What is the law on moving in NH?

In NH, the Family Court looks to a statute, legislature made law, to decide whether a parent can move. The law is located at NH RSA 461-A:12 Relocation of a Residence of a Child.

Generally, in order to relocate, a parent must prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the location is for a legitimate purpose and that the proposed location is reasonable in light of that purpose.  If the parent who wishes to move can prove these two requirements, then the burden shifts to the other parent, opposing the move, that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.

There are several cases, decided by the NH Supreme Court, outlining factors which help guide the Family Courts in deciding whether something is legitimate or reasonable. However, the factors the court will consider can be best summarized in the following list:

  1. Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move;
  2. The quality of the relationships between the child and each parent;
  3. The impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the non-moving parent;
  4. The degree to which the moving parent’s and the child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally by the move;
  5. The feasibility of the preserving the relationship between the non-moving parent and the child through suitable parenting arrangements;
  6. Any negative impact from continued exacerbated hostility between the parents;
  7. The effect that the move may have on any extended family relations.

As you can see, there is no litmus test for deciding these cases.  They are very fact and family specific. Many times, the Court finds in favor of the non-moving parent, in order to maintain the relationship to the child.

As always, this information is not meant to replace legal advice from a licensed attorney who has had the opportunity to hear all of the facts and ask important questions in order to form their opinions. If you are facing a relocation, either as the moving parent or the non-moving parent, call a lawyer.