What Is The Process Of Getting A Divorce In New Mexico
Before you can file divorce paperwork, you must make sure you meet state residency requirements. That means either you or your spouse must have lived in New Mexico for at least the preceding six months.
The person who files for divorce is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the defendant.
To begin the process, the petitioner must file either a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage Without Children or a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With Children. You must use the latter form if you have any children who are under 19 who are still in high school.
After you complete the appropriate form and an information sheet, you need to submit the documents to your countys judicial district court. Each district covers several counties, and you can find out which one you need to submit to by going here.
When you submit your paperwork, youll need to pay a filing fee. In some cases, if you qualify, you can ask for a fee waiver.
You must then legally notify the defendant by serving them with the paperwork. New Mexico has specific rules on how paperwork must be served. This can be done by having a county sheriff deliver the paperwork, any person over 18 deliver the paperwork, or you can send a copy to the defendant via U.S. certified mail, restricted delivery, and a return receipt requested.
After you have completed service, youll need to file proof with the court.
How Can I Get More Help With New Mexico Online Divorce
New Mexico 3StepDivorce provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our New Mexico Divorce Online Help Center at 665-6782 , Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm .
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about New Mexico law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.
Divorce Vs Dissolution Of Marriage
Before we begin, lets clarify a few terms.
New Mexico law refers to divorce as a dissolution of marriage, so you may see both terms when looking at paperwork or legal documents. However, keep in mind that in some other states, dissolution and divorce are two different things, so you should be sure to look at New Mexico resources and information exclusively.
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What Is An Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce simply means that you and your spouse agree on all the issues related to divorce.
This is the easiest, quickest, cheapest, and least confrontational form of divorce. You can go through an uncontested divorce often without the help or cost of hiring a lawyer, and you may not need to appear in front of a judge, or if you do, only briefly.
How Do I Cancel A Divorce In New Mexico
You can only stop or cancel a divorce in New Mexico if you are the petitioner. If you have completed paperwork but have not submitted any documents to the court, then you dont need to do anything. If you have submitted paperwork and started legal action, then you can file a petition with the court to dismiss the case.
If you have gone through the legal process and your divorce has been finalized, then you have no recourse. If you want to reconcile with your ex, you will need to get married to each other again to declare your union.
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What Is A Legal Separation Vs A Divorce In New Mexico
A legal separation is a formal action that loosens the bonds of marriage but does not end a marriage. A legal separation requires formal court action and is not the same as a physical separation where one spouse simply moves out of the family home. Both spouses must sign the court document, which becomes legal and binding.
Creating distance allows couples to think more about what their options are and provides a much needed time out to heal from the issues that cause the marriage to fracture in the first place.
Sometimes, couples also choose legal separation for religious reasons, because divorce may be a conflict depending on their spiritual beliefs.
Legal separations also let a spouse keep their spouses health insurance and can provide tax benefits that only married couples can enjoy.
Immigration status can also be affected. If a noncitizen gets a divorce, they may be deported. But with a legal separation, they can stay in the country even if they dont continue to live with their spouse.
What Happens If I Cant Find My Spouse To Serve Him Or Her With A Copy Of My Divorce Petition
The law requires you to make a serious effort to locate your spouse. You should keep records of everything you do to find him or her. If you are unsuccessful, you can ask the court to let you serve by publication. Service by publication means that you put a legal notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county which is most likely to give the party noticeusually where you believe your spouse was living last. The notice must run four times in a one-month period before your spouse is considered served. Running a legal notice can be expensive as well as time-consuming.Many court clerks offices have forms and instructions for serving your spouse by publication.
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Alimony / Spousal Support
Alimony is known as spousal support in New Mexico. Spousal support can be one of the following:
Rehabilitative Spousal Support: This is for the training, education or any rehabilitation to increase the capability of the spouse seeking support to become self-supporting.
Transitional Spousal Support: This supplements the income of the receiving spouse for a restricted time period.
Spousal support for an unspecified period of time.
If there is no agreement between both the spouses, the spousal support award, the duration and the amount is decided by the judge after considering a few factors such as:
Length of the marriage.
Age, methods of support and health of each spouse.
Present and future earnings of each spouse and their capacity of earning.
The efforts of each spouse to be able to support themselves or maintain employment.
The reasonable needs, standard of living maintained when the couple was married, medical insurance, etc. of each spouse.
Property that has been awarded to each spouse.
Assets and liabilities of each spouse.
Liabilities of each spouse.
The income from property that is owned by each spouse.
Any agreements which has been entered by either spouse in contemplation of the divorce.
How Does Adultery Affect Divorce In New Mexico
One of the fault-based grounds for divorce in New Mexico is adultery. You must be able to prove adultery took place by submitting sufficient and admissible evidence to the court. This can include photos, phone records, witness testimony, private investigator reports, credit card receipts, and other types of similar information.
Adultery does not impact any alimony or child support amounts that are part of a divorce. It does not affect a division of assets or custody issues as well.
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How Much Does It Cost To Get An Uncontested Divorce In New Mexico
Generally, the cost of divorce is based on the length of the process and the amount of conflict. The average cost of divorce in New Mexico varies between $2500 and $8000. Lawyers’ fixed rates for uncontested cases are about $1000-$1500. To lower the cost of divorce, the spouses can seek an uncontested divorce, which can sometimes be handled without an attorney, and resort to alternative dispute resolution methods or use online divorce services.
What If My Spouse And I Cant Agree On The Issues In Our Divorce
Just because you havent been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesnt necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. Then, if youre able to resolve your disagreements with the mediators help, you can use New Mexico 3StepDivorce to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
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How Much Does A Divorce Cost
Pursuing a divorce is never an easy process. Divorces are usually not simple and only get more complex the longer the length of the marriage and the more assets involved. They also can be overwhelmingly stressful considering the emotional, financial, and familial effects. If you are considering filing for divorce or if you have been served with divorce papers, there are many issues you must take into consideration when determining your options. One of the most common questions we hear from our clients is in regard to how much their divorce will cost. The answer to this question varies from case to case and greatly depends on the parties involved and the facts of the case.
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Understanding The Cost Of Divorce
The longer a divorce takes, the more it will cost. When youre seeking the most affordable divorce, lawyers will work with you to expedite the case. Generally, this means keeping the case out ofcourt
A divorce settled throughmediation can be settled very quickly, especially if both parties are cooperative and work to reach an agreement. A case taken to court could take several months or even years to settle. This means higher legal expenses and, often, more stress for the divorcing parties.
What Is A Divorce Decree In New Mexico
A divorce decree is the courts final order granting you a divorce. This means you are no longer married and considered a single person, free to marry again if you so choose.
In New Mexico, a divorce decree is officially known as a Dissolution of Marriage. It is a legal document that must be followed. It will provide detailed rights and responsibilities of each party, including things such as child custody, visitation, alimony, a division of assets, and so forth.
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What Happens To Family Income And Property While We Wait For The Trial
At the start of every divorce case, the court orders that no one can get rid of property or take on big debts before the divorce is final unless the court okays it.If one spouse needs support from the other while they are waiting for their trial, she or he can ask the court for an interim income allocationtemporary money from the other spouse. The parties disclose how much money they are earning and what fixed monthly bills they are paying. Bills are subtracted from the incoming money to get the combined net income. The parent who has the children most of the time gets a higher percentage of the couples income. When the judge signs the decree at the end of the divorce case, the interim income allocation ends.
Can I Get Alimony With An Online Divorce In New Mexico
You and your spouse may waive any right to spousal support in your New Mexico divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify spousal support at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
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Serving Your Spouse In New Mexico
After you file the paperwork, you’ll need to provide notice to your spouse of the divorce by “serving” copies of what was filed with the court. If you and your spouse filed together, you don’t have to serve them. You can’t serve your spouse yourself you must have someone who’s at least 18 years of age and not a party to the case do it.
In New Mexico, you can complete service by:
- hiring a sheriff or other law enforcement official to serve the documents
- mail the documents by certified mail, return receipt requested
- hiring a private process server to serve the documents, or
- having a person who’s not a party to the divorce and who’s over 18 to deliver the documents.
If you don’t know your spouse’s address or aren’t able to successfully serve them after trying, ask the court for permission to serve the documents by an alternative method, such as publishing a notice in the newspaper.
The spouse who filed for divorce is responsible for filing the original summons and a completed return form to prove that the other spouse was served.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce In New Mexico
As long as you meet the states residency requirements, New Mexico allows both no-fault and, to a lesser extent, fault-based divorces.
For a no-fault divorce to proceed, a couple must claim that they are incompatible and that this is the reason their marriage is failing.
Either spouse can petition the court for a dissolution of marriage based on this reason with the understanding that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. You will need to be prepared to prove that you are incompatible by offering a sworn statement and possibly having additional witnesses testify on your behalf.
For example, with abandonment, you must be able to show that your spouse moved out of the family home, with no intention to return.
Fault-based divorces are generally more contentious but may offer you some advantages. If you cant prove a case based on fault, then you can always revert back to a no-fault divorce instead.
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Do I Need An Attorney For A Divorce In New Mexico
No, an attorney is not mandatory. Many people go through a divorce in the state representing themselves. This works best in an uncontested divorce. However, if you have unresolved issues or your divorce is complicated, or you have a lot of assets to divide, you need to protect your interests with the help of an attorney.
An attorney may cost you a bit out-of-pocket, but you could cost yourself more by making unnecessary mistakes through self-representation.
Do You Need An Attorney To Divorce In New Mexico
While hiring a lawyer is unnecessary to file for divorce, receiving legal advice can be beneficial during your divorce case. Attorneys can help you determine your division of assets, communicate with your spouse, settle child custody disputes, and navigate the legal system as a whole. Your lawyer can provide you with confidence that you are doing everything to follow procedure.
Get started by taking the Divorce Preparation Quiz and get your personal divorce roadmap for free.
Establishing a healthy attorney-client relationship can help you feel more confident about your divorce and remove some of the stress that inevitably comes with these cases. However, because lawyers tend to be pricey, you and your spouse may decide to forgo a lawyer and attempt to settle disagreements between yourselves.
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How Do I Ask For A Divorce
If you are ready to divorce but your spouse does not want to divorce you, you can file for divorce without them. They dont even have to know about it! Once divorce papers are filed with your local courts, divorce laws will require your spouse to be served with divorce papers so you can divorce amicably before divorce proceedings start.
What Are Your Options For Getting A Divorce In New Mexico
You have several options that you can pursue if you want a divorce in New Mexico. Each offers advantages and disadvantages that youll need to consider before making a final decision.
Do-It-Yourself divorce. This is known as an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on all the issues in advance, you can file paperwork with the court stating this fact, and you will usually be granted a divorce in a short amount of time, the least amount of emotional stress, and the lowest possible costs. You may be able to go through the entire process without appearing in front of a judge, or appearing only briefly to answer a few questions.
Online divorce. This is similar to a DIY divorce, except that you rely a lot more on pre-printed forms and online services or attorneys to help you complete the required paperwork. The automated approach can save a lot of money, but you need to be careful about making costly mistakes if you go this route.
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Divorce mediation. You meet with a neutral third party who helps you work through the areas of disagreement you have, such as property division, child custody and visitation, and related issues. When you strike an agreement, you draw up a proposal and submit it to the court for approval. This is a quicker, cheaper, and less contentious route for many couples than going through a full-blown trial.
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