Overview of Divorce in New Mexico

Before getting too far along in thought about a divorce, it is essential to know and understand the legalities of the state in which you want a divorce.  New Mexico has some specific criteria which divorcing couples must meet in order to go through the divorce process.

New Mexico Divorce Residency Requirements

First of all, couples filing for divorce in New Mexico must fit the residency requirements.  At the time of filing, at least one member of the couple must have been a resident of the state for at least six months.  Additionally, at least one member of the couple must have a home of some type in the state.  Divorce needs to be filed in the county in which at least one spouse lives.  If these conditions are not met, the divorce case will not be heard.

Grounds for Divorce

Divorce in New Mexico will only be granted under one of the following four grounds:

  • Incompatibility
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment

The spouse who has filed for divorce must be able to prove the grounds.  Or, both parties involved in the divorce may agree upon the appropriate grounds—in this case, both need to substantiate the grounds to the judge.

Property Division During Divorce

In New Mexico, one of two property division processes may be followed:

  • Property division may be decided by the divorcing couple.  They both sign a Marital Settlement Agreement indicating that they agree with how the property split has been settled.
  • Property division may be decided by the judge.  In this case, it is decreed by the court.

Because New Mexico is a ‘community property’ state, any property that was obtained by either member of the couple from the date of the marriage until the marital ending date is considered to belong to both spouses.  Therefore, if a couple is unable to agree on property division, the court will likely divide the property evenly between the two spouses (with some exceptions).

Premarital Agreements and Divorce

If a divorcing couple signed a premarital agreement, they may not have to deal with the issue of property division.  Many premarital agreements have sections in which the division of property is addressed.

For an agreement to be valid, it must be in writing as well as signed and acknowledged by both parties.  It will not be enforceable if either party can prove that the premarital agreement was signed involuntarily.

Consulting with a divorce attorney near you is the best way to begin the process, and get it done quickly and correctly.