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New Mexico Divorce Process
Preparing the Divorce Papers
To begin the divorce process, the petitioner completes one of two forms: a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage Without Children, or a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With Children (when the children are under 19 and still in high school).
Filing the Paperwork with the Court
Once the petition and an Information Sheet are completed, the petitioner files these papers in the judicial district court for his or her county.
At the time of filing, the petitioner either pays a filing fee (in cash or money order), or requests a fee waiver when he or she cannot afford the fee.
When filing, the petitioner should bring multiple copies of all documents of the divorce paperwork. The court clerk stamps the copies, one of which is then served on the other spouse.
Serving the Documents
Service of process assures that the other spouse receives a copy of the divorce petition in an approved manner.
Under New Mexico law, the respondent spouse may be served by any of the following methods:
After the respondent has been served, the petitioner should file the proof of service with the court. For example, if the respondent signed the green proof of delivery card, and it was returned to the petitioner, that green card should be given to, or mailed to, the court clerk’s office as proof that the respondent actually received a copy of the divorce petition.
Disclosing Financial Information
The spouses must exchange certain financial information no later than 45 days after the filing. One of the financial disclosure forms, called the “Notice of Compliance with Rule 4-123 NMRA,” lists all of the other financial forms that must be exchanged. The mandatory financial disclosure requires both spouses to produce information about: individual and marital assets and individual and marital debts; income, such as income from wages, self-employment, and passive investments, and expenses.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
The respondent spouse should complete an appearance form and a written response to the divorce petition within 30 days of service of the petition. In the response, the respondent can either agree or disagree with what the petitioner has stated in the divorce petition. The respondent delivers the original response to the court and sends a copy to the petitioner.
Finalizing the Divorce
There is no waiting period in New Mexico.
If child custody is contested, the New Mexico court may appoint a guardian ad litem to appear for the minor children. The court shall also refer the case to mediation if feasible unless a party asserts, or it appears to the court, that domestic violence or child abuse has occurred.
Established in 1996
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