Child custody is called "parental rights and responsibilities," according to New Hampshire family law. There are no special provisions about which parent should be awarded these rights and liabilities, so each case is considered by the court separately. The only reasons considered when granting parental rights and responsibilities are the capacity and intent of each parent to give the child love and care, a safe and decent environment, and opportunity to meet all their developmental needs.
There are two types of parental responsibilities in New Hampshire:
- Residential Responsibility (which refers to physical custody and determines with whom the child lives)
- Decision Making Responsibility (which refers to legal custody and determines the parents' authority to make the most important decisions concerning the child's life)
Joint custody, or shared parental rights and responsibilities, are highly welcomed in New Hampshire unless there is evidence that such an arrangement may be harmful to the child. Although shared residential responsibility is a more rare option than shared decision making responsibility, no one can prevent the contact of a child with the parent who doesn’t have physical custody. The court encourages the noncustodial parent to participate in the child's everyday life whenever possible.