FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What if my spouse doesn't want a divorce?

New Mexico is a no-fault divorce state.  This means that you do not have to prove a cause or reason for a divorce.  While couples can have disputes over many things, like child custody and property division, whether or not you are "allowed" to divorce isn't a question.

What can I take from the house if I move out?

If property division is still in dispute, you can take items, but should be aware their value will either be subtracted from your final property share, or may have to be given back should the court decide certain items should go to your spouse. Do not sell property.  We would also advise that you make a list of and taken photos of any property you remove.  You want to be sure to avoid conflict over taking these items.

Can my spouse keep my stuff until everything is settled?

No, he or she cannot. You should be able to remove your personal effects without a problem.  This isn't always the case and if you are concerned you should bring a friend or family member to assist you.  If your spouse is particularly hostile you can contact the police or sheriff's department to assist you. 

What should I do if my spouse just leaves and doesn't contact me again?

Make an appointment for an initial consultation immediately. We will explain all of your options and what you are entitled to. In brief, the issues are custody, child support, spousal support/alimony, and division of marital assets and debts.  If we are unable to find your spouse we may move for a default divorce.

What's the best way to divorce if we don't want to involve lawyers?

You should always involve a lawyer.  This doesn't mean you want to litigate your divorce and have two lawyers fight it out.  Divorce is a legal proceeding and you should always consult someone with legal knowledge.  Review our Divorce and Separation page to find more information on engaging legal services without starting a battle.

Can my spouse divorce me without my knowledge?

No.  If your spouse knows how to locate and contact you, he or she should make every effort to do so to make sure you can participate in the process.  If the court enters a default based on the information provided from your spouse that he/she made their best efforts to notify you, and that clearly turns out to be false, the default order can and likely will be lifted, and your spouse may face penalties for his/her deception.

Is a default divorce valid in all states?

The divorce is valid. You're all set as long as it was done properly and your best attempt was made to locate and notify your spouse (even if you were unable to).

Am I entitled to alimony?

There is no straight formula to make this decision.  The court takes into account a number of factors like age, education, length of the marriage disability and ability to pay.

How much will child support be?

Child support is calculated based on the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines.  The guidelines take into account the number of children, income of the parties, amount of time each party spend with the children and expenses for the children.  This is a formula that calculates the amounts paid to and received by the parties.  You and the other parent can request the court deviate from the guideline amount.