Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
|Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico||Description|
|Irreconcilable Differences||When the marriage is irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.|
|Adultery||When one spouse engages in sexual relations outside the marriage.|
|Cruel and Inhuman Treatment||When one spouse engages in physical or mental cruelty towards the other spouse, making it unsafe to continue the marriage.|
|Abandonment||When one spouse leaves the other without justification for at least one year.|
|Imprisonment||When one spouse is sentenced to imprisonment for a felony after the marriage has taken place.|
|Alcohol or Drug Abuse||When one spouse has a long-term alcohol or drug addiction that affects the marriage.|
Overview of Divorce Law in New Mexico
The following are the grounds for divorce recognized in New Mexico:
- Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
- Separation of at least one year (if both parties agree)
New Mexico is also considered a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that neither party has to prove fault or wrongdoing on behalf of the other spouse to obtain a divorce. Instead, irreconcilable differences or incompatibility can serve as sufficient reasons for granting a dissolution of marriage.
Explanation of Divorce
A divorce, also known as a dissolution of marriage, is a legal process that terminates a marital union between two individuals. In New Mexico, the process can be initiated by either party and requires filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court.
Once filed, the following steps are typically involved in obtaining a divorce:
- Service of Process: The petition must be served to the other spouse within 30 days of filing.
- Response: The other spouse has 30 days to respond after being served with the petition.
- Discovery: Both parties exchange information about assets, debts, income and expenses.
- Negotiation/Settlement: If both parties agree on all issues related to property division, child custody and support payments, they may settle outside of court.
- Trial: If negotiations fail or if there is disagreement on any issue(s), then trial will take place before a judge who will make final decisions regarding any contested matters in accordance with New Mexico law.
Overview of Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
In addition to these grounds, it’s important to note that New Mexico is also considered a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that neither party has to prove fault or wrongdoing on behalf of the other spouse in order to obtain a divorce. Instead, irreconcilable differences or incompatibility can serve as sufficient reasons for granting a dissolution of marriage.
Importance of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New Mexico
Divorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process, particularly if there are disputes over issues such as property division or child custody. Therefore, it’s important to consider hiring a divorce lawyer in New Mexico who can help guide you through the legal aspects of your case.
Some reasons why you may want to hire a divorce lawyer include:
- Legal expertise: A divorce lawyer has specialized knowledge of family law in New Mexico and can provide guidance on how to navigate the legal system.
- Negotiation skills: Your lawyer can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney on your behalf to reach an agreement on issues like property division, alimony, and child custody without having to go through trial.
- Courtroom experience: If negotiations fail, your attorney will have courtroom experience and can represent you effectively before the judge who will make final decisions regarding any contested matters.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
No-fault divorce laws were created to simplify the divorce process and remove some of the animosity often associated with traditional fault-based divorces. By allowing couples to dissolve their marriages without placing blame on either party, it is hoped that a more amicable separation can be achieved, particularly where children are involved.
In New Mexico, irreconcilable differences are one of the grounds for divorce and may be used instead of fault-based grounds such as adultery or cruelty. To obtain a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, both parties must agree that there is no chance of reconciliation and that continuing the marriage would cause more harm than good.
If one party does not agree with this assessment or if they dispute any other aspect of the divorce proceedings (such as property division or child custody), then they may contest the divorce and force it to go through trial before a judge who will ultimately decide whether to grant the dissolution of marriage based on these grounds.
Living apart is a common reason for divorce in New Mexico. If you and your spouse have been living separately, it may be grounds for divorce if certain requirements are met.
The following are the requirements that must be met:
- The separation must be voluntary;
- The parties must have lived separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for at least one year; or
- If both parties agree to the separation, they can file jointly with the court.
If you’re considering a divorce based on living apart, it’s important to understand that simply living in separate parts of the same house does not constitute being separated under New Mexico law. You need to demonstrate an intent to live separately by having separate residences and not sharing meals or other activities together.
Incompatibility is one of the grounds for divorce in New Mexico. It means that there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses that have led to the breakdown of their marriage.
When filing for divorce based on incompatibility, it’s important to note that both parties must agree that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation. If one party does not agree, then another ground for divorce will need to be established.
Incompatibility can encompass a wide range of issues, including differences in personality or lifestyle choices, financial disagreements, or differing opinions on how to raise children. While it may be difficult to prove fault or wrongdoing by either party, demonstrating that incompatibility exists and cannot be resolved can provide sufficient grounds for granting a dissolution of marriage.
Fault Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
If you plan on pursuing a fault-based divorce, it’s important to gather evidence that supports your claim. This could include things like police reports, witness statements, photographs of injuries or property damage and any medical records related to abuse. Additionally, hiring an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that you have strong legal representation throughout this process.
One of the grounds for divorce in New Mexico is adultery, which refers to voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse.
If one spouse can prove that the other engaged in adultery, it may impact property division and spousal support determinations. Specifically:
- The court may take into account any funds spent on the affair when dividing marital assets;
- The adulterous party may be awarded fewer assets or alimony payments; and
- If the innocent spouse committed adultery as well, they will not be eligible for alimony payments.
One of the grounds for divorce recognized in New Mexico is abandonment, which occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without a valid reason and without the consent of the other party. This can be an intentional act or it can occur when one spouse fails to fulfill his/her obligation to support and care for the other spouse.
In order to prove abandonment, there must be evidence that:
- The leaving spouse has been gone for a continuous period of at least one year
- The remaining spouse did not agree to or cause the departure
- The leaving was done with no intention of returning
If these requirements are met, then abandonment may serve as sufficient grounds for obtaining a dissolution of marriage in New Mexico.
Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
Some examples of cruel and inhuman treatment include:
- Physical violence, such as hitting, slapping or pushing
- Threats of harm or injury
- Verbal abuse, such as name-calling or humiliation
- Social isolation, preventing the other spouse from interacting with friends and family members
In order to obtain a divorce on these grounds, evidence must be presented to demonstrate that this type of behavior occurred. This may include eyewitness testimony, medical records documenting injuries sustained by the abused spouse and police reports.
One important consideration when filing for divorce in New Mexico is the impact of felony convictions on the process. Specifically, if one spouse has been convicted of a felony, it may affect certain aspects of property division and spousal support.
Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- If one spouse has been convicted of a felony and that conviction resulted in economic loss to the other spouse or marital community, the court may take this into account when dividing property.
- In addition, if a convicted spouse would otherwise be entitled to receive alimony or spousal support payments, their conviction may result in reduced or eliminated payments altogether.
- It’s worth noting that these factors are considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding each individual case.
Alcohol or Drug Abuse
In some cases, if one spouse’s addiction is negatively impacting the marriage, they may seek treatment as part of the divorce settlement agreement. This can involve requirements such as attending counseling sessions or rehab programs before certain visitation rights are granted.
Defenses to Divorce
In addition to these defenses, it’s important to note that New Mexico law requires both parties involved in a divorce proceeding disclose all assets and liabilities. Failure to do so could result in legal consequences such as fines or imprisonment. It’s also worth noting that New Mexico courts prioritize equitable distribution of property over equal distribution when dividing assets between spouses during a divorce proceeding.
Condonation is a legal term used in divorce law that refers to the forgiveness of one spouse for the other’s marital misconduct. In New Mexico, if one spouse has committed adultery or engaged in cruel and inhuman treatment, but the other spouse forgives them and continues to cohabitate with them after learning of the misconduct, this may be considered condonation.
If condonation is established, it can prevent the innocent spouse from using that conduct as grounds for divorce at a later date. However, if subsequent acts of misconduct occur after condonation has been established, these new acts can serve as grounds for divorce.
One of the grounds for divorce in New Mexico is connivance. Connivance occurs when one spouse knowingly allows or encourages the other spouse to engage in behavior that would be considered grounds for divorce. In this situation, the innocent party may still file for divorce on the basis of the misconduct, but they must prove that their spouse was encouraged or induced to act in a certain way.
Examples of behaviors that could constitute connivance include:
- Encouraging adultery by arranging for a spouse to meet with someone they know is interested in having an affair
- Suggesting a separation with hopes that it will lead to reconciliation and then filing for divorce based on abandonment during that time apart
- Allowing drug use or addiction to continue unchecked until it becomes a serious problem and then filing for divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment stemming from those issues
Recrimination is an affirmative defense to a divorce claim based on fault. It involves the accused spouse alleging that the other spouse has committed similar or more egregious conduct. In New Mexico, recrimination can be used as a defense against claims of adultery and cruel and inhuman treatment.
If proven, recrimination could prevent the accusing party from obtaining a divorce based on fault grounds. For example, if one spouse accuses the other of committing adultery but it is proven that both parties engaged in extramarital affairs, then neither may obtain a divorce based on adultery.
Collusion is when both parties agree to fabricate or exaggerate grounds for divorce. This can include staging adultery, cruelty or other forms of misconduct in order to speed up the process or obtain a more favorable outcome.
In New Mexico, collusion is illegal and can result in severe penalties such as fines, imprisonment or even invalidation of the divorce decree itself.
If you suspect that your spouse may be colluding with you to obtain a divorce under false pretenses, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this complex legal issue and protect your rights throughout the process.
Property Division in New Mexico Divorces
When a couple gets divorced in New Mexico, the court will divide their property and debts. The process of property division can be complex and stressful, especially if the couple has significant assets or debts.
In New Mexico, courts use an equitable distribution approach to divide marital property. This means that property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between both parties. The following factors are considered when determining how to divide assets:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial situation
- The age and health of each spouse
- Whether either party has children from a prior relationship
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of marital property (including contributions as a homemaker)
It’s important to note that only marital property is subject to division in divorce proceedings. Marital property includes any assets acquired during the course of the marriage with joint funds or efforts. Separate property, on the other hand, belongs solely to one spouse and is not subject to division in a divorce.
New Mexico is a community property state, which means that all marital assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally considered to be equally owned by both parties.
Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding community property laws in New Mexico:
- All income earned by either spouse during the marriage is considered community property.
- All debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage are also considered community property.
- If one spouse uses their separate funds to purchase an asset during the marriage, that asset may still be classified as community property if it was intended for both spouses’ use or benefit.
In order to ensure fair division of marital assets and debts, it’s important for both parties to obtain legal representation throughout the divorce process. An experienced divorce attorney can help navigate complex financial matters and work towards achieving a favorable outcome on behalf of their client.
If you are getting divorced in New Mexico, it’s important to determine what is considered separate property versus marital property. Marital property is typically subject to equitable distribution between spouses, while separate property will remain with the individual who owns it.
Factors Considered in Property Division
New Mexico law also recognizes both community property (property acquired during the marriage) and separate property (property acquired before or after the marriage). Generally speaking, community property is subject to division while separate property remains with its original owner.
Spousal Support in New Mexico Divorces
The factors that determine whether or not spousal support will be awarded and how much will be paid include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each party
- The earning capacity and financial resources of each party
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The education and training needed for the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient
If spousal support is awarded, it can either be temporary or permanent. Temporary payments are designed to provide assistance until the receiving spouse is able to become financially independent. Permanent payments continue indefinitely until there is a change in circumstances such as remarriage or death.
Types of Spousal Support
In New Mexico, there are several types of spousal support arrangements:
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This type of alimony is designed to help a lower-income spouse become self-sufficient by providing financial assistance for education or training programs. Rehabilitative alimony usually has an end date and may be reviewed periodically to ensure progress towards self-sufficiency.
- Permanent Alimony: Permanent alimony provides ongoing financial support for the lower-income spouse until their death or remarriage. It’s typically awarded in cases where the receiving party cannot achieve full independence due to age or disability.
- Lump-Sum Alimony: Lump-sum alimony involves making a single payment rather than ongoing payments. This type of spousal support is often used when there are significant assets involved in the divorce settlement and both parties want closure on any further financial obligations.
Factors Considered in Awarding Spousal Support
If a court decides that one party is entitled to spousal support, they will also determine how much should be paid and for how long. In some cases, payments may be temporary until the receiving party can become self-supporting while in others they may be permanent.
Duration and Modification of Spousal Support
If ordered, spousal support can be modified under certain circumstances such as:
- A significant change in income for either party
- A remarriage or cohabitation by the receiving spouse with another person which indicates financial security no longer requires receipt of alimony.
- An agreement reached by both parties regarding changes to the amount or duration of payments.Child Custody in New Mexico Divorces
New Mexico courts generally prefer joint legal custody where both parents share decision-making responsibilities for their children. However, this does not necessarily mean that physical custody will be shared equally. Rather, it means that both parents will have equal input into important decisions affecting their children’s lives.
Types of Custody
When a couple with children decides to divorce in New Mexico, one of the most important issues that they will have to address is child custody. There are different types of custody arrangements that can be made depending on the needs and circumstances of each family:
- Physical Custody: This refers to where the child lives and spends their time.
- Legal Custody: This pertains to decision-making authority regarding the upbringing of the child, such as educational, medical, religious or other major life decisions.
- Sole Custody: One parent has both physical and legal custody over the child.
- Joint Custody: Both parents share physical and/or legal custody responsibilities for their child.
Custody arrangements must be approved by a judge who will make decisions based on what he or she determines is in the best interests of the children involved. Parents may also work together outside of court to create a mutually agreeable parenting plan that outlines how they will share responsibility for raising their children after divorce.
Factors Considered in Awarding Custody
In New Mexico, joint custody is favored as it promotes a continued relationship between both parents and allows both parties to be involved in important decision-making processes concerning their children. However, if one parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse issues, then sole custody may be awarded to protect the well-being of the children.
The following are some key points about visitation rights in New Mexico:
- Both parents have equal rights to custody and visitation unless one is deemed unfit by the court.
- Visitation schedules can be established through agreement between both parties or decided by a judge if they cannot come to an agreement.
- If there is evidence that visiting with one parent would cause harm to the child, then supervised visits may be ordered.
- In cases where there has been domestic violence, courts may limit contact between an abusive parent and their children for safety reasons.
If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about visitation rights, it’s important to seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your interests and ensure your rights are being respected under New Mexico law.
Modification of Custody Orders
After a divorce, child custody and visitation arrangements may need to be modified due to changes in circumstances or the best interests of the children involved. In New Mexico, either parent can petition for modification of an existing custody order.
The following are some common reasons why a custody order might be modified:
- A significant change in one or both parents’ circumstances, such as relocation, remarriage, job loss or illness.
- A child’s changing needs as they grow older and require different levels of care and support from their parents.
- An issue with the current parenting plan that is causing conflict between the parents or negatively affecting the children’s well-being.
If you are seeking a modification of a custody order, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options under New Mexico law.
Child Support in New Mexico Divorces
In general, child support payments continue until a child reaches the age of majority (18 years old) or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. However, if a child has special needs or requires additional financial assistance due to college attendance or other factors beyond high school graduation age, then the court may order continued support.
Calculation of Child Support
In general, child support payments in New Mexico are calculated based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. The exact percentage depends on how many children are involved:
- 1 child: 25% of net income
- 2 children: 35% of net income
- 3 or more children: at least 40% of net income
If one parent is paying for health insurance for their child(ren), this cost can also be factored into the calculation.
Factors Considered in Awarding Child Support
New Mexico uses a formula to calculate child support payments called the “Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.” This form takes into account each parent’s gross monthly income, as well as other expenses related to raising a child. The court will then use this information to determine how much each parent should contribute towards supporting their child(ren).
Modification of Child Support Orders
The following are some common reasons why a modification of child support order might be requested:
- A significant increase or decrease in income
- A change in custody arrangements
- An increase in expenses related to the care of the children
- An adjustment of parenting time schedules
To modify an existing child support order in New Mexico, you will need to file a Motion for Modification with the court that issued your original child support order. It’s important to keep paying your current amount until any changes have been approved by a judge and you have received written confirmation from the court.
Divorce Mediation in New Mexico
It’s important to note that even though mediation can be helpful in resolving disputes related to property division, child custody and support payments, it may not always be successful in all cases. In instances where agreements cannot be reached, parties may still have to resort back to going through the court system.
Overview of Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is a process that allows couples to resolve their differences and reach an agreement outside of court. It’s a form of alternative dispute resolution that aims to avoid the time, expense, and stress associated with going through a trial.
In New Mexico, mediation is mandatory in most divorce cases before the parties can proceed to trial. The state offers free mediation services for divorcing couples who are unable to afford private mediators. During the process, both parties work with a neutral third-party mediator who helps them identify issues they disagree on and guide them toward finding solutions they both find acceptable.
- The mediator does not make decisions but rather facilitates communication between the parties.
- If an agreement is reached during mediation, it becomes legally binding once it’s submitted to the court for approval.
- If no agreement is reached or if one party decides not to participate in mediation, then the case may proceed to trial where a judge will make final decisions regarding any contested matters in accordance with New Mexico law.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
- Less adversarial: Mediation allows both parties to work together in a more cooperative manner rather than taking an adversarial approach.
- Cost-effective: Mediation is often less expensive than going through a lengthy court battle.
- Faster resolution: Since there’s no need for extensive court hearings or trials, divorces settled via mediation can be resolved much faster compared to litigated divorces that may take years before being finalized.
- More control over the outcome: Both parties have greater control over the final outcome of their case when they choose mediation instead of leaving it up to a judge’s discretion.
If you’re considering divorce in New Mexico, exploring all your options including whether or not divorce mediation may be right for you is important. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through this difficult process and assist with any questions about grounds for divorce in New Mexico or how best to proceed with your particular situation.
Divorce Mediation Process in New Mexico
Divorce mediation is a process in which a neutral third-party mediator helps the parties involved in a divorce to reach an agreement on issues related to property division, child custody and support payments. In New Mexico, mediation is often encouraged by judges as an alternative to trial because it can be less time-consuming and costly.
The following are some important things to know about divorce mediation in New Mexico:
- The mediator is not there to make decisions for the parties but rather facilitate communication and negotiation between them.
- Mediation sessions are confidential, meaning that anything discussed during the session cannot be used against either party if they end up going to court later.
- If an agreement is reached during mediation, it will be put into writing and submitted to the court for approval.
- If no agreement is reached, then the case may proceed to trial where a judge will make final decisions regarding any contested matters based on evidence presented by both sides.
In conclusion, obtaining a divorce in New Mexico can be a complex legal process. It’s important to understand the grounds for divorce that are recognized by the state and the steps involved in filing for dissolution of marriage. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout this difficult time.
It is also important to remember that every case is unique and there may be additional factors or circumstances specific to your situation. Therefore, it’s recommended that you seek legal advice if you’re considering filing for divorce in New Mexico.
Recap of Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico
If you’re considering a divorce in New Mexico, it’s important to understand your legal rights and obligations. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your interests are protected throughout the process.
Importance of Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Going through a divorce can be an emotionally and financially draining process. Hiring a skilled divorce lawyer can help ease some of the burden by providing expert legal advice and representation throughout the proceedings.
Here are some reasons why it’s important to hire a divorce lawyer:
- Knowledge of state laws: A knowledgeable lawyer will have experience in New Mexico family law, which is essential for ensuring that all aspects of your case are handled properly.
- Negotiation skills: Your attorney will work to negotiate favorable terms on your behalf, including property division, child custody arrangements and support payments.
- Litigation expertise: If trial is necessary, having an experienced litigator on your side can greatly increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome.
- Emotional support: A good divorce attorney understands that this can be a difficult time for you emotionally. They should provide empathy, guidance and support as well as legal expertise during this challenging process.
Final Thoughts on Divorce Law in New Mexico.
Ultimately, every situation is unique and requires careful consideration before making any decisions. With patience and understanding – as well as trusted guidance – navigating New Mexico’s complex divorce laws can be made much easier.
FAQ on ‘Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce in New Mexico’
What is considered abandonment?
Abandonment is when one spouse leaves the other without any justifiable reason or intent to return for a period of at least one year.
What qualifies as adultery?
Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. It must be proven that the act of adultery occurred.
What constitutes cruelty?
Cruelty can be physical or emotional abuse that endangers the life or health of the other spouse. This includes mental cruelty such as verbal abuse, intimidation, or humiliation.
Can irreconcilable differences be used as a ground for divorce?
Yes, irreconcilable differences can be used as a ground for divorce in New Mexico. This means that there are substantial reasons why the marriage cannot continue and attempts at reconciliation have failed.