You want to get divorced. Unfortunately, your spouse doesn’t want to, or you won’t qualify for a divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. While you may feel stuck and frustrated right now, you may be able to move on with life by filing a contested divorce case.
Grounds for Contested Divorce in New Mexico
New Mexico recognizes three grounds for a contested divorce. Even if your spouse doesn't want to end your marriage, you may petition the court to grant your divorce if you can prove one of the following three things is true:
- Abandonment. This means you or your spouse left the marriage and have no intention of returning to the union.
- Adultery. Typically, adultery means having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse. A victim of rape isn't considered adulterous, however.
- Cruel or inhuman treatment. Physical or emotional abuse are examples of cruel and inhuman treatment that could be grounds for a divorce.
In some cases, you may have more than one reason for seeking a divorce. Make sure to discuss the implications of each with your legal counsel.
When a Contested Divorce May Be the Right Option
Uncontested divorces are typically faster and less expensive than contested divorces. However, there are circumstances when a contested divorce may still be the best option:
- It's the only way for you to end the marriage and move on with your life.
- You don't trust your spouse to be honest with you about marital assets.
- You're afraid your spouse is seeking more alimony or child support than is fair under New Mexico law.
Other benefits may also apply to your unique situation, and your lawyer should thoroughly review them with you.
How a Contested Divorce Case Works
If you decide to end your marriage through a contested divorce, certain things have to happen.
The exact number of hearings and the degree of court involvement depends on the complexity of your case. For example, married couples who disagree about child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of property will likely have more court hearings than couples without children or significant assets.
In all contested divorce cases, the process begins when you file a divorce petition in the appropriate district court and pay the required fee. Then, your spouse typically has 30 days to answer your petition. Once that happens, negotiations occur, and proceedings may convene to a hearing to work out the details of your divorce. Mediation may also be an option to encourage you and your spouse to agree on important issues before the court decides on them for you. Reliable evidence may be necessary to support your divorce petition and convince the court to end your marriage.
Your divorce is final after the judge signs the official final decree of dissolution of marriage.
Choose the Right Contested Divorce Lawyer for You
You have a lot at stake. You want to start a new beginning right away, which means resolving the issues that come with ending a marriage. Your debts and assets should be divided equitably, spousal and child support must be evaluated justly, and child custody and visitation agreements need to be resolved in the best interests of your children and with certainty for both parents.
Our New Mexico family lawyers know how important this is to you and we want to help you make the right decisions. Call us or fill out our online contact form today. Let’s schedule an initial meeting to discuss your legal options for dissolving this union.