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New Mexico Divorce Laws - What You Need to Know!

Getting a divorce in New Mexico means that you must follow a few rules. The legislature of the state of New Mexico has gotten involved to make getting a divorce a more uniform process. If you want to get a divorce, you must have been a resident of this state for at least six months. There are no exceptions to this rule, even if you are a member of the military.

There are two types of divorce in New Mexico, at fault and no-fault.

At-Fault Divorce

An at-fault divorce is a situation in which one of the spouses is claiming that the marriage suffered from one of the following and this provides grounds for the divorce:

  • Physical Cruelty
  • Mental Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment

Another name for an at-fault divorce is one that is contested. The two people involved are unable to reconcile their differences and must not only file for the divorce, but must appear before a judge who will decide what the penalty, if any, is to be made to the spouse who did wrong. Both sides will get a chance to present their case before the court. The judge will issue a final ruling on such topics as property division and child support and custody. The court may also decide on spousal support, but that will depend on the individual case presented. Not all divorces have spousal support automatically issued.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is one in which neither party contests the separation and they both claim irreconcilable differences. You do not need to prove any wrongdoing with this type of divorce. You must file a petition in the district court in the county in which you live and a notice to both parties will be made to give specific information about the hearing such as the date, time and place that the court will be in session. The notice will be given by certified mail, a petition server and sometimes by the sheriff of the county.

Depending on how the petition is served, the other spouse has between 23 and 33 days to respond to the notice. He or she may decide to waive rights to this waiting period and go ahead with the proceeding. This often occurs when there are no children involved. The judge may, if no meeting of the minds can be made, rule on alimony in this type of divorce based on the following factors:


  • Each person's age and medical condition
  • Each one's earning capacity
  • The length of the marriage
  • The two people's standard of living
  • Health insurance
  • Assets of each party
  • Any type of agreement that was made, such as a prenuptial agreement


Child Support


The court will also make decisions about child support at this hearing. Payments will be based on who has custody of the child and will be on a monthly basis. Documentation must be submitted by both parties such as income tax returns, pay stubs and perhaps W-2s or W-9s. A parent's ability to pay the support and the standard of living that the children are used to are taken into consideration by the judge. The court system in New Mexico tries its best to put the best interests of the child before that of the parents.

Gender is not taken into consideration at all when the court awards custody. The child may be able to address the court and let his or her wishes be known. Both parents will be involved in this process and their ability to look after and care for the child will be examined.

If you are getting a divorce, it is always a good idea to be informed.

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