Divorce FAQs & Important Answers

An impending divorce can give way to uncertainty and distress. Understanding to what expect as you move forward, however, can be helpful to staying calm and taking the right steps as you proceed.

Given that divorce can raise a lot of questions and concerns, here are some insightful answers to common questions about divorce in New Mexico. When you are ready for answers and advice specific to your situation and needs, contact an Albuquerque divorce lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC.

Answers about Divorce in New Mexico

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WHAT ARE GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN NEW MEXICO?

New Mexico law allows divorce on the grounds of:

  • No fault – In a no-fault divorce case, the only the ground for divorce is incompatibility or irreconcilable differences.
  • Fault – Less commonly invoked in New Mexico divorce, fault-based grounds can include cruelty, abandonment and infidelity.

ARE THERE ANY RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS?

You or your ex must have lived in New Mexico for at least six months in order to be eligible to file for divorce in New Mexico. If the residency requirement is not met because you and/or your partner have lived in New Mexico for less than six months, you can:

  • File for a legal separation in the interim – There are no residency requirements for legal separations in New Mexico. With a legal separation, you can separate your financial and legal affairs from your ex while you wait for the residency requirement to be fulfilled. Once it has been met, you can convert the legal separation into a divorce.
  • Wait until the residency requirement has been met and then file your divorce petition – During this waiting period, it can be helpful to take some divorce planning steps, such as:
    • Setting up a checking account, savings account and line of credit in your name only
    • Closing joint lines of credit
    • Gathering documents related to the joint assets and debts – Some examples include mortgage statements, tax returns, deeds/titles and credit card statements.
    • Setting up a P.O. box where you can securely receive mail.

IS NEW MEXICO A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE?

Yes, New Mexico is a community property state. That means that, in general:

  • The property acquired during the marriage is considered to be community property. This can include both assets and debts. Gambling debts and individual inheritances acquired in the marriage are a few exceptions to the rule, meaning that these are typically considered to remain separate property even if they are acquired during the marriage.
  • The community property can be divided up equally between the divorcing parties.

Issues with the division of community property tend to arise when, for example:

  • Separate property is commingled with community property, making it unclear precisely what does and does not constitute the community property.
  • Some of the community property has allegedly been hidden.
  • There are questions about the validity of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement.
  • A divorce involves complex, high-value community property, such as multiple real estate holdings, business interests, etc.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FINALIZE DIVORCE?

The span of a divorce case wil