New HampshireChild Visitation Laws
New Hampshire Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in New Hampshire assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in New Hampshire, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in New Hampshire strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about New Hampshire's visitation guildelines on this page.
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The court will decide a request for visitation based on whether granting a parent visitation would be in the "best interests of the child."
What is considered in a child's "best interests" are outlined under the custody and visitation statute which indicate the following factors are relevant to this type of decision:
- The relationship of the child with each parent and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance.
- The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.
- The child’s developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, both in the present and in the future.
- The quality of the child’s adjustment to the child’s school and community and the potential effect of any change.
- The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing physical, written, and telephonic contact with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
- The support of each parent for the child’s contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
- The support of each parent for the child’s relationship with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.
- The relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child.
A court may award visitation rights if the child's parents are divorced or have filed for divorce, one of the parents is deceased, one of the parents has had his or her parental rights terminated, or the child has been born out of wedlock, if the child has been legitimated. Adoption cuts off all rights of grandparents.
In the state of New Hampshire, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of New Hampshire's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In New Hampshire:
New Hampshire has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. State law does not provide for general visitation rights of grandparents, but visitation rights may be presumed under certain parental situations.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, a New Hampshire court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In New Hampshire:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of New Hampshire?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
Under New Hampshire law, legal provisions do exist to grant child visitation rights to step-parents under certain circumstances, so visitation can be readily applied for. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in New Hampshire?
Under state of New Hampshire law, it is not generally possible for any other interested party other than those specified to be granted child visitation rights. In rare cases this may be overruled by the court.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in New Hampshire?
In the state of New Hampshire it is possible to be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.