Potential clients often ask us how long it will take to get a divorce in New Mexico. There are three time frames that may affect the length of time: the legal residency requirement, the waiting period, and the degree of conflict between the parties.
First is the six-month residency requirement. Under the New Mexico divorce law, the court only has jurisdiction over dissolution proceedings when at least one party is currently residing in the state and has lived here for the past six months. This also applies to the children, if there are any. Only when the children have lived in the state for six months immediately before the filing of divorce will the court of New Mexico have the authority to decide over custody and support.
As you can see, this factor may or may not extend the time period for obtaining a divorce in New Mexico. If you already meet the six-month residency, this is a non-issue. If you do not, you will need to wait until the six-month requirement is met to move forward with dissolution proceedings. The law contains special provisions for military families.
The second time issue is the 30-day waiting period imposed by New Mexico law. The 30-day period starts to run when the non-filing spouse receives the petition for a marital dissolution, to allow the responding spouse to file an answer. No final divorce decree may be entered until this time period expires unless the parties agree to waive the 30-day period.
The third issue that can affect the length of time to obtain a New Mexico divorce is the degree to which the parties agree on issues (or do not agree). Of course, some issues are necessarily complex, such as the valuation of a business, but often, the length of the divorce proceedings bears a direct relationship to the parties’ respective abilities to agree on important issues, such as custody, visitation, and spousal support.
It is noteworthy that in some cases, divorcing couples initially claim that their decision to get a divorce is uncontested. Often, though, conflicts flare up when the petition is put into writing. The written agreement somehow presents opportunities for the parties to change perspectives. Matters that were initially agreed upon may become an issue.
If you or a family member need representation in a dissolution proceeding, the Lightning Legal Group would be honored to help. We are well-versed in New Mexico family law and can help protect you and your children. Please contact us at (505) 247-2390 for a free consultation.