Even uncontested divorces in New Mexico can end up costing more than you expect.
While the actual filing costs with the court are manageable, legal costs can mount up if disputes arise and mediation or even litigation is required to settle outstanding matters.
Disputes can become complex to resolve when emotions run deep – particularly where children are involved.
However, many couples do arrange amicable divorces with a little legal assistance to draw up necessary documentation. This should be the ultimate aim for all divorcing couples as it is better for the pocket as well as the mental and emotional states of the family members involved.
Divorce Filing Fees in New Mexico
In New Mexico, there are self-help divorce packages available from the courts for the following fees:
- Uncontested Divorce with Children: $20
- Contested Divorce with Children: $20
- Uncontested Divorce without Children: $15
- Contested Divorce without Children: $15
- Default Divorce with or without children: $10
Beyond this, there is a filing fee of $135-$155 to open a divorce case in the New Mexico courts and there may be additional filing fees for each individual pleading.
That is the “easy” part out of the way with divorce costs…
What other fees should I expect to pay?
In very general terms, divorce in New Mexico is likely to cost between $2,500 and $8,000 in total. Nationally, the average is higher than this.
If your divorce is deeply contentious with many disputed issues regarding value of property, property division, child custody, determination of income, child support, spousal support and other points of contention, it can be a great deal more than the top end of the range quoted.
As well as attorney fees and court costs, there may be fees from professionals such as a guardian ad litem, child custody evaluator, etc. This all increases the overall cost of the divorce.
For most couples in New Mexico, who settle on an agreement with their partner after discussions around the kitchen table and a little collaboration between lawyers or a mediation session, the average range quoted is more likely. However, this requires that proceedings go relatively amicably and smoothly.
The total costs greatly depend on the hourly rates quoted by your lawyer. Check these upfront so that there are no surprises but bear in mind that you usually get what you pay for. Any divorce attorney can help you get divorced but how much do you need their involvement to settle disputes and fight for your best interests?
If the stakes are high, you will be willing to pay a little more for the best attorney available.
The more that you and your ex can agree on in discussions before involving your lawyers, the greater the cost-savings will be, in general. However, not all couples are capable of communicating amicably during divorce proceedings.
Also, bear in mind that trying to do everything without the aid of a lawyer can backfire. Unless your agreement is drawn up according to certain guidelines (especially when it comes to what happens to the children of the marriage and child support) it may not be subjected by the court or this will create delays and extra costs. Further, a small mistake or the incorrect language used when dividing a retirement might create huge problems that you will not see until years later.
Although most divorces in New Mexico do not end up in court battles, every divorce case in the state must pass through the courts and be approved by a judge before it is deemed final.
Another common scenario with divorce cases is for unforeseen intricacies and complexities to arise such as refinances or division of retirement plans. Unless lawyers are present to guide you, these can escalate and lead to full-blown disputes, delays, and extra costs in resolving the problems.
An attorney will also protect your interests in the settlement when it comes to dividing property, taking into account different ways to divide properties and drawing additional orders to divide retirement accounts or pensions and so on, so many couples find it advantageous from a financial perspective to hire a lawyer.
Need help with filing for divorce?
No two divorce cases are the same but whatever the disputes, they can normally be resolved with the aid of an experienced divorce attorney.
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 stress or delays.