Family Law in New Hampshire
Same-sex couples can marry in New Hampshire. Single gay people can adopt in New Hampshire; same-sex couples can jointly become the legal parents of a child although in some cases that may require being married.
Questions & Answers (Accurate as of February 25, 2014)
Marriage & Civil Unions
Can same-sex couples marry in New Hampshire?
Yes. On June 3, 2009, the New Hampshire General Court approved and Governor Lynch signed a marriage equality bill (House Bill 436, An Act Relative to Civil Marriage and Civil Unions) that extended the right to marry to same-sex couples effective January 1, 2010. At the insistence of the Governor, the legislature also passed two other bills (HB 73 and HB 310) which affirm religious freedom protections with regard to marriage. In addition, the legislation ended the ability of same-sex couples to enter into New Hampshire civil unions on the same effective date and will automatically convert any existing New Hampshire civil unions into marriages effective January 1, 2011.
The process for getting married in New Hampshire basically requires the following basic steps:
- an eligible couple submits an application for a license in any town or city in New Hampshire41;
- the couple must pay the applicable fee and receive a marriage license from the clerk;
- the couple must have the marriage solemnized (i.e., have a ceremony) within 90 days of filing the application42
- once the ceremony has been performed, the person who performed it has 6 days to send the license back to the city or town where it was issued43; and
- the clerk will then file the original, and the couple can receive an official certificate of their marriage.
The detailed process for getting married in New Hampshire, whether you should enter a marriage, and what it all means are questions that are addressed in GLAD’s How To Get Married In New Hampshire.
Can New Hampshire same-sex couples get married anywhere else?
Yes. The list of states where same-sex couples can currently marry is found at: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/. There is information about getting married in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Canada (same-sex couples can marry in Canada and there is no residency requirement) on GLAD's website at:www.glad.org/rights/publications/c/marriage/.
For information about getting married outside New England, contact Lambda Legal (www.lambdalegal.org).
Some people may be able to wed outside the United States, but some of these locales have residency and other requirements that make it difficult for non-citizens to marry.
How will the marriage of a same-sex couple be respected?
New Hampshire will generally respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples regardless of where the marriage was consecrated, and a New Hampshire marriage anywhere that same-sex couples can marry. For the most up to date list go to: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/.
The 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevented same-sex married couples from accessing the 1,138 federal laws that pertain to marriage, was finally ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. This case, Windsor v. United States, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). GLAD filed the first challenge to DOMA in 2009, Gill v. OPM, and the legal framework developed in that case was used in subsequent cases, including the Windsor case. GLAD was also responsible for coordinating the amici briefs in that case.
This means that same-sex married same-sex couples who live in states where their marriage is respectedcouples living in places that recognize their marriages will have their marriages respected by the federal government for all purposes, e.g. taxes, Social Security (including SSDI and SSI), immigration, bankruptcy, FMLA, federal student financial aid, Medicaid, Medicare, veteran’s benefits, TANF and many more.
For same-sex married couples who live in non-recognition states, even though their state will not recognize their marriage, the federal government will for some purposes (e.g. taxes and immigration) and not for others. GLAD and other legal organizations are advocating that the federal government respect the marriages of same-sex couples for all federal programs wherever they reside, but it will take some time to achieve this goal. For more detailed information about various federal programs and whether the program will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who live in non-recognition states, go to http://www.glad.org/doma.
Also, while DOMA was in effect, if an employer granted a spousal benefit to an employee (e.g. allowing the spouse of the employee to be on the company health plan), the employee was taxed on that benefit. Now that DOMA is gone, that is no longer the case. And since the IRS respects the marriages of same-sex couples wherever they live, this applies to all married same-sex couples regardless of where they reside.
Unfortunately, one issue that was not resolved by taking down DOMA was whether an employer can be legally required to provide health insurance to a same-sex spouse. If the company has a self-insured health plan, that plan is controlled by a federal agency called ERISA, and because the federal anti-discrimination employment law, Tile VII, does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation,” some employers are claiming that they are not legally required to provide this benefit to same-sex spouses.
Also, if the health plan is insured and the owner of the plan is situated in a state that doesn’t recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, some employers are choosing to discriminate against same-sex spouses.
However, for both self-insured and insured health plans, nothing prevents the employer from offering coverage to same-sex spouses. If your employer is discriminating against same-sex spouses, contact GLAD Answers.
What happens if we need to end our marriage?
Should the couple at some point wish to end the marriage, unless the couple lives in a state or country which does respect the marriage, it may not be possible to dissolve the marriage until one member of the couple moves to a place that does respect the marriage and lives there long enough to meet that state or country’s residency requirement for divorce.
There are a small number of places that will allow a relationship that was granted there to be dissolved without a residency requirement if you can prove that neither spouse can dissolve it where they currently reside (e.g. Vermont, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Minnesota and Canada).44
What is happening with New Hampshire’s civil unions?
Effective January 1, 2011, existing New Hampshire civil unions that were not annulled or dissolved were converted into marriages by operation of law45. Civil Unions from other states will not be converted into marriages, but will be recognized and afforded all the same state protections and responsibilities as marriage.
For additional information about New Hampshire marriage and civil unions see GLAD’s publication, How To Get Married In New Hampshire, at http://www.glad.org/uploads/docs/publications/how-to-get-married-nh.pdf.
Legal Protections for Same-Sex Couples
What steps can a couple take to safeguard their legal relationship in New Hampshire without joining in a marriage?
- Relationship Agreement or Contract: Agreements regarding property and finances should be respected and honored according to ordinary rules of contract law, but it is important to note that the New Hampshire Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the subject. A number of other states have found such agreements enforceable, including Massachusetts.46
- Durable Power of Attorney: Any competent person may appoint another person as his or her “attorney-in-fact” for financial and/or matters in the event the one becomes incapacitated or disabled.47 If no such appointment is made, then a “family” member will be empowered to make decisions for the disabled or incapacitated individual. A power of attorney must be signed and notarized.
- Advance Directive for Health Care: Since medical care providers look to next-of-kin to make health care decisions for an incapacitated individual, an unmarried person must create an “advance directive” which includes durable powers of attorney and living wills for health care if they wish a person other than immediate family to make those medical decisions. Under state law48, a person may appoint a health care “agent” to make those decisions for him or her upon incompetence, i.e., when the person no longer able to do so.49 People should give a copy of the advance directive for health care to their doctors and should also consider giving it to family members. Within this document, a person can also deal with end of life issues. New Hampshire law permits a person to make advance decisions about artificial nutrition and hydration as well as life sustaining treatments without which the person would die.50 The advance directive for health care must be signed by the person giving the power of attorney and two witnesses (not including the agent, the person’s spouse or heir, a beneficiary under the person’s will or trust, or more than 1 employee of the person’s health care provider).51 It cannot be revoked except by the person who gave the power of attorney.52 If a guardian is later appointed for a person, the Court presumes the power of attorney for health care remains in the best interests of the person who gave it unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.53
- Will: Without a will, a deceased unmarried person’s property passes to: (1) his or her children; (2) his or her family; (3) if next-of-kin cannot be located, to the state. If the person wishes to provide for others, such as his or her partner, a will is essential. Even if a person has few possessions, he or she can name in the will who will administer his or her estate. If a person has children, he or she can nominate the future guardian of the child in a will.
- Funeral Planning Documents: Upon death, a person’s body is given to his or her next-of-kin. This can mean that a person’s own partner has no right to remove the body or make plans for a final resting place. To avoid confusion and persuade relatives to honor the deceased’s wishes, a person can leave explicit written directions giving another person (such as their partner or a friend) control over the funeral and burial arrangements. While this document does not have to be respected, it should help avoid complications in any but the most adversarial families. Some people include these instructions as part of a will, but since a will may not be found for days after death, it is preferable to give the instructions to the person you want to take care of matters as well as to family members.
- Guardianship: New Hampshire’s broad guardianship laws allow, among other things, an individual to nominate another person as the guardian of their person, estate, or both.54 The advantage of nominating a guardian in advance is that you are selecting the person to take over all aspects of your financial matters.
Does a person need an attorney to get these documents?
GLAD recommends working with an attorney on these documents. Although some forms are available, the form may not be suited to your individual needs and wishes. Moreover, attorneys may be able to help effectuate your goals, for example, by drafting a will in a way which is more likely to deter a will contest by unhappy family members, or drafting an advance directive for health care with specific instructions from you about health care.
If a couple separates, what is the legal status of a Relationship/Partnership Agreement/Contract?
Upon separation, the terms of a Relationship or Partnership Agreement/Contract will come into play if the couple has one. Absent an agreement, couples can get involved in costly and protracted litigation about property and financial matters but without the divorce system to help them sort through it.
If a person changes his or her mind about who should be his or her attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney; or health care agent; or beneficiary or executor under a will; or funeral planner, then those documents should be revoked — with notice to anyone who was given copies of those documents. New documents should be prepared which reflect the person’s present wishes.
What is domestic partnership?
Although it is a term used in many contexts, it most often means a status which recognizes an unmarried couple and their children as a family for certain limited purposes. In the workplace context, domestic partnership plans allow an employee to obtain certain fringe benefits for his or her partner which were previously limited to married spouses. Some states, cities and towns have also enacted domestic partner laws. In other contexts, “domestic partner” is also a shorthand term for family, replacing “lover,” “friend,” and “roommate.” Some people call cohabitation agreements “domestic partner agreements.” For more information, See GLAD publications on domestic partnership for further information.
Does New Hampshire provide domestic partner benefits to state employees?
In May 2006, the Merrimack County Superior Court ruled in Bedford and Breen v. New Hampshire Technical College System, a case filed by GLAD, that the denial of insurance and leave benefits to the families of two New Hampshire state employees constituted both disparate treatment and disparate impact violations of the New Hampshire law against sexual orientation discrimination in employment. Although the State of New Hampshire appealed this case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the State dropped its appeal in May 2007, in light of the passage of the civil union law, which requires that civil union spouses of state workers be provided access to health benefits, and the collective bargaining decision to extend benefits to the domestic partners of state workers.
Can cities and towns in New Hampshire provide domestic partner health insurance benefits to their own employees?
Yes, and some do. Also, like state workers, municipal employees who are in a civil union can obtain health benefits for their civil union spouse.
What kinds of domestic partner benefits may private employers provide?
Private employers can provide to domestic partners any benefits they wish — whether health insurance, family medical or bereavement leave, equal pension benefits, relocation expenses, or access to company facilities.
Even when employers provide these benefits, though, federal laws require different tax treatment of the benefits for domestic partners as compared to spouses. For example, an employee must pay income tax on the value of his or her partner’s health insurance benefits, but a spouse does not.55 And for pensions, a domestic partner does not have to approve if their partner decides to name someone else as the beneficiary of a pension although a spouse would have that right.
Can a single gay individual adopt a child in New Hampshire?
Yes. Although New Hampshire had a ban on gay people adopting or foster parenting children for many years, those laws were repealed in 1998.56
Can same-sex partners together adopt a child in New Hampshire?
The question of joint or second parent adoption by a same-sex couple is not addressed expressly by the New Hampshire statutes on adoption or by any authoritative ruling by the state supreme court, though the New Hampshire Supreme Court rejected a petition to jointly adopt by a divorced heterosexual couple in 1987.57 Despite this, some second parent adoptions have been granted in New Hampshire.
For couples who have a marriage or civil union, New Hampshire law allows step-parent adoptions58. Note: For more information about both adoption and second parent adoption see Adoption Questions And Answers.
Do we need to do a second-parent adoption if we are married or have a civil union?
A child born to a couple with a marriage or civil union is presumed to be the child of both members of the couple. While that is good news, it is still extremely important to adopt because another state might not respect the presumption if the couple moves. Adoption is a court judgment creating a parent-child relationship and is very likely to be respected by other states, even if these states are otherwise hostile to same-sex couples or parenting.
Relying on a partner’s good will, or even on the fact that a child was born into a marriage or civil union, is not the best way to ensure ongoing parental rights of both parents if a couple later separates. A case in point is Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins. This case has been in litigation since 2004, has involved two state Supreme Courts (Vermont and Virginia), and has already made several trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. Proceedings are ongoing.
In that case, Janet and Lisa had a child, Isabella, while they were in a civil union. Janet did not adopt. After the couple separated, Lisa moved to Virginia and used both the lack of an adoption, and Virginia’s laws hostile to same-sex relationships to thwart Janet’s contact with their daughter. Finally, however, the Virginia courts agreed that the Vermont courts had the authority to make custody and visitation decisons.
After many attempts to get Lisa to allow Janet visitation rights, in November, 2009, the Vermont Family Court issued an order granting Janet responsibility for the day-to-day care of Isabella while granting Lisa liberal visitation rights. The transfer of custody was to have taken place on January 1, 2010. However, Lisa failed to appear at the appointed time, and an arrest warrant has been issued. Lisa and Isabella still have not been found. For more information about the case, go to http://www.glad.org/work/cases/miller-jenkins-v-miller-jenkins.
Does New Hampshire have laws that pertain to surrogacy?
Yes, in 2014 the New Hampshire General Court passed Senate Bill 353, An Act Relative to Surrogacy,59 which updates New Hampshire’s surrogacy law to reflect advances in assisted reproductive technologies, to meet the needs of individuals who wish to become parents, but physically cannot, and to protect the legal rights of all the parties involved in the surrogacy process. This Act:
- Establishes updated and consistent standards and procedural safeguards for the protection of all parties to gestational carrier arrangements and agreements, and facilitates the use of assisted reproductive technologies in accordance with the state’s public policy;
- Protects the legal status and best interests of children born through surrogacy;
- Protects the legal rights of the intended parents;
- Ensures that all parties in surrogacy arrangements are legally protected and entering into agreements with the same rights, expectations and responsibilities;
- Establishes the minimum components of gestational carrier agreements and recognizes that these agreements are legally enforceable contracts.
If same-sex parents raise a child together, but only one is the “legal” parent (because of birth or adoption), then what rights does the other parent have vis-à-vis the child?
Regardless of the status of a person’s legal rights, it is critical to remember that children form strong attachments to their parental caregivers regardless of legal labels. Separating a child from a person who has acted as their parent can be a devastating loss for a child. Moreover, court proceedings to establish de facto parenthood will beIn an important win for LGBT families, on July 2, 2014, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled In re Guardianship of Madelyn B. that Susan B. is an equal legal parent to the daughter she brought into the world with her now ex-partner, Melissa D., even though Susan and Melissa had no legal relationship to each other. GLAD and co-counsel Kysa Crusco represented Susan in her effort to establish her legal role as Madelyn’s parent after Melissa, Madelyn’s birth mother, cut off contact between them.
Susan and Madelyn decided to bring a child into the world and then raised Madelyn together from her birth in 2002, including establishing a guardianship for Susan, the only legal option available to them at the time. The couple continued to co-parent for over five years after they split up until Madelyn was eleven years old.
Melissa began a relationship with a man she eventually married and she went to court in April 2013 both to end Susan’s guardianship and to obtain a stepparent adoption for her husband. A New Hampshire family court terminated Susan’s guardianship and prevented her from intervening in the stepparent adoption proceedings. It was at this point that GLAD and attorney Crusco appealed these decisions to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and sought to have Susan declared a legal parent.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed the family court rulings and recognized that Madelyn has two parents, regardless of what their gender, sexual orientation or marital status is, citing New Hampshire’s “holding out” statute which states that someone is a parent if: “While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his child.”60 (The NH Supreme Court made it clear that this statute is to be read in a gender neutral way).
This decision is not only an incredibly important victory for one family, but for all LGBT families, no matter how those families are formed. However, having to go through a court process to establish parenthood is painful and costly, so anything people can do outside of court to make decisions together about a child’s interests is strongly encouraged. For more information, see GLAD’s publication, Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families, at http://www.glad.org/uploads/docs/publications/protecting-families-standards-for-lgbt-families.pdf.
Short of joint adoption or second parent adoption, how can a family protect the interests of the child vis-à-vis his or her second parent?
There are a number of steps which can be taken, although none offer the security of a second parent adoption.
- Co-parenting agreement: An agreement setting out the parents’ expectations about each other’s roles, and their plans in the event of separation, disability or death. While these agreements may not be given effect by courts, they are important indicators of what the couple believed was in the best interests of the child, and thus may be influential (although not binding) on a court. Note also that New Hampshire has a specific law about surrogacy. It prohibits payment of a fee to surrogates, other than expenses like lost earnings or medical expenses due to pregnancy and attorney’s fees and court costs.61 It also imposes mandatory contract terms on surrogacy agreements, and makes it clear that the surrogate may keep the child in certain specified circumstances.62
- Co-guardianship: This process allows a parent to name the other non-legal parent as a co-guardian so that he or she may secure medical attention and health insurance for the child and in all other ways act with the legal authority of a parent.63 The best interest of the child standard controls appointments of guardians.64 The guardian must annually file a report on the minor’s welfare.65 This status is not permanent, and any person, including the legal parent, may petition to have a guardian removed.66
- Wills: The legal parent may nominate a guardian of the child upon the parent’s death. These wishes are given strong preferences by courts. Of course, if the child has another legal parent living, then that person would have priority over the nominated guardian.
Custody and Visitation
If I have a child from a former heterosexual relationship, and I am now involved with a same-sex partner, can my “ex” use this against me to deny me custody or visitation of my kids?
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has not yet squarely addressed this issue. States around the country are split on the issue, with a majority deciding the issue based on whether there is evidence of direct harm to the best interests of the child because of the parent’s sexual orientation, and some others assuming harm. As a matter of logic and experience, a parent’s sexual orientation should not in itself be grounds for denying custody or visitation.
One state Supreme Court case addressed the fact of gay parenting in the context of a constitutional challenge to New Hampshire’s now-repealed law forbidding gay people from adopting. The opinion is from an era in which fear of AIDS was rampant, and the opinion did not directly address the issue of how a parent’s sexual orientation would influence a custody contest between two parents. In the case, known as Opinion of the Justices, the court reasoned that the state’s adoption ban was permissible because of the state’s interest in providing for the “health, safety and proper training for children.”67 It reasoned further that parents are the primary role models for children and having a gay parent could influence a child’s sexual identity.68 But the Court drew a distinction between children in state-approved or state-licensed adoption and foster care programs for whom the State had a special responsibility, and children in already existing families. In the Court’s words, “this opinion is not meant to suggest that the State might have ... authority to delve into the privacy of existing ... custodial relationships.”69
What are the factors for making custody determinations generally?
In a divorce, the court treats the parents as equals and encourages the parents to create a “parenting plan” that allows both parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children.70 A court may also award visitation or custody to step-parents or grandparents.71
The court’s decisions are based on the best interest of the child standard and the safety of the parties.72 The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child.73
How is “sexual orientation” used in custody proceedings?
In a divorce or paternity proceeding, a parent may argue that the other parent’s sexual orientation is causing detriment to the child. Any number of reasons can be cited, such as that the gay or lesbian parent’s sexual orientation is causing other people to tease or ostracize the child, or that the parent is a bad role model. Or a parent may argue that the ex’s new partner is not good for the child. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, these matters can be answered to the satisfaction of a judge in a way which does not penalize the gay parent or the child. Contact GLAD for further resources.
Does it matter if my “ex” knew or suspected I was gay or lesbian before we separated?
It can make a difference with respect to future modification of court orders for custody. People can seek to modify permanent court orders for custody in a number of circumstances, including when “clear and convincing evidence that the child’s present environment is detrimental to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health, and the advantage to the child of modifying the order outweighs the harm likely to be caused by a change in environment.”74 If a spouse did not know of your sexual orientation at the time of the court proceedings but learns it later, he or she may argue that the circumstances surrounding the child’s welfare have changed and that the custody issues should be litigated anew. Of course, if your spouse or former heterosexual partner knew of your sexual orientation at the time of the court proceedings establishing custody, a modification petition on those grounds would be pointless.
Can a court keep my kids from visiting when my partner is present?
The standard for restrictions on visitation, and in all matters, is what is in the best interests of the child with no concern for the adults. Courts have enormous discretion in visitation matters and certainly have the power to restrict visitation. But unless the partner is causing harm to the child — a very high standard — visitation should not be restricted.
What is domestic violence?
Under the law, “abuse” covers a variety of activities. These generally include:
- attempting to cause, or recklessly or purposely causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury;
- placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury or attempting to do so by physical menace or threats;
- attempting to or engage in involuntarily sexual relations under threat or force;
- in some circumstances, attempting to or committing kidnapping, criminal restraint or false imprisonment;
- attempting to or in fact destroying the property of a person eligible for protection under the domestic violence laws;
- attempting to or in fact entering onto a person’s property when not authorized to do so where that person is eligible for protection under the domestic violence laws;
- repeated communication with the purpose to annoy or alarm another.75
Do the domestic violence laws apply to people in same-sex relationships?
Generally yes, spouses and ex-spouses in marriages and civil unions are explicitly covered and most other same-sex relationships are covered. “Abuse” includes the acts defined above if they occur between people who are:
- “family or household members” — including people who live together or formerly did so; and
- “current or former sexual or intimate partners” — which includes people who are presently or were formerly in a romantic relationship, regardless of whether or not the relationship was “sexually consummated.”76
How do I get a court order protecting me from an abusive partner?
You can get a protective order from the District Court in the town where you or the abuser lives, as well as the Superior Court in the county where you or the abuser lives. If you live in Rockingham County or Grafton County, you must go to the Family Division Court. If you have fled your home, you can go the court closest to your temporary home. Note that the Court will keep your address confidential — you need to let them know if you move so they know how to contact you.
To apply for a protective order, ask the clerk of the court for a Domestic Violence Petition. Simply write down what happened to you as clearly and in as much detail as possible. You must include the date, the time and the location of the important facts about the abuse. You will have to swear what you have written is true, so don’t guess about something if you don’t know for sure. Ask for additional pages to write down all of the facts, past and present, of abuse that you can think of.
If you ask for emergency orders, the clerk will take the papers to a judge. If you see the judge, just tell him or her simply and honestly what happened to you and why you are in danger. If the judge finds that you are in danger, he or she may immediately issue temporary protective orders, directing the abuser no to abuse you and not to enter your residence, workplace or school. The court may also issue an emergency order granting you temporary custody of your children and ordering the abuser to turn over to a peace officer any guns or other deadly weapons he or she could use to harm you. You will get a copy of the order from the clerk of court and you should keep it with you at all times.
A copy of the protective order will be sent to the Department of Safety by computer. The State Police must make information regarding the protective order available to your local police and Sheriff. The local police must promptly serve your abuser with a copy of the temporary protective order. There is no charge for this service, and the orders are in effect state-wide in New Hampshire.
What can I do if the courts are closed?
If you are in immediate danger of abuse and no court is open, you may get an emergency protective order by contacting the nearest police department. A police officer can help you fill out the forms and will contact a judge by telephone. Everything said in response to the above question remains true about how the process works. The one difference is that an order issued over the telephone will only be effective until the close of business on the next regular court business day. For the protection order to remain in effect, you must go to the nearest District, Family or Superior Court before the close of the next business day to ask for a new protective order.
What happens after I obtain a temporary order?
A full hearing will be heard on your petition within 30 days of when you file it or within 10 days of the date the petition is served on your abuser, whichever is later. The abuser may also ask for a hearing within 3 to 5 days, which you must attend.
You have the right to bring a lawyer to represent you at the hearing. It is a good idea to see a lawyer if you think custody or child support will be disputed, or if you have been severely injured or expect an injury to last a long time.
Where can I go to get help?
If you cannot afford a lawyer, a domestic violence program in your area may be able to refer you to a lawyer who will do the case for free. The DOVE Project (Domestic Violence Emergency Project) of the New Hampshire Bar Association can provide referrals. Contact them at (866) 644-3574, or http://www.nhbar.org. Their mailing address is 2 Pillsbury Street, Suite 300, Concord, NH 03301-3502.
Does domestic violence play a role in custody decisions?
Yes. Evidence that a parent has in the past, or is presently, abusing the other parent or the child is a factor showing that a parent should not be presumed to be entitled to joint legal custody, as discussed above.77 As “parental conduct,” it is also a factor that will affect the analysis of what is in the best interests of the child.
41 NH RSA 457:22
42 NH RSA 457:26.
43 NH RSA 5-C:49, I
44 See the following publication from the National Center for Lesbian Right: http://www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Divorce_in_DOMA_States_Attorney_Guide.pdf.
45 NH RSA 457:46, II
46 See Wilcox v. Trautz, 427 Mass. 316 (1998)
47 NH RSA 506:6
48 NH RSA 137-J
49 NH RSA 137-J:2, III
50 See NH RSA 137-J:20
51 NH RSA 137-J:14
52 NH RSA 137-J:15
53 NH RSA 137-J:21
54 NH RSA 464-A:10
55 See Internal Revenue Code, Private Letter Ruling 9603011 (Jan. 19, 1996)
56 NH RSA 170-B:4 (permitting an “unmarried adult” to adopt)
57 In Re Jason C., 129 N.H. 762, 533 A.2d 32 (1987). The court read the absence of any procedure for custody determinations within the adoption process to indicate that the legislature did not intend to grant adoptions under these circumstances. The court’s determination also turned on the fact that allowing a divorced couple to adopt jointly would not further the legislature’s intent to limit adoption to applicants who would most likely provide a unified and stable household for the child—an intent that would be fulfilled by a committed same-sex couple seeking to adopt together
58 NH RSA 170-B:4, IV
60 NH RSA 168-B:3(I)(d).
61 NH RSA 168-B:25, V
62 See NH RSA 168-B:25, I-IV
63 See NH RSA 463:10 (allowing appointment of appropriate persons, including “co-guardians may be appointed when in the best interests of the minor”), 12 (rights of guardian)
64 NH RSA 463:8
65 NH RSA 463:12
66 NH RSA 463:14-16
67 129 N.H. 290, 296, 530 A.2d 21, 24 (1987)
68 129 N.H. at 296-98, 530 A.2d at 25-26
69 Id. at 298, 530 A.2d at 27
70 NH RSA 461-A:2
71 NH RSA 461-A:6, V
72 Place v. Place, 129 N.H. 252, 525 A.2d 704 (1987); See also, NH RSA 461-A:6, I
73 NH RSA 461-A:6, VI
74 NH RSA 461-A:11, I (c)
75 NH RSA 173-B:1, I
76 NH RSA 173-B:1, II
77 NH RSA 458:17, II (c)