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Co-Parenting in New Hampshire: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Custody in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, formal court orders are not issued to establish legal parental custody, but the court may, if necessary, issue temporary orders until either a parenting plan is put into effect or a court ruling is finalized. According to state law (603:C:F:§ 463-A) there are three main forms of legal custody: joint custody, sole custody, and split custody.


Joint custody is the most common custody order issued by the court, and typically includes giving both parents access to their child’s medical and school records, as well as the authority to make important decisions about the child’s education and healthcare. This type of custody is also known asshared parenting.


Sole custody allows one parent to make all the decisions about the child, without consulting with the other parent. This type of custody is typically only granted in cases where the other parent has proven to be abusive, neglectful or unable to provide for the child. This can also occur when a child is considered to be at risk of harm with the other parent.


Split custody is a form of custody where each parent has the primary responsibilities of caring for one or more of the children, while still allowing the other parent access to the children. This form of custody is often not encouraged by courts and is rare, as it can be seen as potentially damaging to the children.


Child Support in New Hampshire

New Hampshire law (603:A:F:§ 461) mandates that both parents are financially responsible for their children, even when they are not living in the same residence. The court may order either parent to pay child support and will typically consider factors such as the income of both parents, the number of children, and any extraordinary expenses that may be incurred for the children’s care to determine the amount due.


Child support is typically divided between both parents based upon their incomes and can be modified as needed if one or both parents experience job changes or increases in income. The court may also deviate from the state guidelines if there are extenuating circumstances that are in the best interest of the child.


Co-Parenting Expenses in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, each parent is also responsible for a portion of the child’s expenses such as childcare, health insurance, medical/dental treatments, educational/ extracurricular activities, summer camp and more. The court may order each parent to pay a portion of the costs, or order one parent to pay the full amount if the other parent isn’t able to.


Generally, both parents will be responsible for contributing to such expenses in proportion to their incomes, unless the court orders otherwise. In most cases, the custodial parent will hold the majority of the responsibility; however, the non-custodial parent will also have to pay a portion of the costs, as well.


Parental Rights in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, each parent has the right to be involved in the decision making process when it comes to the safety, health, and welfare of their children. It doesn’t matter whether they are the custodial parent or not; both parents have the right to be informed on all matters concerning their children.


This includes the right to be informed in advance of any decisions that are made regarding the child’s care and education, such as changes to the child’s place of residence or medical treatment. Both parents also have the right to participate in discussions about their child’s overall wellbeing, make suggestions and provide input where needed.


Decision Making in New Hampshire

In general, when it comes to making decisions that aren’t related to the safety, health and welfare of the children, the custodial parent has the authority to make final decisions. This is typically the parent who is the child’s day-to-day caretaker, such as where the child will attend school, what extracurriculars they will participate in, etc.


For decisions that do impact the safety, health and welfare of the children, both parents will be consulted and both must agree before a decision can be finalized. This includes decisions like where the child will receive medical treatment, how the child will be disciplined, etc.


Parenting Plan in New Hampshire

The court may require both parents to create a parenting plan, which outlines how decisions will be made and how visitation will be handled. This plan should address important issues such as decision-making abilities, parental rights and responsibilities, communication between parents and kids, support, and any other appropriate issues. In New Hampshire, parenting plans are typically created with the help of the court or through mediation.


Visitation Rights in New Hampshire

According to New Hampshire law (603:C:F:§ 463-A) both parents have the right to visit with their child, and visitation rights are often included in the parenting plan. Visitation can be arranged in a variety of ways and can be adapted to the specific needs of the children and the parents. The court can order supervised visitation if one parent has a history of neglect or abuse and if it’s in the best interest of the child.


Typically, the court will order the amount of visitation that is in the best interest of the children, which may include overnight visits, weekend visits, and visits on specific holidays and special occasions. The court may also order electronic visitation in certain cases.


Mediation in New Hampshire

Mediation is an alternative to court proceedings for deciding child custody and visitation disputes, and is often used when the parents of a child are having difficulty coming to an agreement on their own. The court may order mediation if necessary or the parents may choose to enter into mediation voluntarily.


At the mediation session, the parents and their lawyers meet with a neutral third party, who helps facilitate dialogue between the parents and helps them come to an agreement. The mediator does not have the power to make decisions for the parents, but rather helps guide them in the process. Mediation is typically less expensive than going to court and can often be more beneficial to both parents and children.


Fact Check and Resources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:



Co-parenting can be a difficult and challenging process, but understanding the relevant laws and procedures can help make the process smoother. In New Hampshire, co-parenting is governed by state law and can involve a variety of decisions and arrangements, such as child custody, child support, parental rights, decisions, a parenting plan and visitation rights. Parents should also be aware of their options for mediation to help resolve disputes and facilitate better communication between them and their co-parent.


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Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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