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While every couple does their best to avoid conflict during a divorce, sometimes a hearing is inevitable. Called a “divorce trial” by some, the purpose of these hearings is for each side to voice their preferred outcome, as dictated by the eventual divorce decree.

During a hearing, a divorce trial lawyer in Albuquerque will help you present the outcome you desire. The contents of the final divorce decree can involve matters like child custody, child support, division of assets, spousal support (alimony), and many other factors. You and your attorney will have the opportunity to present facts and material evidence. Your goal will be to argue for your preferred outcome in a way that might convince the court to order that some or all of your provisions are included in the divorce decree.

Even when hearings are scheduled, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods still remain important. You and your attorney may attend mediation sessions, hold informal discussions with your spouse and/or their attorney, and engage in other communications essential to reaching agreeable divorce decree terms.

New Mexico Financial & Family Law knows this is an incredibly difficult time for people who have become separated. We help you focus on the information and evidence that matters most when advocating for your preferred divorce outcomes. Let us help you prepare for hearings and craft a strategy with a high chance of helping you attain success. Schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation today when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.

Resources for Divorcing Families in Albuquerque

The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County both advocate for the rights and safety of families facing divorce. If you are entering into divorce and aren’t sure of where to turn, these resources can help you decide on the best path forward for your family’s future.

Divorce Options Workshop

The State Bar of New Mexico offers a free online seminar-styled workshop aimed at helping individuals seeking a divorce. The workshop covers the complete divorce process and other legal options available, including how to file for divorce with limited financial resources.

The workshop is typically held on the first Wednesday of each month. View the 2022 flyer, which includes dates and contact information.

New Mexico Legal Aid

Available to victims of domestic abuse, this organization offers low-cost consultations and some free legal services for those seeking protection from a partner and/or a divorce.

City of Albuquerque Resources for Domestic Violence & Abuse Victims

The city of Albuquerque maintains a list of organizations and programs available to assist families suffering from domestic abuse and other challenges. These include crisis centers, charities, and family shelters. Families may also be able to obtain legal assistance, free clinics, and other resources to help them through the process of divorce.

Second District of New Mexico Family Court Clinic

Most divorces in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are processed under the Second Judicial Court District of New Mexico Family Courts. The Second District offers free and low-cost services to qualifying families. These services include free assistance with mediation, consultations on how to complete paperwork, and other conflict resolution tools for divorcing couples.

Divorce Hearings in Albuquerque

Divorce trials in Albuquerque are conducted through the Second Judicial District Courthouse, Family Court Division, located on the second floor of the Downtown Courthouse in Albuquerque, NM.

400 Lomas Blvd NW
Room 240, 2nd Floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Office Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Public Service Windows Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: 505-841-7421

The court does not require that you are represented by an attorney to file for divorce or to engage in a divorce trial to come to a final resolution. However, on the Family Court FAQ page, the court says the following: “It is in your best interest to work with a licensed attorney.”
Court Clinic Services Available

Before your divorce case will proceed to a trial, you will be ordered to attend mediation. You can choose to hold mediation at no cost through the Court Clinic mediation services. These services are only available by court order. To request that your mediation services are conducted through the Court Clinic, you can complete a Court Clinic Referral Order (CCRO) and submit it for approval to the judge presiding over your case.

How Are Disputes Resolved in an Albuquerque Divorce?

As stated above, the Family Courts of New Mexico overwhelmingly prefer for divorcing couples to submit one proposed divorce agreement, which will form the basis of the final issued divorce decree. The divorce decree encompasses major legal decisions like how property will be divided, how parents may share custody of children, a plan and schedule for co-parenting, decisions on spousal support (alimony), and any other key issues.

When a divorcing couple cannot come to an agreement in all of these areas, a dispute arises. The disputing couple is expected to attempt negotiations during mediation and other meetings between themselves and their respective counsel.

If no agreement can be reached after these efforts, the presiding judge over the case may schedule a divorce hearing. The purpose of the hearing is for both sides to present their proposals along with evidence speaking to why their preferred proposal meets the best interests of the children and everyone else involved.

During divorce hearings, evidence may be presented regarding a spouse’s finances and general behaviors. Individuals who know the couple’s history may testify, including financial professionals, caretakers for the kids, and professional psychiatrists.

After the hearings, the presiding judge may make efforts to get one party (or both parties) to accept provisions of a plan that can be considered mutually agreeable. If neither party assents to the proposal, the judge may make a final ruling to institute a binding version of the final divorce agreement. The final ruling may use one proposal over the other, combine them in various proportions, or interject an entirely new set of agreement terms.

The risk of an unfavorable decision is why both attorneys and judges urge the couple to try to come to a mutual agreement themselves. With compromise set as the goal, each former spouse has greater control over the final outcome of the divorce decree compared to having a judge issue a ruling on the matter.

Keeping a Contested Divorce Focused on Relevant Factors

It is important for a person entering a divorce to keep perspective on their goals and the court’s primary concerns. Namely, the court will be interested in hearing justifications for the request for certain outcomes — such as for property to be divided a certain way or time-sharing to be split according to one parent’s proposed schedule. Off-topic testimony and assertions related to the character of the other spouse will not be entertained. Instead, the court will ask that each person presenting to the court keep their information concise, relevant, and focused on the factors that have the most impact.

To help a spouse have a higher chance of having their opinions or evidence admitted by the court, they should focus on the main points: the hows, whens, and whys. All of these facts should point towards a single conclusion.

For example, a parent disputing the time-sharing schedule may wish to point to the fact that the other spouse spends very little time with the children during their current schedule. This assertion should be backed up by documented events: the spouse was absent during this period on a vacation they went on their own; the spouse places the children in the care of others during the time available to them to spend with the children; the spouse spends exorbitant amounts of money on their own personal indulgence rather than buying clothing and other necessities for the children.

It is easy during such an emotional and contentious period to have such facts be dismissed as exaggerations or irrelevance. Having an attorney to assist you in gathering evidence and forming clear, logical legal reasoning based on that evidence can be invaluable during contested divorce hearings.

What Do I Do If I Feel a Spouse Is Being Dishonest?

Again, the key in these cases is to focus on relevance and concrete facts. No amount of repetition or pleading will convince a court unilaterally to take one side over the other. Instead, they will look to proven facts and strong evidence to support clear-cut reasoning.

If it is suspected that a spouse is making misleading statements in order to obtain more-favorable division of property or outcomes regarding children, facts will become the primary ally in the battle for truth. Spouses who feel suspicious of their former partner’s honesty should save all correspondence. They should keep a schedule of past events, a calendar dated and ideally reinforced with records of specific actions taken.

For example, a purchase of plane tickets made for a personal vacation that took place during an important birthday for a child can demonstrate a shallow relationship between the parent and the child. Similarly, evidence pointing to an unwillingness to advance income-earning potential on the part of a spouse, despite ample time, resources, and justification, can indicate a desire to extract as much value as possible from a marriage.

While neither hypothetical example is airtight, they demonstrate how general assertions must be documented and assembled into a compelling narrative, with legal justification to back it up, if someone wishes to have a higher chance of success in a contested divorce hearing.

Speak to Albuquerque Divorce Trial Attorneys Who Can Help

New Mexico Financial & Family Law has helped hundreds of families over our decades of collective legal experience. We have seen many heated divorce situations where combativeness is prioritized over compromise, time and time again.

The key in these situations is to determine a legal path forward through the drama and the heartache. At the center of all the discussions are goals, and individuals wanting to achieve certain goals as an outcome of their divorce must have a legal strategy.

Talk to a compassionate divorce lawyer in Albuquerque who wants to help you and your family. Reach out to schedule a confidential, no-risk consultation when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.

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