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New Hampshire Child Custody Laws

Laws determining how divorced parents living apart are to care for their children are known as child custody laws, which originate at the state level. Child custody can be both physical and legal -- physical custody refers to where the child lives (which may be split between both parents), while legal custody refers to the parents' abilities to make important life decisions on behalf of their child. All state custody laws conform to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which discourages parental abduction, interference, or other problems with child custody. Most states also extend visitation rights to grandparents.

New Hampshire Child Custody Laws at a Glance

New Hampshire family courts consider a whole range of factors when making custody determinations (see the complete list in the table below). The state also considers the wishes of the child when making these important decisions.

You can find additional details about New Hampshire child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section N.H. Rev. Stat. § 461-A:6
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1979
Factors Considered by the Court When Determining Custody
  • The relationship of the child with each parent and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance
  • The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment
  • The child's developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, both in the present and in the future
  • The quality of the child's adjustment to the child's school and community and the potential effect of any change
  • The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing physical, written, and telephonic contact with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
  • The support of each parent for the child's contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent
  • The support of each parent for the child's relationship with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent
  • The relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child
  • The ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make joint decisions concerning the children, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent
  • Any evidence of abuse and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent
  • If a parent is incarcerated, the reason for and the length of the incarceration, and any unique issues that arise as a result of incarceration
  • Any other additional factors the court deems relevant
Joint Custody an Option? Yes
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes
Child's Own Wishes Considered? If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a minor child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the court may give substantial weight to the preference of the mature minor child as to the determination of parental rights and responsibilities.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the enactment of newly signed legislation or other means. You may want to contact a New Hampshire child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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