ANNULMENT, DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
Alimony, Allowances, Custody, Etc.
458:19-a Term and Reimbursement Alimony.
I. The court may order term alimony upon agreement of the parties or in the absence of an agreement, at the request of either party by petition or motion in a case for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Any request for alimony shall be made either before the final decree is effective or not later than 5 years from the effective date. The purpose of term alimony is to allow both parties to maintain a reasonable standard of living. If the issue of term alimony is contested, the court may order term alimony only if it finds that:
(a) The party in need lacks sufficient income, property, or both, including property apportioned in accordance with RSA 458:16-a, to provide for his or her own reasonable needs, taking into account the marital lifestyle and the extent to which the parties must both fairly adjust their standards of living based on the creation and maintenance of separate households; or
(b) The party in need is unable to be self-supporting at a standard of living that meets reasonable needs through appropriate employment, or is allocated parental rights and responsibilities under RSA 461-A for a child of the parties whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the parent not seek employment outside the home or limit the hours of such employment; and
(c) The party from whom alimony is sought is able to meet his or her own reasonable needs, taking into account the marital lifestyle and the extent to which the parties must both fairly adjust their standards of living based on the creation and maintenance of separate households, while meeting the reasonable needs of the party seeking alimony.
II. (a) The amount of a term alimony order shall be the lesser of the payee's reasonable need, or a formula based on 23 percent of the difference between the parties' gross incomes at the time the order is created, unless the court finds that justice requires an adjustment. In making this calculation, gross income as defined in RSA 458:19, V shall be:
(1) Reduced by subtracting amounts that are ordered and actually paid for:
(A) Child support or alimony, including child support for the parties' joint children; and
(B) Costs for health insurance coverage or other specified expenses for the benefit of the other party; and
(2) As to the payee's income, adding the amount of child support ordered for the parties' joint children.
(b) The court may vary this formula when an equal or approximately equal parenting schedule has resulted in an adjustment to the child support guidelines under RSA 458-C:5. The court may make a step-down or step-up order that begins with the current reasonable need or the formula and decreases or increases over time. If child support is a factor in determining the amount of alimony, alimony may be recalculated when child support is modified or ended, without meeting the tests for modification in RSA 458:19-aa, I.
(c) The formula percentage in subparagraph (a) of 23 percent is based on alimony not being deductible to the payor and taxable to the payee under federal income tax law. If alimony becomes deductible to the payor and taxable to the payee under federal income tax law, the formula shall be based on 30 percent of the difference between the parties' gross incomes.
III. The maximum duration of term alimony shall be 50 percent of the length of the marriage, unless the parties agree otherwise or the court finds that justice requires an adjustment under paragraph IV. If justice requires, the court may use a different beginning or ending date in measuring the length of the marriage. Term alimony shall end on the remarriage of the payee, unless the order is based on an agreement of the parties that provides otherwise.
IV. In any term alimony order, the court may adjust the formula amounts, duration limitations, or both, if the parties agree or if the court finds that justice requires an adjustment. The party seeking an adjustment shall have the burden of proof. Special circumstances that may justify an adjustment include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) Health, including disability, chronic or severe mental or physical illness, or other unusual health circumstances of either party.
(b) The degree and duration of any financial dependency of one party on the other.
(c) Vocational skills, occupation, benefits available from employment, and the present and future employability of both parties.
(d) Voluntary unemployment or underemployment of either party.
(e) The special needs of a minor or adult child of the parties.
(f) Property awarded under RSA 458:16-a.
(g) The conduct of either party during the marriage, including abuse as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I or fault as described in RSA 458:16-a, II(l).
(h) Differences in the parties' benefits under the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Social Security program.
(i) Diminution of significant assets by a party, coupled with a lack of sufficient assets from which property can be equitably divided or recouped under RSA 458:16-a.
(j) The impact of federal tax law on the parties including the allocation of applicable tax-related benefits.
(k) Any other reason the court deems material and relevant.
V. The court may order reimbursement alimony upon agreement of the parties or in the absence of an agreement, at the request of either party by petition or motion in a case for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. The request for reimbursement alimony shall be made before the final decree is effective. The purpose of reimbursement alimony is to compensate the payee for economic or non-economic contribution to the financial resources of the payor, where the property subject to division under RSA 458:16-a is either inappropriate or inadequate to provide such compensation. The contribution to the payor's financial resources may include support of education or job training, or an investment of time or money. The following shall apply to reimbursement alimony orders:
(a) The court shall make a finding that the order is equitable;
(b) The maximum time period shall be 5 years from the final decree effective date, unless the parties agree otherwise; and
(c) It shall not be modified, except by agreement.
VI. Each order granting, denying, renewing, modifying, or refusing to renew or modify term or reimbursement alimony shall state:
(a) If alimony is awarded:
(1) The type or types of alimony;
(2) The duration or number of payments, the method or methods of payment, and any limitations imposed;
(3) Whether full retirement age or actual retirement will impact payments;
(4) Whether security under RSA 458:19-aa, VI is required; and
(5) Whether the order is based on an agreement of the parties.
(b) If the proceeding was contested, the order shall include:
(1) Findings supporting the court's decision to order or deny the requested alimony;
(2) Findings as to any special circumstances justifying an adjustment to either the formula amounts or durational limitations; and
(3) Findings supporting any award of reimbursement alimony.
Source. 1955, 262:4. 1979, 342:1. 2001, 222:3, eff. Sept. 9, 2001. 2018, 310:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2019. 2021, 113:1-3, eff. July 9, 2021.