New Mexico Dissolution of Marriage Law

Divorce – State Law Summary – New Mexico

Notes: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive summary of the laws of dissolution of marriage in New Mexico, but does contain basic and other provisions.

A judgement of dissolution of marriage may be granted in the State of New Mexico on the following grounds:
1. Cruel and inhuman treatment;
2. Adultery;
3. Abandonment;
4. Incompatibility due to discord or conflict of personalities such that the legitimate ends of the marital relationship are destroyed preventing any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. 40-4-1

Residency Requirements
At least one of the parties to the dissolution of marriage action must have been a resident of the State of New Mexico for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for divorce and must have a domicile in New Mexico.  40-4-5

Name of court and title of action/parties
An action for dissolution of marriage is filed in the District Court.  The title of the action initiating the dissolution proceeding is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, while the title of the action granting the dissolution is referred to as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Where to File- Venue
The petition for dissolution of marriage may be filed in the county where either party resides.  40-4-4

Legal separation
Whenever the husband and wife have permanently separated and no longer live or cohabit together as husband and wife, either may institute proceedings in the district court for a division of property, disposition of children or alimony, without asking for or obtaining in the proceedings, a dissolution of marriage. 40-4-3.

Property Division
Upon granting a decree of dissolution of marriage, the court in New Mexico will set aside to each spouse that party’s separate property and distribute the community and quasi community property among the parties and the court deems equitable and just.  40-4-7

Either party to a dissolution action in New Mexico may be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse as the court deems just and proper, after consideration of the following factors:
1. The age, health  and means of support of the parties;
2. The current and future earnings and earning capacities of the parties;
3. The good faith efforts of the parties to maintain employment or become self-supporting;
4. The reasonable needs of the parties;
5. The duration of the marriage;
6. The amount of property awarded to the respective parties;
7. The type and nature of the parties respective assets and liabilities;
8. Income produced by property owned by the parties;
9. Any marital agreements entered into by the parties.  40-4-7

The parties to a divorce action may stipulate to binding arbitration, and mediation may be ordered by the court in cases involving contested custody issues.  40-4-7.2, 40-4-8

Child custody
The court will decide the issue of custody of minor children according to the best interests of the child.  Factors the court will consider in determining the child’s best interests include:
1. The wishes of the child and the child’s parents as to custody arrangements;
2. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
3. The child’s adjustment to his home, school and community;
4. The mental and physical health of all parties.

A presumption exists that joint custody is in the child’s best interests.

Absent any orders to the contrary, both parents shall have equal access to records pertaining to the child, such as medical, dental or school. 40-4-9.1

Child support
A rebuttable presumption exists that the amount of support established by the enacted child support guidelines in the correct amount of child support to be paid.  Should the court deviate from the amount established in the guidelines, the judgement must contain a statement of the reasons for such deviation.

Medical insurance will also be included in any order of child support if reasonably available to either party.  40-4-11.1, 11.2

Name change
Any person may petition the court for a change of name.  The party seeking the change of name must publish in a newspaper of the county in which the court resides notice of the application for name change. 40-8-1, 2

Inside New Mexico Dissolution of Marriage Law