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New Mexico Divorce Laws

The following New Mexico divorce laws are unique to those people who wish to terminate their marriage.

We are providing the important divorce laws in New Mexico online as an easy reference guide to help you while you are completing your divorce.

Residency Requirements: In order to file for a Dissolution of Marriage in New Mexico, you or your spouse must meet the strict residency requirements. These requirements permit the court to have jurisdiction of your case, resulting in allowing you to use their judicial system. These requirements are only a concern for spouses who have recently relocated or plan to relocate in the near future. They are as follows:

The district court has jurisdiction to decree a dissolution of marriage when at the time of filing the petition either party has resided in this state for at least six months immediately preceding the date of the filing and has a domicile in New Mexico. The petition is to be filed in the county in which either spouse reside.

Persons serving in any military branch of the United States Government who have been continuously stationed in any military base or installation in New Mexico for such period of six months shall, for the purposes hereof, be deemed to have a domicile of the state and county where such military base or installation is located. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-4-5)

No-Fault Grounds: Most uncontested Dissolution of Marriage cases are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. We are using the term "no-fault" in a generic fashion by labeling all grounds that do not actually declare a "fault" as "no-fault". In the state of New Mexico the "no-fault" grounds are as follows:

1. incompatibility. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-4-1, 40-4-2)

Filing Party Name: The Petitioner. This is the spouse who is recognized as the initiator of the Dissolution of Marriage and is the one who actually files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the county court.

Non-Filing Party Name: The Respondent. This spouse plays a lesser role in an uncontested Dissolution of Marriage versus a contested Dissolution of Marriage. He or she will be required to sign and/or respond in a timely fashion to the documents filed by his or her spouse.

Family Law or Domestic Relations Court: State of New Mexico, In the District Court, __________ County. All Dissolution of Marriage cases in the state of New Mexico are facilitated through this court for that particular county.

Clerk's Name: All correspondence with a New Mexico clerk of the court should formally address him or her as follows: District Clerk's Office.

Property and Debt Division: New Mexico is considered a "community property" state. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on how the community property will be divided, the court shall use a three step process. First, it will determine what property is community. Second, it will put a value on the community property. Third, it will divide the community property in an equal fashion.

Separate property can be classified or defined as follows: (A) property acquired by either spouse before marriage or after entry of a decree of dissolution of marriage; (B) property acquired after entry of a decree; (C) property designated as separate property by a judgment or decree of any court having jurisdiction; (D) property acquired by either spouse by gift, bequest, devise or descent; and (E) property designated as separate property by a written agreement between the spouses, including a deed or other written agreement concerning property held by the spouses as joint tenants or tenants in common in which the property is designated as separate property.

The "community property" acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage, which is not separate property, is divisible upon the termination of the marriage. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-3-8, 40-4-7)

Changing Name: Any resident of this state over the age of fourteen years may, upon petition to the district court of the district in which the petitioner resides and upon filing the notice required with proof of publication, if no sufficient cause is shown to the contrary, have his name changed or established by order of the court. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-8-1)

Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony: Determining the amount of spousal support, if any, is not as objective as determining child support. Spousal support, whether permanent or temporary, is typically decided on a case-by-case basis, because it is very likely that unique circumstances and factors regarding the marriage and the property award will play a significant role in allowing the court to arrive at the appropriate amount.

If the parties have not come to an agreement regarding the spousal support, on final hearing, the court may do the following: (1) may allow either party such a reasonable portion of the spouse's property or such a reasonable sum of money to be paid by either spouse either in a single sum or in installments, as spousal support as under the circumstances of the case may seem just and proper, including a court award of: (a) rehabilitative spousal support ; temporary spousal support; or permanent spouse support.

When making determinations concerning spousal support to be awarded, the court shall consider: (1) the age and health of and the means of support for the respective spouses; (2) the current and future earnings and the earning capacity of the respective spouses; (3) the good-faith efforts of the respective spouses to maintain employment or to become self-supporting; (4) the reasonable needs of the respective spouses, including: (a) the standard of living of the respective spouses during the term of the marriage; (b) the maintenance of medical insurance for the respective spouses; and (c) the appropriateness of life insurance, including its availability and cost, insuring the life of the person who is to pay support to secure the payments, with any life insurance proceeds paid on the death of the paying spouse to be in lieu of further support; (5) the duration of the marriage; (6) the amount of the property awarded or confirmed to the respective spouses; (7) the type and nature of the respective spouses' assets; provided that potential proceeds from the sale of property by either spouse shall not be considered by the court, unless required by exceptional circumstances and the need to be fair to the parties; (8) the type and nature of the respective spouses' liabilities; (9) income produced by property owned by the respective spouses; and (10) agreements entered into by the spouses in contemplation of the dissolution of marriage or legal separation. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-4-7)

Determining Child Support: The basis for determining a monthly support amount is best achieved by referring to the New Mexico child support worksheet. The worksheet utilizes the child support guidelines that are defined by state law. The court will use this same worksheet as a building block for determining the support obligation, that is if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on this issue.

Every decree or judgment of child support that deviates from the guideline amount shall contain a statement of the reasons for the deviation.

The purposes of the child support guidelines are to: (1) establish as state policy an adequate standard of support for children, subject to the ability of parents to pay; (2) make awards more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of persons in similar circumstances; and (3) improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing levels of awards.

The child support may also include: (1) any extraordinary medical, dental and counseling expenses incurred on behalf of the children of the parties. Such extraordinary expenses are uninsured expenses in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) per child per year; (2) any extraordinary educational expenses for children of the parties; and (3) transportation and communication expenses necessary for long distance visitation or time sharing. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 27-2-27, 40-4-7, 40-4-11)

Custody and Visitation: Shared or joint child custody has become more and more popular with the New Mexico courts. If you and your spouse request to have joint or shared "legal" custody, it will almost always be granted. As for joint or shared "physical" custody, the court will examine this a bit more closely to determine if it is a realistic choice that would result in an arrangement that is best for the children.

The court will determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including, but not limited to: (1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody; (2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian; (3) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest; (4) the child's adjustment to his home, school and community; and (5) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

If the minor is fourteen years of age or older, the court shall consider the desires of the minor as to with whom he wishes to live before awarding custody of such minor. (New Mexico Statutes - Article 4 - Sections: 40-4-9, 40-4-9.1)

Copyright Notice: These New Mexico divorce laws above are copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC. This abbreviated and revised version of the state laws has been compiled from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction in any fashion is prohibited. Violation of this copyright notice may result in immediate legal action.

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