire Property Division Attorney
The Division of Assets, Property & Debts in a Divorce
One of the most fundamental—and most stressful—aspects of divorce is the division of marital property. New Hampshire is an “equitable distribution” state, which means marital assets and debts are divided in a manner the court deems “fair” given the circumstances of the case. This does not mean that your shared property will be divided equally between you and your spouse.
At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., we understand how stressful divorce is, especially when the division of property is contested or deemed unfair. Our New Hampshire property division lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, including complex divorces involving high-value assets, shared businesses, significant debt, and other complicating factors. Our goal is to not only protect your rights during the divorce process but also to help ensure that your future is secure.
What Does “Equitable Distribution” Mean?
Equitable distribution describes a method of dividing property in a divorce that relies on what is “fair,” rather than an equal, 50/50 split. Note that a “fair” distribution of property is decided by the court (unless the two divorcing parties can reach an agreement in mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution) and may not reflect what you believe to be fair or just. Because of this, it is absolutely critical that you work with an experienced divorce attorney, like those at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., who understands the law and can help protect your rights and best interests.
Some factors that are used to determine an equitable distribution of marital property include:
- The length of the marriage
- Contributions (financial, household, childcare, and otherwise) made by either spouse to the marriage
- The ability of each spouse to earn income/acquire assets in the future
- The overall age, health, education level, employability, economic status, etc. of each spouse
- Actual and potential sources of income for each spouse
- Whether there was a significant disparity in the contributions made by each spouse to the marriage
- Whether either spouse contributed to the other’s education, career development, or vocation
- The rights either spouse has to the pension or retirement accounts of the other
These are just some factors the court weighs when determining how to distribute property, assets, and debts in a divorce; it may consider any other factors it deems relevant, including fault, when making a decision.
What Is Marital Property?
New Hampshire recognizes two types of property in a marriage:
- Separate Property: Separate property includes any income, assets, debts, real estate, and other property owned or acquired by one spouse prior to marriage.
- Marital Property: Marital property includes all income, assets, debts, real estate, and other property acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage.
Examples of separate property include real estate property owned by one spouse before the marriage, a separate business owned by one spouse before the marriage and to which the other spouse did not make significant contributions of any kind, as well as gifts or inheritances acquired by only one spouse either before or during the marriage. Marital property, on the other hand, includes things like the family home or vacation properties, vehicles, personal belongings, shared businesses, and more.
In a New Hampshire divorce, all marital property—including debts—are considered in the division of property. This means that any real property or assets you bought, acquired, or were given during the marriage are subject to division between you and your spouse. Separate property, however, is exempt.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
Leaving the division of property up to the court often means you lose control of your assets, income, properties, and future security. At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., we recognize that not all divorces can be effectively resolved through mediation or alternative dispute resolution; however, even when your case must be decided by the court, you need an attorney who will be there to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.
With more than 20 years of experience, our team is here to fight for you. We are ready to handle every detail of your case and provide the attentive, personalized representation you deserve. Our goal is to eliminate as much of your stress as possible, allowing you to focus on moving forward with your life.