PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
I. After the filing of a petition for divorce, annulment, separation, paternity, support, or allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, including petitions filed by the department of health and human services pursuant to RSA 161-B, 161-C, and 546-B, the court shall make such further decree in relation to the support and education of the children as shall be most conducive to their benefit and may order a reasonable provision for their support and education for the period of time specified in paragraphs IV, V, and XVI.
II. In any proceeding concerning the support of children:
(a) The parties shall certify in the initial pleading filed with the court whether or not public assistance is or was paid for the benefit of the children pursuant to RSA 167 and whether or not medical assistance is being provided for the benefit of the children pursuant to RSA 167. If public assistance is or was being provided or if medical assistance is being provided, the initiating party shall provide the department of health and human services, office of child support enforcement services, with copies of any and all pleadings related to medical and child support.
(b) If, during the pendency of the action, the children become the beneficiaries of public or medical assistance, both parties shall notify the court of the public or medical assistance status of the children and shall provide the department of health and human services with copies of all pleadings related to medical and child support.
(c) When notified that public or medical assistance is being provided for the benefit of the children, the court shall provide the office of child support with a copy of any hearing notice pertaining to any medical or child support proceeding.
(d) The department shall be granted leave to reopen any case to modify, clarify, or vacate any order that was entered against its interest when an assignment of rights pursuant to RSA 161 or RSA 167 is or was in effect and the department was not given notice of the proceeding.
(e) In any case to establish, modify, or enforce an order of support where the obligor is unable to meet child support obligations for any reason, except as provided in RSA 461-A:14, XIII(a) and (b), the court may order the obligor to apply for and, if qualified, participate in food stamp and Medicaid programs, federal disability programs, and all applicable department of employment security programs to enable or enhance the obligor's ability to meet his or her support obligations. When making such orders, the court shall include the requirement that the obligor report to the court his or her compliance with the order.
III. All support orders shall provide for the assignment of the wages of the responsible parent pursuant to RSA 458-B, subject to the exceptions listed in RSA 458-B:2.
IV. The amount of a child support obligation shall remain as stated in the order until the dependent child for whom support is ordered completes his or her high school education or reaches the age of 18 years, whichever is later, or marries, or becomes a member of the armed services, or is emancipated pursuant to an order of emancipation under RSA 461-B, at which time the child support obligation, including all educational support obligations, terminates without further legal action. If the parties have a child with disabilities, the court may initiate or continue the child support obligation after the child reaches the age of 18. No child support order for a child with disabilities which becomes effective after July 9, 2013 may continue after the child reaches age 21.
IV-a. If the order establishes a support obligation for more than one child, and if the court can determine that within the next 3 years support will terminate for one of the children as provided in paragraph IV, the amount of the new child support obligation for the remaining children may be stated in the order and shall take effect on the date or event specified without further legal action. Termination of support for any one of the children under paragraph IV is a substantial change of circumstances for purposes of modification of the child support order under RSA 458-C:7.
V. No child support order shall require a parent to contribute to an adult child's college expenses or other educational expenses beyond the completion of high school, except as provided in RSA 461-A:21.
VI. All support payments ordered or administered by the court under this chapter shall be deemed judgments when due and payable. Such judgments shall be given full faith and credit by all jurisdictions of this state.
VII. Liens shall arise by operation of law against real and personal property for child support arrearages owed by an obligor who resides or owns property in the state and shall incorporate any unpaid child support which may accrue in the future. Full faith and credit shall be given to such liens arising in another state when the state agency, a party, or other entity authorized to enforce an order of support and seeking to perfect the lien complies with the procedural rules relating to recording or serving liens. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, such rules may not require judicial notice prior to perfecting the lien. Notices of such liens, and any discharges or releases thereof, shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state with respect to personal property and in the registry of deeds for the county in which any real property is located. No fees shall be charged for such filings and recordings.
VIII. No modification of a support order shall alter any arrearages due prior to the date of filing the motion for modification.
IX. (a) Each child support order shall include the court's determination and findings relative to health care coverage, whether in the form of private health insurance or public health care, and the payment of uninsured medical expenses for the child. Health care coverage includes fee for service, health maintenance organization, preferred member organization, and other types of private health insurance and public health care coverage under which medical services could be provided to the dependent child.
(b) The court shall determine whether private health care coverage is accessible and is available to either parent at a cost that is at or below the reasonable medical support obligation amount, as established and ordered pursuant to RSA 458-C:3, V, or is available by combining the reasonable medical support obligations of both parents, and, if so available, the court shall order the parent, or parents, to provide such insurance for the child. The cost of providing private health care coverage is the cost of adding the child to existing coverage, or the difference between individual and family coverage. Accessible health care coverage means the primary care services are located within 50 miles or one hour from the child's primary residence.
(c) If the court determines that private health care coverage is not accessible or available at a cost that is at or below the reasonable medical support obligation amount, the court shall establish a cash medical support obligation for either or both parents, equal to the reasonable medical support obligation amount, and order that either or both parents shall obtain such private health care coverage if it subsequently becomes accessible and available at a cost that is at or below the reasonable medical support obligation amount. When ordered in lieu of private health care coverage, an obligation for cash medical support shall be suspended and shall not accrue during such time as the obligated parent is providing private health care coverage in accordance with this paragraph.
(d) In all cases where support is payable through the department, or where the department is providing medical assistance for the child under RSA 167, the court shall include the medical support obligation in any order issued on or after the effective date of this paragraph.
(e) A court may order either or both parents to pay a medical support obligation, either to provide health care coverage or as cash medical support, in excess of the reasonable medical support obligation amount, in such other circumstances, as the court deems appropriate.
X. If both parents have private health insurance for the child, the insurance of the person who is obligated by court order to provide health care coverage shall be the primary coverage for the child. This paragraph shall not affect the obligation of the insurance carrier of the parent who is not obligated to provide health care coverage for the child to provide medical insurance benefits for any claim under a policy held by such parent.
XI. All support orders issued or modified in cases that are payable through the department shall contain a provision requiring the obligor to keep the department informed of the name and address of the obligor's employer and whether the obligor has access to health care coverage, and, if so, the health care policy or program information as requested by the department.
XII. In any proceeding to enforce the payment of child support, the posting of bail shall be for the purpose of securing the appearance of the child support obligor and to guarantee the child support judgment owed by the child support obligor. If a child support obligor defaults for failure to appear or owes a child support arrearage, any bail money posted by the obligor, or any other surety, which is on deposit with the court shall be forfeited and paid to the obligee or the agency enforcing the order for child support in satisfaction of the child support judgment.
XIII. (a) An order of support, for which there is in effect an assignment to the department of health and human services pursuant to RSA 161-C:22, shall be suspended and shall not accrue, and no public assistance debt shall be incurred, during such time as the responsible parent receives benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act under the supplemental security income program or public assistance pursuant to RSA 167 under any of the following programs:
(1) Aid to the permanently and totally disabled.
(2) Aid to the needy blind.
(3) Aid to families with dependent children.
(4) Old age assistance.
(b) The department shall not enforce any order of support against the responsible parent while that parent receives public assistance through any of the programs listed in subparagraph (a), whether or not an assignment of support rights to the department exists.
XIV. When the court makes a temporary or final order for support through the department of health and human services, the order shall require the parties to furnish their social security numbers to the department.
XV. The court shall have jurisdiction to make such orders or temporary orders of support to the children of divorced parents as justice shall require in cases where the decree of divorce was not granted in this jurisdiction, even though the divorce decree makes provision for support, subject to the provisions of RSA 546-B.
XVI. The court may establish a separate fund or trust for the support, maintenance, education and general welfare of any minor or incompetent child of the parties, including an incompetent child who is 18 years of age or older.
XVII. The court may require security to be given for the payment of child support.
XVIII. Any motion for contempt of a court order regarding nonpayment of child support, if filed by a parent, shall be reviewed by the court within 30 days. When the arrearage equals or exceeds the equivalent of 8 weeks of child support under the existing order, the matter of the arrearage may be scheduled for mediation through the court within 30 days of the filing of the motion for contempt of court unless a hearing on the motion is scheduled earlier. The mediation shall not consider modification of the child support order. The court shall not order mediation if there is a finding of domestic violence as defined in RSA 173-B:1, unless all parties agree to the mediation.
Source. 2005, 273:1. 2007, 121:2; 227:7. 2008, 245:3. 2010, 166:6; 321:1. 2013, 154:1; 201:1. 2014, 225:1, eff. July 14, 2014. 2018, 230:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2018. 2019, 110:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2020; 287:14, eff. July 19, 2019.