Alimony (the term “palimony” is not used in New Hampshire) is available to either spouse in a divorce action.
The purpose of alimony
The purpose of alimony is usually rehabilitative. That is, it is meant to give one spouse the ability to get back on his/her feet and establish an independent source of income.
The single most imporant thing to remember about alimony is that it is not automatically considered by the court.
“An individual must request alimony in the joint petition, individual petition, or answer to the petition.”
Once this is done, the court begins the alimony analysis.
When alimony is awarded
In New Hampshire, alimony is awarded to the party upon a showing of “need”, and can be temporary or permanent, definite or indefinite. It can be paid in a lump sum, periodically, or both.
In order to determine if a party is in need of alimony, the court must expressly find three things.
First, that the party in need lacks sufficient financial resources to provide for his/her reasonable needs, taking into account the style of living to which the parties have become accustomed during the marriage.
Second, the party from whom alimony is being sought must be able to meet his/her own reasonable needs in addition to those of the party seeking alimony.
Third, that the party in need cannot support himself/herself through appropriate employment at a standard of living that meets reasonable needs. Alternatively, the court must find the party in need is responsible for raising a child of the marriage whose condition or circumstances dictate that the party in need not seek employment outside the home.
How much alimony is awarded
After determining that a party is in need of alimony, the court then considers how much alimony to award. The court’s analysis is based upon factors listed in the applicable state statute. These factors cover all aspects of each individual, the marriage, and the economic realities facing each party.
Alimony is not awarded in every case and is an extremely fact sensitive area of divorce law. A divorce lawyer is especially valuable in this area, because he/she can help you realisitically assess the likelihood that alimony will be awarded and the probable amount thereof.