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Divorce Law in New Mexico

How to Find a New Mexico Divorce Attorney

Emotions and actions can so easily get out of hand during estrangement and divorce. As a shocking example, look to the actions of New Mexico divorce lawyer, Raymond Van Arman, who helped his client defy a court order and break into his client’s estranged husband’s home, taking things.

Van Arman has been ordered to pay $5,000 restitution and spend 30 days in jail.

The lesson to be learned? Hire a divorce attorney who will help keep the peace, calm frayed nerves, work collaboratively. Do not hire a cowboy-like lawyer or shark-like attorney.

Even if an attorney doesn’t go to the extreme measures Van Arman did (and most don’t), an attorney, who instigates, will upset you, anger your spouse, cause increased conflict, push your divorce into court, and cost you emotionally and financially. Imagine what all of this does to your children.

If you are considering divorce or looking for a New Mexico divorce attorney, this article was written for you.

Immediately below, we’ll discuss what you need to know about going through divorce in New Mexico. This includes:

  • New Mexico divorce law requirements and offerings;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a New Mexico divorce attorney (and, if so, how to find and work with a qualified divorce lawyer).

New Mexico Divorce Law Specifics

  • A New Mexico court only has jurisdiction if at least one of the spouses has been a resident of New Mexico for at least 6 months and is domiciled in the state.
  • The petitioner (i.e. the spouse who files the initial divorce papers) must state that the divorce is either based upon “fault” or “no-fault” grounds.
  • The spouse who does not file the initial divorce papers is called the “respondent”.
  • Filings are made in the appropriate County District Court.
  • Property distribution will be based upon community property laws; thus, marital assets are divided 50/50 unless you and your spouse have agreed otherwise.
  • Child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in New Mexico

In this section, we’ll highlight the aspects of divorce that will help you this most.

  • Recognize that every divorce is composed of two types of separation, loss, and change. A divorce attorney can help you with your legal divorce and a therapist can help you with your emotional divorce.
  • Every divorce involves compromise; the more you and your spouse can work together, the happier you’ll be because you’ll get more of what you want at lower stress levels and with lower legal fees.
  • You can control your legal fees by following your attorney’s advice and cooperating.
  • Only a collaborative-minded attorney will get you through divorce with any kind of peace of mind.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a New Mexico Divorce Lawyer?


While you are legally permitted to represent yourself in any legal proceeding, it’s likely in your best interests to work with a New Mexico divorce attorney.

  • One mistake may cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.
  • If you give up any marital rights during divorce, you will be forever barred from asserting them in New Mexico courts.

How to Find and Select a New Mexico Divorce Attorney

If you don’t mind making your private situation somewhat public, ask family and friends for a referral. Or, you can Google “How to Find a New Mexico Divorce Attorney”.

  • Make sure that potential attorneys focus their practice on divorce law, family law, or matrimonial law.
  • Ask the attorneys on your list about their approach to and history of handling divorces. Do they emphasize collaboration? How many marital settlement agreements have they successfully negotiated?
  • How are your questions answered? Are you comfortable? What about fees, the timeline, what to expect, and communications?

How to Prepare to Work with Your New Mexico Divorce Lawyer

Answer these questions and follow this list to prepare to work with your divorce attorney:

  • Have all reconciliation attempts been exhausted?
  • Have you consulted with a therapist to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce?
  • Have you gathered financial documents showing all liabilities, income, assets, and expenses?
  • Have you made a “wish list” of everything you would like in the divorce and indicated which items are your priorities?
  • Have you drafted a list of additional questions to ask your divorce lawyer?

Most New Mexico divorce attorneys are highly ethical and will lead you calmly through the emotional waters of divorce. However, some, as per our example, fail miserably. Choose your lawyer with care.

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