In a divorce, money is often a contentious issue. Romance aside, common sense says both spouses should think ahead about how to protect each one’s assets in case of a future divorce. “A prenuptial agreement makes the process more predictable and something akin to an insurance policy for divorce,” advised New Hampshire magazine. “Some people put off a prenuptial agreement because they’re too busy,” or for other reasons, such as a shortsighted reluctance to break the starry-eyed mood.
In the absence of a prenup, when you do decide to divorce, your first and most important step will be to hire an experienced divorce attorney. In most cases, your lawyer can help you avoid litigation by negotiating, mediation, or a collaborative approach that includes protecting each spouse’s own assets.
New Hampshire is an “equitable distribution” state (equitable meaning fair and impartial), like most of the states east of the Mississippi (The western states favor “community property,” where all property is divided 50-50.) Under New Hampshire law, the court regards everything you own as “marital property” that will be divided 50-50. That is the starting point for equitable distribution. A 50-50 split, however, is not always fair. Do you really want to divide the heirloom family silver that you brought into the marriage?
In New Hampshire, property will be divided between divorcing spouses in a way that is equitable. You will have an opportunity to divide your own property during the divorce if you can work with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and your spouse’s attorney. If that isn’t an option, you and your attorney will be able to explain to the court why an unequal distribution is more equitable.
The court considers a multitude of factors in determining the equitable distribution of your marital property, including the length of the marriage, the value of your joint property, each spouse’s economic status (income disparity), and whether one party is at fault for the divorce .
According to the New Hampshire Bar Association, the state recognizes that certain assets acquired prior to a marriage are not equally divisible at divorce (e.g., the family silver). In a short-term marriage, both spouses will be returned, as nearly as possible, to the same financial position they were in prior to the marriage.
The seasoned family law and divorce lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm, founded by attorney Peter McGrath, will walk you through every step of the challenging divorce process to address your concerns and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. From spousal support, child support, fault, and equitable division of property and debt to valuations, pre-nuptial agreements, and restraining orders, the experienced attorneys at McGrath Law Firm have a successful track record in all aspects of divorce law. Call us to schedule your consultation at (800) 283-1380.