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Preparing for a Contested Divorce in New Mexico

Preparing for a Contested Divorce in New Mexico

Divorce is difficult, but properly preparing can make it easier.

Divorce is a complicated topic to navigate, especially when it’s contested. A contested divorce in New Mexico means that you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more key issues, such as child custody, division of assets, or alimony. Being well-prepared with essential advice on financial and mental preparation for a contested divorce can make a significant difference in the outcome. 

Financial Preparation

It’s important to prepare financially for your contested divorce in New Mexico. Having a strong sense of what your financial implications could be is a good place to start when preparing for a contested divorce in New Mexico. 

Collect Financial Documents

Begin by gathering all your financial documents. This includes bank statements, credit card bills, tax returns, pay stubs, and any other financial records. These documents play a crucial role in understanding your financial standing and are vital for a fair division of assets and liabilities. Make sure to collect these documents for any account with your name on it, both solo and joint. The more documents and records you can gather, the better. Remember to keep these documents organized for your attorney to keep costs down and keep your case moving forward efficiently. 

Learn About Your Tangible Assets

Understanding your tangible assets, such as properties, vehicles, and investments, is key for optimal leverage in a contested divorce. It’s crucial to have a clear picture of what you own, its value, and how it might be divided. Take into consideration what assets you wish to prioritize getting in the divorce and what you’d be okay giving up in exchange for your top ticket items. Some tangible assets common in a contested divorce in New Mexico are: 

  • Real Estate: This includes the family home, vacation homes, rental properties, and any other real estate holdings. Real estate is often one of the most valuable assets and can be a major point of contention.
  • Vehicles: Cars, motorcycles, boats, and other vehicles are also significant assets. High-value or collector vehicles can be particularly contentious.
  • Furniture and Home Appliances: Items like furniture, home appliances, and electronics can also be subject to division, especially if they hold significant value or have been acquired during the marriage.
  • Jewelry and Art: Expensive jewelry, artwork, and collectibles are often disputed, particularly if they have high monetary or sentimental value.
  • Bank Accounts and Cash: This includes cash in bank accounts, savings accounts, and physical cash or tangible assets that are easily quantifiable and often disputed.
  • Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment accounts are considered tangible assets, especially when they can be easily valued and liquidated.
  • Business Interests: Ownership interests in businesses, including family businesses or sole proprietorships, can be significant assets in a divorce.
  • Retirement Accounts: Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts are often substantial assets that need to be divided.
  • Life Insurance Policies: Some life insurance policies have a cash value that can be considered a tangible asset in divorce proceedings.
  • Personal Items of Value: This can include items like high-end electronics, musical instruments, luxury goods, and collections (such as coins, stamps, or antiques).

Figure Out What the Family Debt Is

Debt is as significant as assets in a divorce. Determine what debts are owed, such as mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, to ensure a fair division. Confirm any loan information, the amount that has been paid off and any remaining balances or debts. You can also collect any available information to indicate the proportion of the debts for each partner. 

Keeping a Child Custody Journal

If you have children, maintaining a child custody journal can be helpful while preparing for a contested divorce in New Mexico. Document your daily parenting activities, involvement in your child’s life, and any instances of your spouse’s neglect or misconduct. This journal can be a beneficial piece of evidence in custody decisions. You do not need to keep a record of everything in this list, but here are some ideas of elements to keep in mind for your custody journal

  • Document Daily Parenting Activities
    • Routine Care: Note everyday activities like preparing meals, helping with homework, bedtime routines, and taking your child to school.
    • Medical Care: Record doctor’s appointments, medical treatments, or medication administration.
    • Emotional Support: Detail instances where you provided emotional support, like comforting them during distress or helping them with personal challenges.
  • Record Involvement in Your Child’s Development
    • Educational Involvement: Include participation in parent-teacher conferences, school events, or educational planning.
    • Extracurricular Activities: Document your involvement in their sports, arts, or other extracurricular activities.
    • Social Development: Record playdates, social outings, and other activities that contribute to your child’s social growth.
  • Note Communication and Interaction
    • Direct Interaction: Jot down the quality time spent with your child, like playing games, reading stories, or engaging in conversations.
    • Communication with Others: Note your communication with other key figures in your child’s life, such as teachers, coaches, and healthcare providers.
  • Observe and Record Your Spouse’s Conduct
    • Neglect or Misconduct: Carefully document any instances of your spouse’s neglect or misconduct towards the child, if applicable. This includes neglecting basic needs, showing inappropriate behavior, or exposing the child to unsafe environments.
    • Visitation Adherence: Note any issues with your spouse adhering to visitation schedules or court orders.
  • Use the Journal as a Legal Tool
    • Share relevant entries with your attorney to provide insights into your parenting and to support your case for custody or visitation.
    • Understand that this journal may be subject to review in court, so maintain professionalism and respect for privacy in your entries.

Preparing Your Mental Health For Contested Divorce in New Mexico

Do Not Retaliate

Divorce can be emotionally taxing, especially when it is contested. It’s important to stay calm and not retaliate, even in challenging situations. This composure can positively impact the legal aspects of your divorce.

Communicate Sparingly but Respectfully

When you do communicate with your spouse, do it sparingly and respectfully. Avoid unnecessary conflict which can complicate the divorce process.

Don’t Make Excuses for Your Ex-Spouse’s Bad Behavior

It’s important to remain objective and not excuse any detrimental behavior of your ex-spouse, especially when it comes to legal proceedings.

Tips for Choosing a Contested Divorce Attorney

Choosing the right attorney is crucial in a contested divorce. Look for a lawyer experienced in contested divorces in New Mexico. They should have a strong track record and be someone you feel comfortable working with closely.

Preparing for a contested divorce in New Mexico can be overwhelming, but with the right approach and support, it can be managed effectively. Financial preparation, staying organized, maintaining a child custody journal, and preparing yourself mentally are key steps. Choosing the right attorney can also make a significant difference in the outcome of your divorce. If you are facing a contested divorce, contact New Mexico Legal Group for expert guidance and representation.