Leading Financial and Family Law Attorneys
The Divorce Procedure in New Mexico
Understanding the divorce procedure in New Mexico before you file can help reduce the stress and emotional turbulence divorce brings, and will likely help you save time and money. Let’s explore the divorce process from start to finish.
The early stages of divorce
The first step in the divorce procedure is to establish your residency requirements in New Mexico. You or your spouse must have lived in New Mexico for at least 6 months prior to filing. Once you establish residency requirements, you or your spouse should file a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” This is the first legal action that initiates the divorce.
After filing the Petition, the court, you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will work together to determine how community property and debts will be divided. When necessary, you will also determine a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child or children.
What is addressed in a divorce?
Listed below are the four most important issues that will be settled by your divorce in New Mexico:
- Division of property and debts. New Mexico is a “community property” state, meaning each party is entitled to one-half of community property and assets that were acquired during the marriage, including retirement benefits. Each party is also responsible for one one-half of community debt.
- Child custody. New Mexico supports joint custody of children. This doesn’t mean parents will always be granted equal access to see and care for their children, but the court believes capable parents should have equal involvement when it comes to making important decisions about the children’s care, education, medical expenses and future.
- Alimony or spousal support. A judge can order one spouse to make payments for living expenses so that both spouses can enjoy the same standard of living they enjoyed during their marriage.
- Child support. Like most states, New Mexico bases child support on a formula based on the income of the parties after the custody has been determined. Child support can be affected by self-employment income or business income or extraordinary expenses such as private school or unusual medical needs.
How long will the divorce take?
Although certain timeframes and deadlines must be met, no one can say exactly how long your divorce will take. This depends in large part on you and your spouse’s ability to communicate, compromise and work together. That’s why having an experienced New Mexico divorce lawyer on your side is a huge asset throughout your divorce.