In all likelihood, the major factor in how much your divorce will cost is the number of hours that your lawyers require to help resolve issues and draw up the necessary paperwork.
Divorces are hardly ever simple but they do not need to end up in court.
With the right legal assistance, you and your spouse can avoid unnecessary costs involved in litigation and set yourselves up to move on with your lives in good shape. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney may be seen as an investment in your future…
The average cost of a divorce in New Mexico
There are several cost elements involved in a divorce. The good news is that both divorce filing costs and attorney costs in New Mexico are lower than the national average. In fact, they are some of the lowest in the country.
Some court costs are unavoidable as filing and case opening fees are charged by the court. There may also be fees for psychiatric evaluations for adults/children, financial professionals, guardians ad litem, etc. It depends on your circumstances and the level of conflict in the divorce.
As a general rule, an absence of conflict or a low level of conflict will result in a lower-cost divorce. Contested divorces are more expensive than uncontested divorces or divorces that use mediation.
If you can agree on the major big-ticket items like child custody, parenting, support, and property division, you will keep the costs down.
The bulk of the costs is usually attorney fees. These vary greatly between law firms but you generally get what you pay for.
A seasoned divorce attorney who is experienced in court trials may be necessary if the stakes are especially high and disputes impossible to resolve out of court.
Such attorneys may charge several hundred dollars per hour while a less experienced attorney may charge considerably lower fees. Beware of “outlier” fees like $50/hour or $500/hour and do your research before you hire an attorney.
Most commonly, for separating couples in New Mexico, some legal assistance is required to reach a legally binding agreement even through collaboration or mediation.
This keeps the costs of a divorce down as fewer hours of attorney time will be required. Also, court costs will be lower for you.
Each spouse can still end up paying $6,000 – $8,000 or more in a collaborated divorce in New Mexico.
With mediation or in an uncontested divorce (where legal assistance is only required in drawing up the correct documentation for the courts), your costs can be minimized.
What are the main factors in determining divorce attorney fees?
We’ve touched on this already. Most divorce attorneys charge by the hour and so the more time required to resolve disputes and manage conflict, the higher the total attorney costs.
The following issues may need to be negotiated, in which case the time taken will be billed:
- Child custody issues
- Property division
- Debt division
- Tax implications
- Alimony (spousal support)
- Child support
- Parenting plans
In complex divorces, where more attorney time is required, the overall costs will be higher.
If you and your ex can get together around the kitchen table and decide on the major items, you will keep costs down.
Divorce costs generally depend on conflict levels
The more conflict there is in your separation, the higher the cost of your divorce is likely to be. That is a simple fact.
Longer marriages with children are often the most complex and adversarial. Particularly strong emotions may be at play, the stakes are high, and considerable assets may have been accumulated by the couple.
Shorter marriages without children can often be ended more amicably and this also helps to reduce attorney fees, court costs, and so on.
The bottom line is that a divorce in New Mexico will not be finalized by the judge until the court is satisfied that all of the elements of the divorce are resolved. If you can reach this stage with a collaborative approach, you are far less likely to put a major dent in the bank balance.
Every outstanding or contested issue can be the subject of a court hearing or trial though the court will provide you with ample opportunities to resolve matters out of court. It’s best to deal with these issues long before it gets to the litigation stage.
Need help with filing for divorce?
Most disputes can be resolved with the aid of an experienced divorce attorney – and this can minimize the costs associated with divorce.
At the New Mexico Legal Group, our years of experience and commitment to working in your best interests can help you arrange your divorce cost-effectively.