If you have been served with divorce papers, that means your spouse has filed a “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage” and initiated the first step in the divorce process to legally dissolve your marriage in New Mexico. This can be an emotionally trying experience, especially if you weren’t expecting it. Although divorces can be lengthy, complicated affairs, the initial steps you must take after being served your divorce papers are relatively straightforward.
Here is a list of some of the steps you should take to respond to a divorce petition in New Mexico:
- Understanding the divorce petition. The divorce petition notifies the court that the spouses are incompatible and that the filing party wants a divorce. It may contain information about children, details about the length of the marriage, and it will ask the court to divide community property and debt.
- The Answer. You will have 30 days to respond after being served the divorce petition. Your response should address whether you agree with every statement in the divorce petition. However, you do not need to include specific details about why you agree or disagree. Your answer to the petition is binding, and can be used against you down the road, so it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney before you respond.
- Organize your documents. The divorce process will settle disputes about alimony, child custody, and property and debt division. The sooner you begin organizing and making copies of bank statements, tax returns, and other documents related to your income and financial record, the better.
- Consult with an attorney. Every part of the divorce process is important, and mistakes you make at the beginning could hurt you later in the process. That’s why speaking with an attorney to better understand your responsibilities and what to expect can be crucial to your success.
Remember, being served a divorce petition means the initial stages of divorce are in motion. Although the experience can feel overwhelming, it’s important not to take too long before you begin preparing for your divorce.