Child Custody Laws in New Hampshire

If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, you know how the law can have an influence the outcome of this situation. Laws can especially affect your case if you have children, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the child custody laws of your state. If you live in New Hampshire, the following information could directly pertain to your child custody case.

Child Custody Terms in New Hampshire

In many states, the term “child custody” is used to describe the parenting arrangement that is implemented for a family after a divorce or legal separation. Child custody will be determined in New Hampshire except that some of the terms used to describe this may be different. This state has adopted the use of the term “parenting actions” to describe action taken related to child custody and visitation. They also may use the terms “parenting responsibility” and “parenting time” which represent custody or visitation time. These family-focused terms keep the conversation focused more on the children as people instead of property that parents would fight for possession of.

Though the child custody vocabulary used in this state may vary from that in others, New Hampshire child custody laws call for both legal and physical custody to be determined. Legal custody entails the responsibility of a parent to make major decisions for a child that would affect their life, such as what kind of medical care they will receive or where they will go to school. Physical custody entails a child’s living arrangement and the time that they would spend with each parent. New Hampshire courts have a tendency to prefer a joint legal custody arrangement and joint physical custody, if not ample visitation time to a non-custodial parent. Each family situation is unique, so the outcome will always vary depending on factors such as whether there is a history of violence in the family or if parents have proven to not work well together in the best interests of their child.

Parenting Plans in New Hampshire

As part of the process in creating a parenting plan, a New Hampshire judge will ask that the parents submit a parenting plan for reviewal. It is preferred that the parents work together in creating their own parenting plan instead of the plan being created for them. As part of their parenting plan, parents will lay out details such as a custody schedule and method for the child to travel between homes, a legal custody arrangement, and a plan for how future disagreements will be resolved. New Hampshire judges are likely to approve a plan if both parents agree on it and if it fits within the best interests of the children involved. If parents are having a hard time coming to agreements about their parenting plan, then they will likely be asked to attend mediation as a way to work out their plan with the help of a neutral third party.

After a parenting plan has been settled on, the process of actually implementing and managing the plan comes into play. To help parents stay on top of everything from whose custody weekend it is to what shoe size each child wears, the OurFamilyWizard website offers a variety of web and mobile-based tools made to fit the needs of co-parents. These tools include a shared calendar to keep track of parenting time and visitation schedules, a secure messaging center to document co-parent communication, an information back to store all important family vital details, an expense and payment register to keep track of all shared parenting costs, and much more. All of this is available to parents from anywhere with an internet connection, whether they are using the website from a computer or the mobile app on their smart phone.

This information about New Hampshire child custody laws is not mean to be considered legal advice. Please consult an attorney for more information and assistance with your case in particular. If you're looking for an attorney or other family law professional in New Hampshire, check out our New Hampshire resources page for some contacts near you. 


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.