A New Hampshire family court uses several factors to determine child custody laws. Generally, the court determines child custody based on the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in New Hampshire should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
Best Interests of the Child
A family court in New Hampshire will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child.
Factors included in a best interest of the child determination are:
- The child's relationship with each parent
- Each parent's ability to provide the child with a loving environment
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child
- The child's adjustment to school and community and the potential affect of a change
- Each parent's willingness to support the child's ability to be in contact with the other parent
- Each parent's ability to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make decisions for the child
- The child's developmental needs, as well as each parent's ability to provide for those needs
- Any history of abuse and the impact of that abuse on the child's relationship with his/her parents
- The child's wishes, if the court determines that the child is mature enough to make such a decision (generally age 12 and older)
- Other additional relevant factors
Contested Child Custody in New Hampshire
If child custody is disputed in New Hampshire, a court may send the case to mediation.
The purpose of mediation is to:
- Promote the best interests of the child
- Reduce the chances of the case returning to court
- Improve the parents' satisfaction with the outcome
- Reduce conflict and hostility between parents in a custody dispute
Parenting Plans and Child Custody in New Hampshire
In a New Hampshire child custody case, parents must develop and file a parenting plan with the court.
A parenting plan must include information related to:
- The child's legal residence for school attendance purposes
- Decision-making responsibilities and residential responsibilities
- A parenting schedule including weekends, holidays, vacations, and birthday planning
- Relocation guidelines
- Methods for resolving disputes
Modification of Child Custody in New Hampshire
A New Hampshire court will modify child custody if:
- The parties agree to a modification
- The court finds that the child's living environment poses a danger to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and the child will benefit from a change in circumstances
- The court finds that one parent repeatedly interferes with the residential duties and responsibilities of the other parent
- One parent believes the current custody arrangement is not working
For further information about child custody in New Hampshire, speak with a qualified attorney in New Hampshire or refer to the New Hampshire Domestic Relations statute.