If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, the quickest and most economic route you can take is an Uncontested Divorce. If this type of divorce is to be successful, both Parties must agree completely on the many details involved, including the division of property, alimony, and child custody and support.
The Court requires certain forms and pleadings to open a divorce case, whether contested or uncontested, but once an Uncontested Divorce case is open, you can jump ahead to the Marital Settlement Agreement, which contains the terms of the divorce on which you and your spouse have agreed. The issues that need to be settled in a Marital Settlement Agreement include how the spouses’ property, such as joint bank accounts, real estate, and debts will be divided. The couple must come to an agreement on whether one spouse receives spousal support (alimony) and how much.
If you have children, you need to find common ground regarding custody, timesharing, and child support.
Even if you believe you are both in total agreement, it’s a good idea to have a lawyer explain the legal technicalities, and review your Marital Settlement Agreement to ensure that it protects your legal rights. Speaking with an attorney is an especially good idea if you have complex assets to divide, like retirement plans, or a family business.
Once a Marital Settlement Agreement is executed, it must then be approved by the assigned judge. Once the judge signs and files the final Divorce Decree with the Court, the divorce becomes final.
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, New Mexico courts will consider your divorce to be “contested.”
In a future blog, litigated divorces will be explained to show what you are up against if both spouses are not in total agreement.