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What Is A Primary Parent?

In October 2005, RSA 461-A was enacted, changing the term from custody to residential responsibility in New Hampshire. With that switch, the reference to a “primary parent” increased. However, what does that term even mean?

Primary Parent Defined

In New Hampshire Family Court, the primary parent is a designation given to the parent with whom a minor child or children live more than half of the time. In some instances, there is not a primary parent. Sometimes the Court orders or the parties agree upon a schedule in which the child(ren) spend equal or almost equal amounts of time with either parent. Prior to October 2005, the term used was “custodial parent.” NH RSA 461-A:20 clarifies this change.

Why does this matter?

When married parents divorce or non-married parents split up, they usually end up with a Parenting Plan approved by the Court. The designation of primary parent influences different section of the Parenting Plan. Two of the biggest areas where a primary parent designation comes into play are:

  • section B(1)(b), which deals with the minor child(ren)’s residential schedule
  • section C(1), which deals with the minor child(ren)’s school district

Learn More

If you have additional questions about what a primary parent means and how it may affect you, feel free to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys in Nashua, NH, please call 943-5647. We would be more than happy to schedule a time for you to discuss your situation and see what may be best for you moving forward.

Katherine J. Morneau