What Can I Do If My Former Spouse Stops Paying Support
Just like child support, the courts in New Mexico take spousal support agreements and decrees very seriously. If an individual stops paying or refuse to pay the agreed-upon support amount, the recipient can file a motion for enforcement. If the motion is granted, the court may garnish the payors wages, award attorneys fees to the recipient, or enforce the agreement through property liens, fines, or jail time.
Overview Of Alimony In New Mexico
New Mexico courts have the power to award one spouse alimony during the divorce proceeding and for a period after finalizing the divorce to ensure that both spouses walk away from the marriage with the same or similar standard of living. The goal of alimony is to lessen the impact of financial inequity that the spouses might experience after the divorce. For example, when one spouse worked full-time and the other remained at home to raise children or support the household, it can be extremely difficult for the homemaker to re-enter the workforce and become self-supporting.
Courts in New Mexico can award the following types of alimony:
- Long-term. Support one spouse pays to the other for an indefinite period. Long-term support is rare, and the court generally reserves it for cases where the spouses were married for a long time and where one spouse is unable to become self-supporting.
- Rehabilitative. Support that one spouse pays to the other to fund education, training, or other efforts that will increase the supported spouse’s ability to earn income and become self-supporting in the future.
- Transitional. Support that one spouse pays for a limited amount of time to supplement the recipient’s income.
The court may order a spouse to pay support in monthly installments, periodic payments , or lump-sum payments.
No Defense Against Divorce In New Mexico
New Mexico does not allow for defenses that could prevent a divorce from occurring. Once a party has decided to file for divorce and completes notice of process AKA serving divorce papers then only the filer can decide to halt the proceedings.
While there are no means with which to preserve a marriage once the other party decides to file for divorce, there are matters to be decided that can complicate or delay a divorce proceeding. The most pressing of these matters are child custody decisions, marriage property division, and coming to a child support agreement.
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Nm Crime Victims Legal Assistance Program
New Mexico Legal Aid has partnered with the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission to create a NM Crime Victims Legal Assistance Program
This new program offers advocacy and legal assistance to victims of crime throughout NM.
We can assists victims of elder abuse, robbery and burglary, DUI/DWI incidents, identity theft and fraud, child abuse, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and more.
Toll free telephone: 1-833-545-4357
about the program and services we can provide.
New Mexico Family Law Attorneys
Family law is one of the most sensitive practice areas precisely because it has such a large potential to disrupt peoples lives. Whether you are working through a divorce, trying to secure child custody, or desperately need a revision to your current child support agreement, New Mexico Financial & Family Law can be here for you.
At New Mexico Financial & Family Law, we pride ourselves on helping clients steady their lives. We help people make the transition from the difficult to the stable, from the uncertain to the predictable. We know we are meeting good people at their worst times. It is our privilege and unique challenge to help good people to be their best again.
New Mexico laws are fairly straightforward when it comes to family law matters. The state allows for no-fault divorces marital property is divided equitably custody both physical and legal custody can be shared between parents and child support agreements are calculated using a set formula based upon both parents income as well as the childs estimated typical expenses.
View our categories of New Mexico family law practice below for general guidelines on how the state handles the respective matters. If you have specific questions or require legal assistance with any aspect of family law, do not hesitate to contact our firm. We can provide you with a consultation to help you understand your situation and your options for moving forward.
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How To Request Alimony Payments
New Mexico divorce laws are different from other areas in the United States. Namely, a party is not going to automatically be considered for alimony. Instead, if someone feels like they need to be financially supported following a separation, this is something they have to request during the divorce proceedings.
Thus, be prepared to request alimony in court. You will also have to be prepared and justify why this is the case. This includes having evidence that you need financial support. This could be proving an ailment or disability that prevents you from working, or it could be evidence to show you are undergoing education but need financial support in the meantime.
How Long Do I Have To Pay Alimony In New Mexico
Again, the answer largely depends on the facts of your marriage. In New Mexico, there are three types of spousal support that can be awarded to you or your spouse. Long Term Alimony is the type most people think of when they hear the word alimony. Long-term support has an indefinite duration, which means its paid until the supported spouse dies or remarries.
Long-term alimony is fairly difficult to obtain in Albuquerque and New Mexico as a whole as its generally reserved for long marriages . Long-term alimony is usually awarded under the following circumstances:
- when the couple has been married for a long-time
- when one spouse was mostly a stay at home parent or did not work
- where one spouse has very limited education or employment skills, and/or
- in other situations where there will always be a significant disparity in income between the spouses.
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What Factors Go Into Determining New Mexico Spousal Support
If the spousal support issue is not settled, New Mexico law ) outlines several factors that a judge presiding over a case must consider when evaluating whether a proposed spousal support agreement is appropriate or whether spousal support is appropriate at all.
Three main tests can be summarized from these factors:
- The length of the marriage: Courts are less likely to consider a support request reasonable for marriages of a shorter duration, especially in reference to the amount requested and duration of the proposed agreement.
- The requestors need: Need encompasses the requestors basic survival requirements, which may include medical insurance. The requestors ability to earn an income is also a factor, as well as their general health. Their standard of living during marriage is also considered.
- The paying spouses ability to pay: The court will not approve an agreement that is impossible for the other spouse to pay or that inflicts an unreasonable hardship upon the proposed payor.
There is a 10-factor balancing test that courts use when deciding whether to award alimony after a trial. The existence of the ten-factor test gives courts tremendous discretion and makes alimony awards difficult to predict. The specific factors the court will consider are described in N.M.S.A. § 40-4-7 :
What Are The Residency Requirements For Divorce In New Mexico
To file for divorce in New Mexico, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and have a domicile in New Mexico. You are considered to have a domicile in New Mexico if you:
- are physically present in New Mexico and have a home in New Mexico
- intend to live in New Mexico permanently or indefinitely
- serve in the U.S. military and have been stationed in New Mexico for six months or
- serve in the U.S. military and lived in New Mexico for six months immediately before you or your spouse moved to a military base outside of New Mexico, but you intend to return to New Mexico and live there permanently or indefinitely.1
1N.M. Stat. § 40-4-5
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Adultery And Child Custody Or Support In New Mexico
Along with property division and spousal support, the judge in charge of your divorce must also allocate child custody and parenting time and decide how much child support the non-custodial parent will pay. In New Mexico, before awarding custody to either parent, the judge must determine what’s in the child’s best interest, which does not include either parent’s behavior during the marriage. Instead, the court will evaluate:
- the child’s preference
Enforcing Spousal Support In New Mexico
If you depend on your spousal support to make ends meet, it can be frustrating if your former spouse stops paying. If you’re not receiving your payments, you can request help from the court by filing a motion for enforcement. The court takes non-payment seriously, and a failure to pay can result in fines, attorney’s fees, liens, or jail.
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How Is Alimony Taxed In New Mexico
Before 2019, alimony, unlike child support, was considered the recipients income and subject to income tax. Likewise, before 2019 the paying spouse was entitled to a tax deduction for any payments made.
Alimony that is paid or received under an order or agreement in place before 2019 is still entitled to a tax deduction. Nevertheless, alimony that is ordered or agreed upon in 2019 or after is no longer taxable or tax deductible for either spouse.
Making Spousal Support Payments
If the court orders rehabilitative, transitional, or indefinite spousal support, it’s likely the judge required the paying spouse to make periodic payments to the recipient. Although couples can agree to a payment frequency and method, absent an agreement, the court will usually include an income withholding order that directs the paying spouse’s employer to withhold spousal support and send it directly to the recipient. .)
If a spouse is self-employed, or otherwise doesn’t have a steady income, the court may ask for a lump-sum payment, which may be one large sum or multiple. For example, a lump-sum may include signing over employment bonuses to your spouse for three years or until spousal support is paid in full.
The law also permits a judge to order a spouse to sign over the title of a paying spouse’s separate or marital property to the supported spouse to satisfy spousal support payment. .)
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Alimony / Spousal Support
During the course of a divorce matter, you may be faced with an issue of spousal support, also known as alimony. In New Mexico the statutes use the term spousal support and not alimony. Spousal support isnt like child support in that you simply plug figures into a calculator and get a number. Instead, its a factual determination. This means that there are several statutory factors that the court will consider in whether to award spousal support, how much to award and for how long.
New Mexico does have spousal support guidelines to help families plan for a spousal support issue, but those guidelines are only used in negotiations and dont carry the authority of law. One of the largest factors considered by the court is the length of ones marriage along with the need for such support. A marriage of one year where both parties work isnt treated the same as a marriage of 40 years where one party was a stay at home parent.
Another important consideration involving spousal support in New Mexico is the type of spousal support. For example, there is rehabilitative spousal support, transitional spousal support, lump sum spousal support and other forms as well. Its important to consider the type of spousal support relevant to your situation because it impacts on the method of payment along with the length of time associated with spousal support.
Fathers Rights And Equal Timesharing
Fathers rights gained traction in the early 2000s, but because the Court Clinic guidelines were still the law of the land , it was difficult to obtain equal timesharing for fathers. In 2016 the State of Arizona released its Guide for Parents Living Apart, and New Mexico began following those guidelines to some extent.
How New Mexicos New Guide Is Similar to Arizonas Guide for Parents Living Apart
The new Guide is based largely on those 2016 guidelines. In its 68-page Guide, Arizona set forth guidelines for various situations. It broke down the following age groups:
- birth to age two,
The Guide sets forth 6 factors to ease into overnight timesharing:
- First, there must be an established relationship.
- Secondly, the child must be adjusted to living in two homes.
- Thirdly, there must not be any safety concerns in the second parent home.
- Fourthly, the child must have trust in the second parent. .
- Fifthly, the parents home must be set up for overnight timesharing. .
- Finally, the second parent must be dependable. .
In the birth to age three developmental stage, overnight timesharing can begin immediately when the child already had an existing relationship and strong relationship with the second parent.
The minimally involved parent would not commence overnight timesharing until the other steps had been completed and all six of the overnight factors had been met, as well.
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New Mexico Spousal Support
New Mexico courts will award spousal support on a case-by-case basis. Unlike other states, spousal support is not automatically considered as part of divorce proceedings. In order for a party to receive spousal support, they must directly request it. They must also justify the reasoning behind the request, such as by indicating a spouses temporary or indefinite need for support following the dissolution of marriage.
Generally speaking, the state of New Mexico tends to grant spousal support only in situations where the marriage has had an extended duration and the newly divorced former spouse can demonstrate a definite need for support. Spousal support agreements are likely to only be for a temporary period unless the spouse has been married for an extended period and the party requesting support can demonstrate that they are unable to obtain the income needed to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Exceptions exist for high income spouses or spouses who are near retirement age
Because of the circumstantial nature of spousal support and the requirement to include clear and convincing reasoning, having an attorney help prepare your request for spousal support can provide many benefits. New Mexico Financial & Family Law can assist you with this and any other stages of the divorce process. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the courts reasoning and the types of documentation they expect when deciding upon a spousal support agreement.
Need Help With Your Timesharing Schedule
The content I have discussed in this blog is based on New Mexicos newest guidelines, but guidelines do not always reflect the timesharing schedule your family will have.
If you need help creating a timesharing schedule that serves your family and meets your childs unique needs, please do not hesitate to contact my firm, Sandia Family Law.
Together, our firm has more than 40 years of hands-on legal experience, and we offer fair and aggressive representation to families in New Mexico. To speak with one of our family law attorneys today, please call us at 544-5126 or send us a message online.
We look forward to providing you with honest, one-on-one legal guidance from start to finish.
- 6121 Indian School Rd NE,Suite 203, Albuquerque, NM 87110
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To File For Divorce In New Mexico You Or Your Spouse Must
To be qualified to file for divorce in the state of New Mexico, at least one party has to technically be a state resident. This means one person had to have lived in the state for at least six months, and they must be domiciled there. To be domiciled, the individual has to be physically present in the state with a home residence owned or leased in which they intend to stay for the foreseeable future. If neither of you meets these requirements, the court will determine that they do not have jurisdiction over the case and will dismiss it.
Requirements For A New Mexico Divorce
If you want to file for divorce in New Mexico, either your spouse or you should have resided in the state for 6 months before the date of filing and must have a domicile in the state. Domicile is defined as:
The individual is present in the state physically and also has his/her residence in the state.
The individual has the intention in good faith to live in the state permanently/ indefinitely.
Theres no mandatory cooling period in New Mexico and once the documents have been filed, it takes around 30-90 days for the divorce to be finalized.
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How Can I Avoid Paying Alimony In New Mexico
Even if many of the factors that are described above are in play, you might still be able to avoid paying spousal support. First of all, you can always address income disparities through other means. For example, we have had many clients give the other party the marital home in order to avoid having to make monthly payments to their ex for years on end. You may be able to offer various other concessions, like a portion of retirement or social security benefits in the Marital Settlement Agreement to avoid long term payments. Every case is different so to identify what options are available to you, you should contact an Albuquerque attorney who can help you identify and pursue those options. While lawyers arent cheap, their fees will likely be a lot less than years of monthly alimony payments. Genus Laws Albuquerque divorce and child custody lawyers have the resource and experience to deal with any New Mexico alimony or spousal support case.