Albuquerque Divorce Lawyers
The end of a marriage can be a confusing and distressing time. Knowing your options and what to expect, however, can be important to easing anxieties and taking the right steps to protect your interests and your children as you proceed.
Revealing more about divorce in New Mexico, the following explains how to start a divorce case and how the process advances after the initial divorce petition has been filed.
As soon as you are ready for advice specific to your situation and needs, simply contact an experienced Albuquerque divorce lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC. We can help you protect your rights and interests in any type of divorce case, positioning your case for the best possible resolution.
Call (575) 708-9000 or Email Us
for Insightful Answers about Your Divorce Options & Case
We are ready to help you get through the conflict so you can get a fresh start and focus on your new beginning.
How to Start the Divorce Process in New Mexico: Filing for Divorce
When you are ready to officially initiate a divorce case in New Mexico, here’s what needs to be done:
- Complete the court paperwork – Family courts usually provide “Divorce Packets,” which include a set of forms where you will detail your circumstances and how you want the issues of your divorce to be resolved. The Third Judicial District Court, which handles divorce cases in Albuquerque (as well as throughout Doña Ana County), provides downloadable divorce forms (here). Please note that different forms are required for cases that do versus do not involve children.
- Pay the court filing fees – Once the necessary court forms have been completed, they need to be filed with the Court, along with the required filing fees. As of 2017, filing fees for a divorce case in Doña Ana County start at $137.00; a current copy of the court fee schedule is available here.
- Serve the other spouse with a copy of the court filings – After a divorce petition has been filed with and accepted by the Court, it will then be your responsibility to serve a copy of the filing to your spouse (or ex-spouse), who is referred to as the “respondent.” Service must be performed by someone other than yourself who is at least 18 years old. Once service has been completed, another form will need to be filed with the Court to verify completion of service.
An Overview of the New Mexico Divorce Process
Following service of divorce papers, the next steps in the case will depend on whether:
- The other spouse “answers” the divorce petition – The respondent will have 30 days to file a response with the court. If (s)he fails to file a response within this period of time, you may be able to request a default divorce. In this situation, the Court will usually issue a final divorce decree that aligns with what you have requested in the initial petition.
- The other spouse agrees or disagrees with the terms you have put forth in the initial petition – If the respondent files an answer to the divorce petition and does not dispute anything you have stated or requested in the initial petition, you and the respondent can draft a Marital Settlement Agreement, detailing the terms of the divorce. The court will usually review and approve these when there are no disputes.
If, however, the response indicates even just one disagreement with the terms or requests in the initial divorce petition, the case will generally move forward as follows:
- Each side conducts “discovery” for the case. This evidence-gathering process can include exchanging documents, conducting depositions, issuing subpoenas, etc.
- The court can order the parties to try mediation.
- If mediation fails, the case will be set for trial, during which each side will have an opportunity to present his/her arguments and evidence.
- After both sides have finished presenting their cases, the judge will issue a final ruling on the disputed issues. This ruling will be entered as a final divorce decree.
Contact a Albuquerque Divorce Lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC
For more information about your divorce case and how to proceed, contact a Albuquerque divorce lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC. Call (575) 708-9000 or email our firm.
Compassionate, responsive and skilled, our attorneys are ready to discuss your needs and concerns and explain your options for proceeding. Backed by 40 years of family law experience, we have the knowledge and insight you can count on for effective representation at every phase of your case.
From offices based in Albuquerque, we provide superior counsel and representation to clients throughout New Mexico. Our attorneys are also licensed to practice in Texas and Michigan.