Marriage is a beautiful institution, one built on mutual faith in your relationship with your partner. Unfortunately, though, marriage does not always work out as planned, and being stuck in an unhappy relationship can be an incredible strain on you, your partner, and your family.
Sometimes divorcing your spouse is the best option for everyone. Remember, you are not alone. If you have made the decision to file for divorce, you have no doubt already done some research on how to get divorced in New Mexico. This article will explain the process of getting a divorce, so that you and your partner can know what to expect, and make it through your separation as smooth as possible.
Step 1: How to Start the Divorce Process in New Mexico
Divorce in New Mexico is also referred to as “dissolution of marriage.” If you are the filing spouse, you are the “petitioner,” and your spouse is the “respondent.” To file for divorce in New Mexico, you or your spouse must have been a New Mexico resident for at least six months, and you must complete one of two forms depending on your specific situation: a “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage Without Children” or a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With Children.” The latter form is filed in the case that there is at least one child living in the same house under the age of 19 who is still in high school.
Step 2: Filing the Paperwork
After completing the appropriate petition and an information sheet, the petitioner will file the paperwork in the judicial court for your county of residency, and pay the required filing fee. You can prepare the appropriate paperwork with a divorce lawyer in New Mexico.
Step 3: How to Serve the Petition
When you submit your paperwork to the court, the court’s clerk will stamp your petition. You will then serve it to your spouse (the respondent). The petition can be served to the respondent three ways according to New Mexico divorce laws:
- Any person over the age of 18 can deliver the stamped petition to the respondent;
- The sheriff of the county of residence (or the county where your spouse works) can serve the stamped petition to the respondent;
- The respondent can be served by US Certified Mail restricted delivery, return receipt requested. You must have the return receipt for proof of delivery.
Once your spouse has been served, you will be required to file a proof of delivery card with the court. This proves the respondent actually received the filed petition. If a sheriff serves the paperwork, they will file the necessary documents with the court. If the paperwork is served by a person over the age of 18, that person must document that it was served to the respondent on a court-stamped duplicate of the petition. Once the respondent has been served, they will have 30 days to complete an appearance form and submit a written response, in which they either agree or disagree with the petitioner’s statements.
If your spouse does not respond within the 30-day time span, you can file for a default divorce. In New Mexico, a spouse cannot make you stay in a marriage. If your spouse does not accept the service or agree to the petition terms, you can file for the default divorce, or proceed with a contested divorce. A divorce lawyer in New Mexico can help you understand the differences between the two processes, and guide you through whichever you choose.
Step 4: Financial Disclosure
Divorce in New Mexico requires you and your spouse to disclose financial information within 45 days after filing the petition. Both spouses must share information regarding individual and joint assets, individual and joint debts, and all income and expenses. Some of the specific financial information includes the following items:
- Property, both separate and joint
- Tax returns
- W-2s and 1099s
- Wages and payroll statements
This information will be used to determine the financial responsibility of each spouse after the divorce, which can include child or spousal support. Any false information given on the financial disclosures can cause more financial responsibility in the long run, and have legal repercussions.
How Long Is the New Mexico Divorce Process?
This depends on the nature of the divorce, and whether it is contested or uncontested. Contested divorces may involve a variety of complex issues that prolong the process. However, if you and your spouse can work together to agree on terms quickly, the process will be much shorter. The more civilly you and your spouse resolve these terms, the shorter the process will be, and the less money you will have to pay for your divorce.
What If My Spouse Will Not Cooperate?
As stated above, your spouse cannot legally hold you in a marriage in the state of New Mexico. There are five grounds for divorce recognized in New Mexico divorce laws:
The most common of the five grounds for divorce is incompatibility, which is also called “no-fault divorce.” If one spouse claims there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage, that is enough to file for divorce. If your spouse does not agree with the terms detailed in the initial petition, the divorce is contested.
Contact Our Expert Divorce Attorney Today
Our experience team will be with you every step of the process. Contact our office today, and let us help make your divorce as amicable as possible.