There are a lot of things to separate as you make the transition from a married couple to two single individuals. For some families, the divorce process includes a lot of variables, such as child custody, child support, and spousal support. While these may not apply to your proceedings, you'll undoubtedly have to deal with property division.
One important fact to remember is New Mexico is a community property state. This means marital assets are generally divided equally between the two parties. If you and your ex don't work out your own division of property agreement, then the court will:
Allow each of you to keep your separate property. Separate property includes assets that you owned before your marriage, gifts and inheritances received before or during your union, and any property acquired during your marriage that you and your spouse agreed was separate. If these are the terms, they must be in writing to avoid confusion later. Separate property won't be part of a division of property agreement, but it may be considered when deciding if one spouse should pay spousal support to the other.
Divide your community property evenly. Your community property includes all of the assets received during the marriage unless the property is considered separate for one of the reasons described above. Unless you prove otherwise, all property is community property. The court will assess the total value of community property and divide it equally, rather than assess each individual piece of property. Therefore, if one spouse gets the marital home, the other might get stock, jewelry, and money of approximately equal value to the home.
Assets generally include homes, other physical property holdings such as land, jewelry, artwork, stocks, vested pensions, and money in bank accounts.
The same general rules for dividing property also apply to assigning responsibility for the marital debt. Debt acquired during your marriage is typically considered a debt of the marriage. Therefore, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the court will likely divide any debt equally if incurred during the union.
New Mexico is a No Fault Divorce State
New Mexico is a no-fault divorce state which means the misbehavior of the parties during the marriage has no bearing on the division of the property and debt on dissolution of the marriage. Though it may seem unfair, it is the law.
Unfortunately, some people are unable to accept this notion, and attempt to even the scores of marital misdeeds through the division of property and debt. This makes for a long, stressful and expensive divorce as the emotional issues control the divorce rather than legally defined standards for dividing the community property and debt at dissolution. It is costly to go this route and ultimately futile.
Valuation of Assets and Liabilities
The valuation of property and assets can be very contentious. There is a tendency to overvalue property the other side wants, and to undervalue property that you want. These issues will often be hammered out in mediation.
Again, there are cases where the valuations are legitimately in dispute where expert valuation may be necessary. In cases of high value assets and property, the investment in expert valuation is well worth the costs.
An Albuquerque Divorce Lawyer Can Help
The legal presumption is that all property and debt is divided as previously described. However, you and your former spouse have the right to create an agreement regarding how property splits between you. This may be beneficial if there's an asset with greater value to you than its financial value. For example, you may have a strong desire to stay in the marital home and be willing to allot other assets to your ex with more financial worth than the home in order to keep it.
Whether you want to create an individual agreement or follow community property laws, make certain a skilled Albuquerque divorce attorney protects your interests. We'll begin by identifying all of your property, accurately valuing it, and determining if assets should be considered separate or community property according to the requirements of New Mexico law. With this information and your goals in mind, we'll protect your financial interests and help you continue life on a solid financial footing.
To learn more about how the professionals at Genus Law Group can help ease property division during divorce, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.