New Mexico Divorce

Residency Requirements

In order to file for divorce in New Mexico, either party must have resided in the state for at least six months immediately preceding the date of filing.

Members serving in any military branch of the U.S. government who have been continuously stationed in any military base or installation in New Mexico for six months may also file for divorce in the state.

Any member of the military and who was a resident in New Mexico for at least six months immediately prior to his or his spouse’s entry into any military branch of the United States government, may also file for divorce in New Mexico.


Grounds for Divorce

A divorce in New Mexico may be granted on any of the following grounds:

a) incompatibility;
b) cruel and inhuman treatment;
c) adultery; or
d) abandonment.


Division of Property

Separate property in New Mexico means:

a) property acquired by either spouse before marriage or after entry of a decree of dissolution of marriage;
b) property acquired after entry of a divorce decree;
c) property designated as separate property by a judgment or decree of any court having jurisdiction;
d) property acquired by either spouse by gift, bequest, devise or descent; and
e) property designated as separate property by a written agreement between the spouses, including a deed or other written agreement concerning property held by the spouses as joint tenants or tenants in common in which the property is designated as separate property.

Most other property will be deemed community property, meaning property that was acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage that does not qualify as separate property.


Spousal Support

The court may award spousal support to either party in the form of:

a) rehabilitative spousal support that provides the receiving spouse with education, training, work experience or other forms of rehabilitation that increases the receiving spouse’s ability to earn income and become self-supporting;
b) transitional spousal support to supplement the income of the receiving spouse for a limited period of time;
c) spousal support for an indefinite duration;
d) a single sum to be paid in one or more installments that specifies definite amounts, subject only to the death of the receiving spouse; or
e) a single sum to be paid in one or more installments that specifies definite amounts, not subject to any contingencies, including the death of the receiving spouse.

When deciding to award spousal support, the court shall consider:

a) the age and health of and the means of support for the respective spouses;
b) the current and future earnings and the earning capacity of the respective spouses;
c) the good-faith efforts of the respective spouses to maintain employment or to become self-supporting;
d) the reasonable needs of the respective spouses, including the standard of living of the respective spouses during the term of the marriage, maintenance of medical insurance for the respective spouses; and the appropriateness of life insurance, including its availability and cost;
e) the duration of the marriage;
f) the amount of the property awarded or confirmed to the respective spouses;
g) the type and nature of the respective spouses’ assets; provided that potential proceeds from the sale of property by either spouse shall not be considered by the court, unless required by exceptional circumstances and the need to be fair to the parties;
h) the type and nature of the respective spouses’ liabilities;
i) income produced by property owned by the respective spouses; and
j) agreements entered into by the spouses in contemplation of the dissolution of marriage or legal separation.


Child Custody

In awarding child custody for a minor under the age of 14, the court will base its decision on the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including, but not limited to:

a) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his custody;
b) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;
c) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
d) the child’s adjustment to his home, school and community; and
e) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

If the minor child is older than 14, the court shall consider the desires of the minor as to with whom he wishes to live before awarding custody.


Child Support

New Mexico’s child support guidelines shall be applied to determine the child support due. Every order of child support that deviates from the guideline amount shall contain a statement of the reasons for the deviation. The purposes of the child support guidelines are to:

a) establish as state policy an adequate standard of support for children, subject to the ability of parents to pay;
b) make awards more equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment of persons in similar circumstances; and
c) improve the efficiency of the court process by promoting settlements and giving courts and the parties guidance in establishing levels of awards.


New Mexico Resources


Laws & Courts:

New Mexico Law – state statutes. Chapter 40, from Lexis Law Publishing.

Additional Resources:

State Bar of New Mexico – public information pamphlets and resources, court and legal news from the State Bar.
Children’s Rights Council – national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status.
DADS (Dads Against Discrimination) of New Mexico
Pat Chandler, Director
12301 Manitoba NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
(505) 299-2673

Public Access to Court Records –

New Mexico Case Information. Users can access case information from the New Mexico District Court, Magistrate Courts, and Municipal Courts. If searching for case information prior to 1997, you may need to contact the court in order to obtain the desired information.
Bernalillo County Cases requires a password.
(Source: National Center for State Courts)

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Additional Links

The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.