Trusted Divorce Counsel in Las Cruces
If you are looking to obtain a divorce in the state of New Mexico, there are certain steps of the process that you will need to undertake. Although divorce is defined as the legal method used to separate two married people, the entire process is much more complicated. This is because everything you have ever owned with your spouse needs to be properly divided, including your assets and debts. If you have children together, then your case also becomes infinitely more complicated, since you will need to also consider what to do about child support and child custody.
If this process sounds exhausting or stressful to you, do not worry. Even though divorce is complex, you can have our knowledgeable attorney in Las Cruces by your side. Trust Advanced Legal Resolutions, LLC to give you the real solutions you need.
Call us today at 575-647-8802 to find the detailed answers you need regarding all your questions about divorce.
Requirements for Divorce in New Mexico
While everyone would hope for a smooth divorce process, there are certain issues that separating couples have to deal with, such as division of property and debts, or child support and custody, which can potentially make the process more challenging. What will speed up the process, however, is making sure that you have all the correct requirements taken care of before you file.
Some of the law's requirements for filing for divorce within New Mexico include:
- Your spouse or you need to have been a resident of New Mexico for at least six months
- Your petition is required to be filed either in your own district county court or in the district county court of your spouse
- You may not personally serve your divorce papers to your spouse. This must be done by someone over the age of 18 and does not have anything to gain from the outcome of the case. People often utilize the services of a local sheriff or a licensed process server.
- You and your spouse must disclose all finances no later than 45 days after the petitioner has filed for divorce. These finances include assets & debts (both individual and joint), income, investments, and expenses.
- Under oath, you and your spouse must declare that your relationship is no longer compatible
- You must pay a fee (except, in rare scenarios, you have been approved a free process by the judge)
- You must wait for the divorce to be finalized by the judge with their signature of the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
Remember that a spouse still has 30 days to respond with their own beliefs about the divorce suit. If they don't respond in time, your petition is automatically granted, unless your spouse can provide a verifiable reason for delay, such as a medical emergency.
Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
In the state of New Mexico, there are a total of four grounds for divorce. Of the four, the broadest category of “general incompatibility” is the most common, and also the only type of “no-fault” divorce. However, there are a few cases where someone can claim a “fault” divorce.
These three causes for “fault” divorce include:
- Cruel or inhumane treatment
If you believe that one of these categories applies to you, it is important to let your attorney know right away. Matters like custody, child support, alimony, and even property division can be altered in your favor if it can be proven that your spouse caused you suffering and pain throughout the marriage so that it ended in divorce, depending on the circumstance.
Is New Mexico a 50/50 Divorce State?
Community property law applies in New Mexico, which ensures that assets and properties obtained throughout a marriage are equally shared both by the spouses, despite who bought it or whose name is on the title. The majority of the time, community land is split 50/50 between the partners. When deciding the fair division of such properties, the judge can consider other factors.
While the divorce process can seem simple at first, it almost always ends up becoming more complicated as different circumstances come to light. You will need to find a skilled attorney in Las Cruces who is not only extremely familiar with New Mexico family law, but can fight your case with both empathy for your side and aggression against the opposing side.
New Mexico Divorce FAQ
Whether your divorce is contentious or not, whether you have children or not, whether you have a lot of assets or not, whether just about anything, there is one common theme among all divorce: it is emotionally taxing. Under those circumstances, it can be easy to overlook an important matter or compromise to your detriment. A divorce lawyer in New Mexico will ensure nothing is missing and that the divorce is fair and considers your rights and interests.
At Advanced Legal Resolutions, our divorce lawyer in Las Cruces helps clients understand what's at stake. Some of the most common questions asked are answered here for you. We know that informed clients make better decisions for themselves and their families. If you want specific answers that relate to your unique situation, contact us online or at Phone Number to schedule a Consultation Type.
What are the New Mexico Divorce Laws?
Residency Requirements: To file for divorce in New Mexico, at least one spouse must be a state resident or stationed in New Mexico while serving in the armed forces.
Grounds for Divorce: New Mexico is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you don't need to prove that either spouse did something wrong to cause the divorce. Common grounds include incompatibility and the inability to reconcile differences.
Property Division: New Mexico follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means marital property is divided fairly but not equally between spouses. The court considers various factors when determining the division of assets and debts.
Child Custody: Child custody decisions are made with the child's best interests in mind. New Mexico courts encourage joint custody arrangements when appropriate. Factors like the child's age, the child's relationship with each parent, and each parent's ability to provide a stable environment are considered.
Child Support: Child support calculations are based on guidelines outlined in state law. The court considers factors such as each parent's income, the child's needs, and the time the child spends with each parent.
Spousal Support (Alimony): New Mexico courts may award spousal support (alimony) if one spouse needs financial assistance and the other can pay. The court considers factors like the duration of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation.
Filing Process: Divorce proceedings typically begin by petitioning the court. New Mexico has a waiting period before the divorce can be finalized, which varies depending on the circumstances.
Please consult a legal professional for any updates or changes in New Mexico divorce laws.
What are the grounds for divorce in New Mexico?
There are two types of grounds a person can file for divorce in New Mexico - No-Fault and Fault-Based.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
Neither spouse must prove that the other did something wrong to cause the divorce.
An example of this reasoning is Incompatibility, the most common no-fault ground for divorce in New Mexico. It allows couples to divorce without assigning blame to either party. Incompatibility means that the spouses have grown apart, and there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce
In a fault-based divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse's actions or behavior are responsible for the marriage breakdown. Examples include:
Cruel and Inhuman Treatment: This ground can be used if one spouse has subjected the other to cruel treatment, making it unsafe or intolerable for them to continue living together. It typically involves proving specific acts of cruelty.
Adultery: If one spouse can prove that the other spouse engaged in extramarital affairs, adultery can be used as a fault-based ground for divorce.
Abandonment: Abandonment can be used as grounds for divorce if one spouse has left the other for at least one year or more without any intention to return.
Felony Conviction: If one spouse has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a felony and the sentence is for one year or more, this can be a ground for divorce.
More about Divorce in New Mexico
How long will it take to get divorced in New Mexico?
The timeline for New Mexico's divorce process can vary based on several factors. Steps for going through the process can include:
Filing the Petition: The divorce process typically begins with one spouse filing a divorce petition with the court. After filing, you will undergo a mandatory waiting period of 30 to 90 days.
Serving the Spouse: Once the divorce papers are filed, the other spouse must be served with the divorce documents. This can take a few weeks.
Response and Negotiation: After being served, the responding spouse has a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, to respond to the petition. The negotiation and settlement process can vary in duration, which depends on the complexity of the issues involved and the willingness of both parties to reach an agreement.
Court Hearings: Court hearings may be necessary if the spouses cannot settle independently. Scheduling these hearings can take some time due to court availability, and the hearings may be spaced out.
Finalization: The court will issue a divorce decree once all issues are resolved. The time it takes for the court to finalize the divorce can vary but is typically a few weeks to a few months after the final hearing.
On average, an uncontested divorce in New Mexico, where the spouses agree on all issues, can take around 3 to 6 months from filing to finalization. However, contested divorces with disputes over property, child custody, or support can take considerably longer, often extending to a year or more.
More about Divorce in New Mexico
How do I start my divorce in Las Cruces?
Step 1: Meet Residency Requirements
- Before filing for divorce in Las Cruces or anywhere in New Mexico, you or your spouse must meet the state's residency requirements. Generally, one of you must have been a resident of New Mexico for at least six months before filing.
Step 2: Prepare the Necessary Documents
- Gather the required divorce documents. These typically include a "Petition for Divorce" or "Complaint for Divorce" form and any additional forms that may be required for your situation. You can obtain these forms from the District Court Clerk's office or the New Mexico Courts website.
Step 3: Complete the Forms
- Fill out the divorce forms accurately and completely. Ensure that all necessary information, such as your details, grounds for divorce, and any child-related issues, is included.
Step 4: File the Documents
- Take the completed forms to the District Court Clerk's office in Las Cruces. You'll need to pay a filing fee, which varies by county but is typically a few hundred dollars. If you cannot afford the fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver based on your income.
Step 5: Serve the Other Spouse
- After filing, you must officially notify your spouse about the divorce by serving them with copies of the divorce papers. This can be done through certified mail or by hiring a process server. Ensure that you follow the legal service requirements carefully.
Step 6: Wait for a Response
- After being served, your spouse has a specific time frame (usually 30 days) to respond to the divorce papers. If they agree to the divorce and its terms, the process can proceed more smoothly. If not, it may become a contested divorce, which can take longer.
Please note that this is a general overview of the divorce process in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and individual cases may vary.
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How much does it cost to file for divorce in New Mexico?
The cost of filing fees for your New Mexico divorce attorney will depend on the attorney you hire. Typically, this can cost anywhere between $137 to $212. The cost of litigation can vary greatly, a consultation will help an attorney understand how complex your situation is and give you an estimate.
More about the cost of Divorce in New Mexico
How much will my divorce in New Mexico cost?
The cost of processing your divorce in New Mexico will depend on the services you will need from your attorney. These services can include:
- Service of Process: If you must have your spouse served with divorce papers, there may be additional fees for certified mail or process servers.
- Attorney Fees: If you choose to hire an attorney to assist with your divorce, their fees will vary depending on their experience and the complexity of your case.
- Mediation or Counseling: There may be associated fees if the court requires mediation or counseling for child custody or other issues.
- Court Reporting: This can incur extra costs if you need a court reporter for depositions or hearings
- Expert Witnesses: If your case requires expert testimony, there will be fees associated with expert witnesses.
- Copying and Document Fees: Costs related to copying and certifying documents for the court.
Unfortunately, we cannot give you a direct estimate as each divorce case will require different services.
More about the cost of Divorce in New Mexico
What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
You can still file for divorce even if your spouse does not want the divorce. Some states require a period of separation, which could be metaphorically or physically, and others do not. Regardless of any separation requirement, all states allow no-fault divorces. No fault means the marriage has irretrievably broken down or the spouses have irreconcilable differences.
More about Contested Divorce in New Mexico
Can I sue for divorce in New Mexico on the grounds of adultery?
Now that all states allow no-fault divorces, you do not have to have a ground for divorce except in rare cases. For example, if you entered a covenant marriage, you may be required to provide a ground for divorce, like adultery. Further, you may want to file a fault-based divorce if your spouse cheated on you and, during the affair, they wasted marital property (e.g., cash) on it. In this situation, a judge would compensate for the waste via asset distribution to the spouse who did not cheat.
More about Adultery Divorce in New Mexico
How is New Mexico alimony determined?
Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is determined on a case-by-case basis. Most states consider the spouses' present earning ability and future earning opportunities. If one spouse depended on the other spouse through the marriage, that factor will weigh heavily on any court's decision on alimony. You can visit http://www.nmcourts.gov/newface//alimony/alimony.html for more information.
More about Alimony in NM Divorce
How are assets and debt divided in New Mexico?
Assets and debt are divided according to your state's approach to property division. There are two approaches: community property and equitable distribution. In the first approach, property and debts are divided equally. In the second approach, a 50/50 isn't necessarily––what matters is what's fair.
More about Asset Division in NM Divorce
My spouse is abusive. How do I protect myself during the divorce?
Spouses who have abusive spouses are in the most danger when they seek divorce. You should protect yourself by getting as much help and support as possible. You can file a restraining order, which varies from state to state. You should also consider state and local programs aimed at helping survivors of domestic abuse. You also want to build a support network using friends and family and a supportive family law attorney.
More about NM Domestic Violence
What is mediation in a New Mexico divorce?
Mediation in a New Mexico divorce is a voluntary process in which both spouses work with a neutral third party, known as a mediator, to resolve issues related to their divorce. The mediator helps facilitate communication and negotiation between the spouses to reach agreements on matters such as child custody, property division, and alimony. Mediation is often encouraged as an alternative to litigation and can lead to more amicable and cost-effective divorce resolutions.
More about NM Divorce Mediation
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in New Mexico Today
If you are thinking of a divorce or have been served divorce papers, contact Advanced Legal Resolutions either by using the online contact form or calling us at 575-647-8802. We will schedule a Consultation so that you can get your most immediate questions answered more specifically.