Division of Property: How Assets & Liabilities Are Divided in New Mexico Divorce
Dividing marital property is a central part of divorce in New Mexico. If divorcing spouses can agree on how to divide their marital property, the family court1 will usually uphold the agreement, formalizing it as part of the final divorce decree.
When spouses disagree on how to divide their marital property, the court will get involved and make a final ruling to resolve the dispute.
At Sutherland Law Firm, LLC, our Albuquerque divorce attorneys have extensive experience protecting clients’ interests when it’s time to divide the marital property in a divorce. Skilled, insightful, and diligent, our lawyers can help you successfully navigate the complex process of dividing property in a divorce, effectively advocating and advancing your interests throughout the process.
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WHAT IS MARITAL PROPERTY VS. SEPARATE PROPERTY?
Marital property – or community property – is any property either spouse acquired during the marriage, from the date of the marriage through the date of separation. This includes both assets and debts/liabilities, as well as property in and outside of New Mexico.
Separate property is any property either spouse acquired before the marriage or after the date of separation. Separate property can also include any property that:
- A court has specifically designated as separate.
- A spouse acquired as a gift or inheritance, regardless of whether this was during the course of the marriage.
- A valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement has specified as remaining separate property.
HOW THE FAMILY COURT DIVIDES COMMUNITY PROPERTY IN DIVORCE
When the court steps in to resolve disputes regarding the division of community property, it will:
- Determine what constitutes the marital property versus the separate property – This can be complicated when marital assets are allegedly hidden when there are disputes regarding the validity of a prenuptial agreement and/or when separate property has been commingled with community property.
- Classify the marital assets versus the marital liabilities – While assets can include items like homes, vehicles, savings accounts, and business interests, liabilities may include joint credit card debt, mortgage debt, and tax debt.
- Determine the value of the assets and debts – This can require gathering paperwork like deeds and titles, bank statements, tax returns, credit card statements, and loan statements. It can also involve getting the property appraised.
- Distribute the assets and debts equally – New Mexico is a community property state. This means that the court will figure out how to split the marital property 50-50 between the divorcing spouses, regardless of whether one spouse’s transgressions or wrongdoing contributed to the end of the marriage.