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New Mexico Legal Separation
Legal Separation in New Mexico

In New Mexico, a legal separation is not a partial divorce or preliminary of divorce. Legally separated spouses who divorce go through the same routine they do to legally separate. Spouses permanently living apart can obtain a legal separation from a court, but simply living apart is not a legal separation, no matter how long it lasts.

A legal separation is not a divorce, therefore, a person legally separated is still married, and he or she cannot remarry. In a divorce, a court makes the spouses single again, and it approves the division of assets and liabilities, decides custody and visitation and child and spousal support. A legal separation does all of those things except make a married couple into single people.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, which is intended to resolve property, debt and child related issues. This can be a very complex and detailed document depending upon the unique situation of the marriage. Many spouses consult an attorney to provide this or they decide to prepare their own.


If the spouses have separated and do not live together or cohabit, either one may petition the court for property division, child custody, support, and maintenance


The grounds for a legal separation in New Mexico are a permanent physical separation of the spouses.


For a legal separation, there is no residency requirement. If children are involved, they must live in New Mexico for at least six months before the court has jurisdiction to decide custody, visitation, and child support. There is no time requirement before a person can file for a legal separation.

Initial Procedure

The separation papers must be served on the respondent.

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