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New Mexico Family Law

New Mexico Family Law

Family law is an integral part of our legal system as it regulates and governs family relationships and issues, including parental rights, custody arrangements, divorce, and property division. Each state in the US has its own set of laws and regulations for matters related to family law, and New Mexico is no exception. In this article, we will delve into New Mexico family law, covering various topics in detail, and using governmental resources to provide updated information.

Child Custody in New Mexico

When it comes to child custody, New Mexico prioritizes the best interests of the child above all else. In determining the custody arrangements, the court considers various factors, including the child’s age, emotional and physical health, and the need to maintain stability in their life. According to NM Stat § 40-4-9.1, there are different types of child custody:

– Joint Custody: Parents share legal custody and decision-making powers, and the child lives with both parents.
– Sole Custody: Only one parent has legal custody and decision-making powers, and the child lives with them primarily.
– Joint Physical Custody: The child spends significant time with both parents.

In New Mexico, the courts encourage parents to create a parenting plan that outlines custody arrangements for their child. Parents can develop a plan jointly and submit it to the court for approval. However, if the court deems that the plan isn’t in the child’s best interests, the judge can overrule it and create a new plan. Parents who cannot agree on a parenting plan will have to attend a mediation session to resolve their disputes. If mediation fails, the case will go to court.

Child Support

Parents who don’t live together have a legal obligation to support their child financially. In New Mexico, child support is determined based on the gross income of both parents, the percentage of time the child spends with each parent, and the number of children involved in the case. The court will also consider any child-related expenses, such as healthcare, education, and childcare.

According to NM Stat § 40-4-11, child support payments are usually made until the child reaches the age of 18. However, if the child is still in high school, child support may continue until they graduate or turn 19, whichever comes first. If the child has a disability, child support may continue past the age of 19.

Divorce in New Mexico

New Mexico allows both fault and no-fault divorce. To get a no-fault divorce, both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that they’ve been separated for at least six months. If only one party wants a divorce, they can file a fault divorce, citing grounds such as adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or substance abuse.

In New Mexico, property division during a divorce must be equitable, which means that assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. The court considers various factors, such as the duration of the marriage, each party’s income and earning potential, and the contributions of each party to the marriage.

Spousal Support in New Mexico

Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be awarded to one party in a divorce if necessary. In New Mexico, spousal support is determined based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each party’s income and earning potential, and their contribution to the marriage. The court may also consider the needs of each party and their financial resources.

Domestic Violence in New Mexico

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects many families. In New Mexico, domestic violence includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as threats of harm. The state has enacted various laws to protect domestic violence victims and their children.

According to NM Stat § 40-13-3, a victim of domestic violence can obtain a protective order from the court to stop the abuser from contacting them or coming near them. The order can also include provisions for custody arrangements and financial support. Violating a protective order can result in severe penalties, including fines and jail time.

Adoption in New Mexico

Adoption is a fantastic way for couples and individuals to expand their family. In New Mexico, adoption can be completed through the state’s foster care system, through private agencies, or independently. It is essential to follow the appropriate legal procedures to ensure a smooth adoption process.

Before the adoption process can begin, prospective adoptive parents must comply with pre-adoption requirements, including background checks, home studies, and a series of interviews with social workers.

According to NM Stat § 32A-5, in New Mexico, birth parents have the right to consent to an adoption, and their consent must be voluntary and informed. In some cases, if the birth parents cannot give consent, termination of parental rights may be necessary.


New Mexico family law covers various aspects of family relationships, including child custody, child support, divorce, spousal support, domestic violence, and adoption. The state prioritizes the best interests of the child when making decisions involving custody and support, and it provides legal protection for victims of domestic violence. If you’re seeking assistance regarding a family law matter, it’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process.

Quick Guide to New Mexico Family Laws 

Where can I find the majority of New Mexico Family Law?

You’ll have to visit the revised statutes under the New Mexico State Legislature in order to view a complete list of all updated NM family law within the state.  Once you begin searching for NM family law, you’ll want to reference several different chapters depending on your need.

In this article you’ll find general information about New Mexico family law about marriage requirements, divorce, adoption, child custody, and other commonly accessed areas of NM family law.  If you are referencing New Mexico family laws for legal help, you are highly advised to consult with a NM family law attorney before proceeding with any settlement process.

Specific New Mexico Family Law

Some general information about sections of New Mexico family law within several different chapters is listed below.  For more information on New Mexico family laws, visit the link under the state’s legislature and proceed mainly to Chapter 40:

§40-1-1 through §40-1-20

These articles of New Mexico family laws law provides prerequisites for a valid marriage, as well as who cannot marry in the state of NM.  These articles also contains information on New Mexico family law for licenses and other contracts, as well as who is legally allowed to solemnize a marriage.

§40-4-1 through §40-4-20

These articles of NM family law are some of the most frequently accessed articles under the state’s legislature.  These specific articles on New Mexico family laws covers general grounds for divorce (§40-4-1 through 2) and other sections cover property division, methods of payment for spousal support, and much more.  There are multiple other sections of New Mexico family laws that may prove helpful in divorce proceedings.

§32A-5-1 through 32A-5-45

This chapter NM family law provides general provisions for adoption such as who may adopt a child (§32A-5-11), information about petitions, financial disclosures, investigative procedures from a child-placing agency, and much more.  If you are searching New Mexico family law for legal advice on adoptions, talk to an NM family law attorney right away.

§40-10A-101 through §40-10A-403

These sections of New Mexico family laws provide detailed information about conditions for child custody.  New Mexico family law for support guidelines is located in §40-4-11.1, and there are many more sections that address conditions for child support and custody.  For more information about child custody and support, you are highly encouraged to speak with your New Mexico family law attorney.

How to Search NM Family Law

Consider the follow search techniques if you search New Mexico family laws under the state’s legislature provided by the NM Compilation Commission:

1. Stemming- this technique includes adding suffixes onto your search, such as divorces, divorcing, divorced, or more

2. Wildcards- a wildcard allows you to search multiple words using an asterisk, and adopt* will usually bring you to adopted, adoption, adopting, adoptive, adoptable, and more.

3. Missing variables- you can search for a missing variable with a question mark, and wom?n will bring results associated with woman, women, and more

4. Boolean Operators- you should always consider using and, or, and not to limit your searches as well