Albuquerque Alimony and Spousal Support Attorneys
Alimony, also called spousal support, is an amount of money awarded by the court from one spouse to the other as continuing support after the marriage has ended. Under the family laws of New Mexico, alimony or spousal support may be temporary, permanent, or transitional. Alimony or spousal support may also be modifiable or non-modifiable as determined by the Court or by agreement of the parties.
A QUICK ALIMONY – SPOUSAL SUPPORT ANALYSIS
Many lawyers will give you long-winded explanations about whether alimony or spousal support is appropriate in your case. A quick way to assess this is to look at some of the most important factors judges weigh in determining alimony and spousal support: (1) Length of marriage. The longer your marriage, the more likely it will be that alimony or spousal support is awarded in your case. The 10 year mark is when many attorneys begin to consider it a “long” marriage. Marriages over 20 years qualify for permanent alimony or spousal support. (2) Ability to Pay. Even if you have a long marriage, the spouse being asked to pay alimony must have the actual means to do so. Even in a long marriage, the alimony award may be non-existent or small if earnings are not high enough. (3) Need. The spouse asking for alimony or spousal support must all have a true need for such payments, meaning, among other things that the receiving spouse must not be able to earn enough income on his or her own.
ALIMONY – SPOUSAL SUPPORT CALCULATORS AND GUIDELINES
Other than the criteria set by statute and listed farther down on this page, there is no alimony or spousal support calculator that can be used to determine possible payments. Nor or there any specific guidelines in place. However, in Albuquerque, the Courts are currently using proposed alimony guidelines in a pilot project to study the possibility of implementing uniform alimony guidelines. These guidelines are not binding in any court, however, it may be useful during alimony negotiations to look at these guidelines. You can download the Alimony guideline worksheet. However, these guidelines only provide the Court with a possible scenario for alimony and spousal support payments and are not appropriate in every case.
A FEW LEGAL Q & As
Here are a few of the most frequent questions our law firm receives about alimony and spousal support.
Is New Mexico an alimony state?
Yes. There are certain factors that must be met, however, before an award of alimony is appropriate. The most important factors seem to be a sufficiently long marriage, sufficient financial need by the receiving spouse, and sufficient ability to pay by the paying spouse.
How is alimony determined?
In New Mexico, there is no set formula for the determination of alimony. A number of factors are to be determined by the court, which include:
(1) the age and health of and the means of support for the respective spouses;
(2) the current and future earnings and the earning capacity of the respective spouses;
(3) the good-faith efforts of the respective spouses to maintain employment or to become self-supporting;
(4) the reasonable needs of the respective spouses, including:
(a) the standard of living of the respective spouses during the term of the marriage;
(b) the maintenance of medical insurance for the respective spouses; and
(c) the appropriateness of life insurance, including its availability and cost, insuring the life of the person who is to pay support to secure the payments, with any life insurance proceeds paid on the death of the paying spouse to be in lieu of further support;
(5) the duration of the marriage;
(6) the amount of the property awarded or confirmed to the respective spouses;
(7) the type and nature of the respective spouses’ assets; provided that potential proceeds from the sale of property by either spouse shall not be considered by the court, unless required by exceptional circumstances and the need to be fair to the parties;
(8) the type and nature of the respective spouses’ liabilities;
(9) income produced by property owned by the respective spouses; and
(10) agreements entered into by the spouses in contemplation of the dissolution of marriage or legal separation.
How long must I be married to receive alimony?
There is no required time limit for an award of alimony. As a very general rule, marriages that are zero to five years in length typically do not involve alimony (although transitional alimony may be awarded in some cases); marriages five to ten years in duration are more likely to qualify; ten to fifteen years and fifteen to twenty year marriages have a high probability of being alimony cases. It should be noted, however, that despite the length of the marriage, adequate assets must be available from one party to the other in order for the court to award alimony. The court has permanent alimony jurisdiction over any marriage twenty years or greater.