New Mexico Divorce Laws

Are you considering filing for divorce in New Mexico? Before you do, take a little time to understand more about the laws surrounding the process.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

The first step in determining if you can file for divorce in New Mexico is determining if you meet the residency requirements. New Mexico’s divorce laws require that you or your spouse live in the state for at least the six months prior to filing.

New Mexico allows for no-fault divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. If you wish to file fault divorce, the grounds that are acceptable include:

  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Adultery

If one of the spouses is a member of the military, they may be qualified to file in New Mexico if they have been stationed in the state for the six month period. However, all aspects of military family law must be followed in the proceedings. In order to ensure that you are meeting all of these laws, consider hiring a military family law attorney.

Division of Property

New Mexico follows a community property model for distribution of property during a divorce. This means that the courts will divide the property equally if the parties cannot come to an agreement outside of court. This doesn’t always end up being fair, so it is advisable to work with attorneys to reach an agreement.

In a Community Property state, each spouse is able to retain his or her property acquired before the marriage. This type of property will meet the following qualifications:

  • Was acquired by a spouse before the marriage or after the dissolution of the marriage
  • Was acquired after the entry of the decree for divorce
  • Was designated as separate property by a court degree or judgment
  • Was acquired through a gift, bequest, descent, or devise
  • Was designated in a written agreement between the spouses, such as a deed, to be separate property

Child Custody

When determining the best solution for child custody in cases involving minor children, New Mexico will encourage parents to come to a conclusion outside of the courts. They may consider many factors in this decision, including:

  • The child’s parents wishes
  • The child’s wishes
  • The relationship and interaction between the child and the parents, siblings, and other people who have a direct role to play in the child’s life
  • The child’s adjustment to school, community, and home
  • Mental and physical health issues


In some cases the courts may deem it necessary for one spouse to financially support the other after a divorce. The factors that are considered when making this determination include:

  • Age and health of the parties
  • Means of support for spouses
  • Current and future earnings and earning capacities
  • Good-faith efforts to each spouse made to maintain employment or support their own selves.
  • Needs of respective spouses, including medical insurance, life insurance, and standard of living
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Amount of property given to each spouse
  • Assets each spouse retains
  • Liabilities of each spouse
  • Income produced by property a spouse owns
  • Any agreements about the payment of alimony between the spouses entered into prior to the dissolution of the marriage

New Mexico follows the Income Shares Model for child support payments. This means that the parents share the support costs proportionate to their incomes. Sometimes this will change if the following factors apply:

  • Out of the ordinary medical, dental, or counseling expenses for a child over $100 per year
  • Out of the ordinary educational expenses for the children
  • Communication and transportation costs for long distance visitations