Learn Here About Potential New Mexico Divorce Decree Modification Option
The Divorce Attorneys at New Mexico Financial and Family Law approach each case individually. Although most New Mexico Divorce cases address common issues, each of our clients has specific needs and goals and we design a strategy that considers all of their personal needs and goals. We always thoroughly explain the legal options and the likely consequences to the client so our clients can make an informed decisions about the best course of action for them. We discuss with our clients what elements of their divorce decrees are modifiable, the circumstances that the court will consider when a modification is requested, and what course of action to take to meet the client’s both short term and long term issues.
New Mexico Divorce Law – Are Divorce Decrees Really Final?
Divorce decrees are final; the court rulings concerning issues dealt with in the divorce proceeding cannot be re-decided except, and with time restrictions, when errors of law occurred during your divorce proceedings.
This does not mean, however, that divorce decrees cannot be modified – New Mexico divorce decrees can be modified, but only if there is a significant change in the circumstances of the parties. If you believe that you need to modify your New Mexico divorce decree or are a New Mexico resident involved in an out-of-state divorce decree modification you can contact New Mexico Financial and Family Law through this website or directly.
New Mexico Divorce Law – What Parts of the Decree Can Be Modified?
Generally, the court can change child support, parental rights, and alimony arrangements after a divorce decree. However, it is not usually possible to make changes to a final New Mexico Divorce Order that deals with property. It is not uncommon for child-related provisions of a divorce decree to be changed several times if the parents are divorced when children are very young.
New Mexico Divorce Law – Changing Circumstances
There are no specific guidelines for what is or is not a significant change in Divorce Decree Circumstances in New Mexico. The decision to grant a modification is often a judgment call that the court must make. To understand what New Mexico’s courts will likely consider and to get assistance in understanding your circumstances in the eyes of New Mexico Law, you can contact New Mexico Financial and Family Law through this website or directly.
Common changes in circumstance include:
Growth of children causing increased expenses in excess of child support agreement
Significant changes in health circumstances
Significant changes in parental incomes
Drastic change in custodial parent’s lifestyle requiring change in custody arrangement – including cohabitation and remarriage
New Mexico Divorce Law – Modification Process
To get a modification to a divorce decree you must file with the court for a change in the agreement. The filing must conform to proper form and format to be heard by the courts. Then can assist you in filing for a New Mexico Divorce Modification. Go to our contact form to arrange for a consultation.
It is usually best to wait for a considerable period after the divorce is final to be able to really prove that a significant change has occurred. Courts may view modification motions that are filed shortly after the divorce as suspicious, since it may appear as though the moving party is just trying to “do the divorce over again”.
New Mexico Divorce Law – Modification by Agreement
At times parties who want to make changes to the divorce orders that were codified by the court will make informal modifications (by mutual consent) to their divorce decree. Even though parties are free to make agreements which are in the best interest of the parties or a child, even if they are written agreements, any agreements for changes which are not specified in court orders will not officially change the duties and rights of either parent.
For example, parents might agree that child support ordered in their divorce decree should be modified because the paying parent’s income has significantly changed. If the agreement is not reflected in a court order, the paying parent could be required to pay the entire amount as originally ordered by the court if a dispute between the parents comes up in the future. The paying parent could also be held in contempt of court and jailed. This is true even if the parties document their agreement in written, absent court approval.
These same risks also apply to informal agreements concerning visitation, spousal support payments and all other court orders codified in the divorce decree.
Most modifications are frequently settled without hearings or trials. Through mediation or common agreement, the parties’ agreement is written into an Agreed Order Modifying Prior Order in Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship. Each party and the attorneys sign the orders and present them to a judge for approval.
The bottom line is if the parties to a divorce want to modify their divorce decree, it is best done through a court approved modification. New Mexico Financial and Family Law can assist you in this process.
New Mexico Divorce Law – Other Modifications
Any suit to modify a prior divorce order will require the filing party (Movant) to prove different elements based on the part of the divorce decree requested for change. The most frequently requested modifications are listed below. New Mexico Financial and Family Law can assist you in understanding the elements a Movant will be required to prove in any desired divorce modifications.
Modify Child Support
Modify Sole Managing Conservatorship
Change Joint Managing Conservatorship to a Sole or a Joint Managing Conservator
Change the Relative Rights and Powers of Conservators
Note: Custody, which is known as “conservatorship” under the New Mexico Family Code, defines the rights and duties that each parent will exercise for the benefit of the child, designates the decisions to be made, and the responsibilities of each parent with regard to the child. Conservator ship is a separate issue from visitation.
New Mexico Divorce Law – Jurisdiction
In New Mexico, the court that granted a divorce has the sole power to modify the parts of the decree relating to children until a child is out of high school or living on his own. However, if the children have lived for at least six months in another county in New Mexico, the case must be moved to that county upon either party’s request.
As a part of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, which has been adopted by almost every state in the nation, including New Mexico, if children whose parents divorced in New Mexico have lived for at least six months in a different state, any suit to change custody will have to be tried in the state in which the children live. The same rule applies to parents who were divorced in another state and whose children have lived in New Mexico for at least six months. Cases dealing with only support and visitation issues may be kept in the original court if one parent continues to live in the place where the divorce was granted, even if the children have moved out of state.