NH Law About... Child Custody and Visitation

Introduction to... Child Custody and Visitation

Updated March 23, 2017. 

Although many parents handle custody and visitation (a.k.a. parental rights and responsibilities) themselves, this is a complex area of the law and is complicated to research. There are state, federal, and even international laws regarding child custody and visitation which, in some circumstances, must be read together in order to get a clear picture. Even if research is focused only on New Hampshire law, there is an interconnected web of New Hampshire statutes and case law that may apply. 

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.


Read about... Child Custody and Visitation

WEBSITES

New Hampshire Legal Aid. Primary Parenting Responsibility - Custody

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Includes: Parents' Rights - A Place to Start, Residential Responsibility, and Modification of Parental Rights & Responsibilities.   GO>

Circuit Court. Family Division - Divorce/Parenting

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

The Family Division handles cases involving divorce. It also handles parenting actions between unmarried persons. Parenting actions used to be called "custody" or "visitation" actions.   GO>


PRINT

Family law / by Charles G. Douglas. New Providence, N.J. : LexisNexis, 2014. 4th ed.   GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

A practical guide to divorce in New Hampshire / editor, Jeanmarie Papelian ; marital masters, Robert J. Foley ... [et al.] ; authors, Michael L. Alfano ... [et al.]. Boston, MA : MCLE Ne  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

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Read the law about... Child Custody and Visitation

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATUTES

RSA 458. Annulment, Divorce and Separation  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

RSA 458-A. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

RSA 458-D. Parental Rights and Responsibilities and Child Support Impact Seminars  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

RSA 458-E. Military Parents' Rights Act  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

RSA 461-A. Parental Rights and Responsibilities  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

RSA 633:4. Interference With Custody  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: July 21, 2017

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE CASES

127 N.H. 731 (1986). Butterick v. Butterick

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

We hold that a trial judge in a custody modification case such as this one may, within his sound discretion, find that a minor is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment about his proper custody. Having made this finding, the judge may then give substantial weight to the preference of the mature minor as to the parent with whom he wants to live. The trial judge must also give due consideration, as the trial court did in this case, to other factors such as whether the minor's preference was based on undesirable or improper influences. We continue to believe that the shuffling of a child back and forth between a father and mother can destroy his sense of security, confuse his emotions, and greatly disrupt his growth as an individual. Nevertheless, common sense tells us that a child, though still a minor, will often be sufficiently mature to play a large part in deciding that he needs a different custodial parent. In Provencal v. Provencal, 122 N.H. 793, 451 A.2d 374 (1982), a case involving the initial physical custody determination for a mature teenager after a divorce, we noted that at age fourteen, a child's preference for a particular physical custodian is usually going to be crucial. See RSA 463:14 (1983) (minor over fourteen may elect guardian). We do not hold that age 14 is necessarily the age when minor children become mature. Some will gain sufficient maturity earlier, others later. We leave the determination of whether a child is mature to the sound discretion of the trial judge.   GO>

154 N.H. 275 (2006). In re Hampers

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

"When determining matters of custody and visitation, a trial court's overriding concern is the best interest of the child. In doing so, the trial court has wide discretion, and we will not overturn its determination except where there has been an unsustainable exercise of discretion."   GO>

154 N.H. 707 (2007). In re Choy

Link verified on: August 7, 2017

In Perreault v. Cook, 114 N.H. 440, 322 A.2d 610 (1974), we articulated the standard for trial courts to use in determining whether to modify a child custody arrangement: The relationship established by the custody award should not be disturbed unless the moving party demonstrates that the circumstances affecting the welfare of the child have been so greatly altered that there is a strong possibility the child will be harmed if he continues to live under the present arrangement. In 2000, the general court enacted a new version of RSA 458:17, V, repealing the previous version. At the time the new version of paragraph V was enacted, the standard for modification of a custody decree was the one we had established in Perreault. The version of RSA 458:17, V enacted in 2000 was characterized in the legislative history as a codification of the circumstances under which a parent can ask the court to change permanent child custody, and as an effort to help those filing pro se to find [the legal standard for modifying custody] in statute rather than having to research case laws as well. In other words, the 2000 enactment both codified the legal standard for modifying child custody and replaced Perreault. The legislature indicated its intent to replace Perreault, rather than simply restate the rule of that case, by: (1) eliminating the caveat in the former version of paragraph V providing that the statute was not to be construed to alter the Perreault standard; (2) establishing a standard different from the standard stated in Perreault; and (3) stating, in the legislative history, that the statute was intended to allow litigants to learn the correct legal standard without having to research case laws.   GO>

160 N.H. 645 (2010). In re Martin

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

"Pursuant to its plain meaning, RSA 461-A:12, V requires that in this case, the mother must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that her request to relocate is for a legitimate purpose and that the proposed location, Rhode Island, is reasonable in light of that purpose."   GO>

161 N.H. 630 (2011). In re Miller

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

"Across the country, the great weight of authority holds that conduct by one parent that tends to alienate the child's affections from the other is so inimical to the child's welfare as to be grounds for a denial of custody to, or a change of custody from, the parent guilty of such conduct."   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: July 21, 2017

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE COURT RULES

Circuit Court. Family Division. Rules  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Find it in a Library ... LexisNexis NH Court Rules Annotated  GO>

Link verified on: April 21, 2017

Find it in a Library ... West's NH Rules of Court. State  GO>

Link verified on: April 21, 2017

Learn About New Hampshire Court Rules: Follow this link to learn how to search court rules online as well as what court rules are and how they're published. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE FORMS

Circuit Court. Family Division. Divorce/Parenting Forms  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017


FEDERAL STATUTES

18 U.S.C. 1204. International parental kidnapping  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

28 U.S.C. 1738A - Full faith and credit given to child custody determinations  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017


FOR MORE HELP ...

Circuit Court. Family Division. Mediation  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Circuit Court. Family Division. Service Center

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Questions regarding Circuit Court Family Division cases (e.g., divorce, parenting, juvenile delinquency, CHINS, guardianship of minors, and cases involving DCYF) may be directed to the Family Division Service Center.   GO>

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: September 22, 2017

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>


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