Most people who imagine a divorce see a long-drawn-out process that is hotly contested in the courts.
It needn’t be like this and, in fact, the majority of divorces in New Mexico are settled without litigation within a reasonable timeframe.
There are three ways to get a quick divorce in New Mexico and these are explored below.
DIY divorce (“Pro-se”)
In New Mexico, you can pick up a self-help divorce package from your local courthouse. This will help you and your spouse file for divorce. There are also forms and limited instructions at https://www.nmcourts.gov/.
There are different packages for different types of divorces and a nominal fee to pay for each package:
- Uncontested Divorce with Children
- Contested Divorce with Children
- Uncontested Divorce without Children
- Contested Divorce without Children
- Default Divorce with Children
- Default Divorce without Children
These packages explain the paperwork you require, how to fill it in, and also how to submit the correct documents to the court.
At the very least, you will need a Dissolution of Marriage Without Children form or a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With Children (if you have children under 19 still in high school). You’ll also need to submit an information sheet when you file for divorce.
This paperwork must be filed in person at the district courthouse in New Mexico where you or your spouse lives.
Bear in mind that the more complex your divorce is, the less likely it is that this path will be successful for you. When there are children from the marriage or issues regarding property and debt division or paying support, these matters must all be resolved before your divorce can be finalized.
In a DIY divorce, you and your partner are agreeing to resolve all these complex issues between you. If that is viable, your divorce will be the quickest and cheapest divorce possible because you avoid the costs of hiring attorneys and other professionals who may be called in to help resolve disputes.
You may not even need to appear before a judge if the agreement you make is acceptable to the court.
However, many couples in New Mexico start with the best of intentions in this regard but discover before long that their differences are too extensive to be resolved around the kitchen table.
Some DIY divorces, therefore, turn into mediated or collaborated divorces requiring the intervention of legal professionals.
With an uncontested divorce, again there may be no need to appear in court.
The main difference between a DIY divorce and an uncontested divorce is that lawyers or at least a lawyer for a party may still be utilized in an uncontested divorce.
All the major differences are settled between the couple. You essentially agree on all the main elements (child custody, parenting, child support, spousal support, property division, etc.) but you hire a divorce attorney to draw up a legally binding agreement between you.
Some uncontested divorces may even require a little collaboration between lawyers or a lawyer to negotiate the final terms of the agreement between separating partners. This is still generally preferable to the alternatives.
Sometimes, also, there may be issues that a couple have not even considered in their agreement. Legal assistance from an experienced divorce attorney can help greatly in these circumstances as these issues can be flagged early before they create problems further down the line.
Another way to speed up the divorce process and to avoid a courtroom battle is to hire an independent mediator.
Mediated divorces are most common in situations where two spouses remain in communication and are prepared to maintain a cooperative approach. Perhaps you have already resolved some issues but there are still important issues outstanding that have hit a deadlock in negotiations.
It can be helpful in these circumstances for a trained mediator to act as a neutral third party to try to “broker” an agreement. The final decisions rest with you and your ex but a mediator can facilitate discussions and, hopefully, lead you to a resolution.
If you can reach an agreement, the mediator will draw up the correct paperwork and make it legally binding once both parties sign.
This is then submitted to the court pending approval and your divorce may be finalized – possibly with no appearance in person necessary.
Note that attempts at a mediated divorce are unlikely to succeed if there is a high degree of conflict, if there is abuse, or where there is a lack of cooperation between parties.
Such cases may end up in litigation and this can slow the divorce process down considerably.
Need help with filing for divorce?
If you can communicate amicably with your spouse, you are more likely to arrange a quick divorce with manageable costs. Sometimes that process is made easier with a lawyer present to help avoid delays and keep the case out of court.
At the New Mexico Legal Group, our years of experience and commitment to working in your best interests can help you arrange your divorce without unnecessary delays.