Under New Hampshire law, the court’s power to award alimony is derived solely from statute. A court has no independent ability to make an alimony award, except as is outlined by the alimony statute. In accordance with the relevant statutory provisions, a court must find, prior to making an alimony award, that one party has a need for support and the other party has the ability to pay. When a person requesting alimony has sufficient income to meet his or her expenses, it is inappropriate for the court to make an alimony award, even if the award is minimal. Even if the requesting party does not have sufficient income, but has the ability to make income sufficient to cover his or her expenses, the court may not award alimony. Further, while the court may consider marital fault in awarding alimony, the court may not use alimony to punish a spouse for his or her conduct during the marriage. Unlike child support, there are no guidelines for the issuance for the amount of alimony. Instead, the amount of alimony is determined bases upon the court’s findings consistent with the alimony statute.
If you have any questions regarding your entitlement to alimony or your obligation to pay alimony, please contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan for a consultation. Let Hamblett & Kerrigan use their experience to your advantage.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.