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Legal Information: New Hampshire

New Hampshire Child Support

Basic information about child support in New Hampshire.

Who can file for child support? How long will child support last?

In New Hampshire, both parents have a duty to support their children.1 Typically, the parent who has primary responsibility for the child will be the one to receive child support payments.

Usually, child support will continue until the minor child does one of the following things:

  • turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later;
  • gets married;
  • becomes emancipated; or
  • joins the military.2

If the child has a disability, the court may continue the child support obligation until the child turns 21.2

1 NH ST § 458-C:1(I)
2 NH ST § 461-A:14(IV)

How will the judge calculate child support?

The judge will use the New Hampshire Child Support Guidelines to decide the amount of support owed. New Hampshire calculates child support by combining both parents’ incomes to get an idea of how the children would have been supported if the parents remained together. The court will start by looking at “gross income” for both parents. Gross income is income from all sources except a few types of government assistance. The judge will then factor in certain payments like taxes, other child support, and medical expenses to come up with a “net income” for each parent. The net incomes will be added up to get the total child support obligation, which is then divided proportionally between the parents according to their income and the number of children that need to be supported.1

The court will assume that the amount suggested by the Guidelines is fair unless one of the parents challenges it. If the judge decides that special circumstances exist, s/he can decide that ordering an amount other than the amount suggested by the Child Support Guidelines is in the best interests of the child.2

You can visit the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website to read more about the Guidelines and to get an estimate of the payments you might receive from their child support calculator.

1 NH ST § 458-C:3(I), (II), (III)
2 NH ST § 458-C:4(II); see also NH ST § 458-C:5(I)

Can my child support order be changed?

Once a court order establishing child support has been entered, either parent can ask the court to change the order if one of two things have happened:

  • it has been more than three years since the order was entered; or
  • there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was entered – for example, the paying parent losing their job.1

1 NH ST § 458-C:7(I)(a); see also NH ST § 461-A:14(IV-a)

Can child support be ordered retroactively in New Hampshire?

Retroactive support can be ordered only in limited circumstances. If your child is less than three months old at the time your order is established, child support can be ordered from birth. If your child is three months old or older, you can only ask for support from the date your petition was served on the other parent. If the court finds that the other parent is avoiding service on purpose, the court can order support going back to a date that the court believes is fair (“equitable and just”).1

1 NH ST § 168-A:3-a

Where can I get more information on child support in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire Legal Aid has general information about child support, a modification kit, and links to necessary forms.

The New Hampshire Bar Association has detailed information about the child support guidelines.

WomensLaw.org is unrelated to the above organizations and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information. These links are for informational purposes only.