How to File for Divorce in New Mexico

How to file divorce in new mexico

The divorce process can be very stressful and difficult, especially without the correct resources to get started.

That’s where we come in.

Here’s a beginner’s guide for many of the important things you’ll need to know if you’re filing for a divorce in New Mexico.

What Information Should You Gather and Prepare for Divorce in New Mexico?

important information

To ensure the best possible outcome for your divorce, it’s critical to gather all the crucial documents you’ll need. Being organized as you gather these documents can also save you time, money, and aggravation.

Your attorney won’t be able to help you and negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf unless they are also armed with facts and information to support your assertions.

Read: Ultimate Divorce Checklist.

How Do You Determine Which Divorce Procedure to Use in New Mexico?

Determine Which Divorce Procedure to Use

You have several options available to you when deciding how you want to divorce in New Mexico. Deciding which way to go will be based in part how much trust you have with your spouse, what kinds of issues that you have to resolve, and how much animosity there is between the two of you.

Here are the ways you can proceed:

Do-It-Yourself divorce. This works best when you and your spouse agree on all the issues in advance, and you can file paperwork with the court on your own. This is the fastest, cheapest way to get a divorce. You may not even have to appear in front of a judge, or if you do, it will only be for a brief time to answer a few simple questions.

Online divorce. You retain an online service or an attorney to help you complete forms that you will then file on your own at the courthouse. The best resource for this is called 3 Step Divorce.

Divorce mediation. You and your spouse meet with a neutral third party who helps you negotiate agreements for any issues that you can’t resolve on your own. When you agree, you create a proposal and present it to the court for approval.

Collaborative divorce. If you still have a decent amount of trust and cooperation with your spouse, both of you can retain collaborative divorce attorneys, and the four of you will attempt to work together to resolve your differences.

Litigation. This is a traditional approach to divorce where you and your spouse employ attorneys who attempt to negotiate a settlement before proceeding to a trial. This way is usually a bit more contentious and formal that more collaborative approaches above.

Arbitration. This is similar to mediation, but instead of a third-party mediator, you will work with a third party, often a private judge. The judge will listen to arguments on both sides regarding unresolved issues and then issue a binding ruling. A spouse may go this route when there is a fair amount of conflict, but they don’t want the public exposure, cost, and attention that a full trial brings.

Related: The Types of Divorce: An In-Depth Guide

What are the Necessary Forms to Prepare for a New Mexico Divorce?

Necessary Forms to Prepare

The exact forms you’ll need will depend on the circumstances of your case. At a minimum, you’ll start the process by filing either a Dissolution of Marriage Without Children or a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With Children. You must use the latter form if you have any children who are under 19 who are still in high school. You’ll also submit an information sheet when you file as well.

You can download a complete list of forms from the New Mexico Judicial Court website. Go here to view the list.

How Do You File Your Forms for a Divorce in New Mexico?

How Do You File Your Forms for a Divorce

Once your forms are complete, you will file them at the district courthouse in the jurisdiction where you or your spouse lives. You must file the forms in person, and you will be required to pay a filing fee when you do. In New Mexico, that generally runs around $130.

How do you Serve Your Forms on your Spouse in a New Mexico Divorce?

After your forms have been filed with the court, you must legally notify your spouse of your intention to divorce them. This means they must be served paperwork that you filed so that they have a chance to officially respond as a defendant in the case.

To serve paperwork, you can ask any person over 18 deliver the paperwork to the defendant, or you can hire a deputy sheriff to serve the paperwork, or you can mail the paperwork via certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested.

After the paperwork has been served, you’ll have to file a proof of service with the court. Exactly how this is completed will depend on which method of service you choose.

Once you or your spouse has filed for divorce, what are the steps for getting a divorce in New Mexico?

The steps for getting a divorce differ a little bit depending on which method you choose, but some things are common for all divorces.

After the paperwork has been served and you have filed a proof of service, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition. Your spouse can either agree with the petition or contest the terms of the divorce and request a hearing in front of a judge.

Within 45 days after the petitioner has filed for divorce, both spouses must exchange financial information as part of the disclosure process. You must reveal all assets, debts, income, and expenses.

After disclosure has taken place, you may go through mediation, collaboration, or start the litigation process.

Once all issues have been resolved, one way or another, a judge will approve a settlement agreement, and your divorce will be complete.

FAQs About Getting a Divorce in New Mexico

How much does it cost to file for a divorce in New Mexico?

cost to file for a divorce

Filing may vary slightly from court to court, but expect filing costs to be about $130. If you have a deputy sheriff serve papers for you, there will be a small fee on top on that as well.

Learn More: How Much Does Divorce Cost?

Can divorce fees be waived in New Mexico?

If you can prove that you are financially challenged, you can request a waiver of fees from the court. You will need to complete a form, provide documentation, and wait for a response.

Can I file for divorce online in New Mexico?

divorce online

You can work with an online service or a private attorney through email to help you prep your forms, but you will need to file your paperwork in person at the courthouse when you are ready.

Our favorite resource for a fast and effective online divorce is: 3 Step Divorce.

3 Step Divorce checks all the boxes that make an online divorce worthwhile.

They aim to make it easy – and they certainly deliver.

From step-by-step instructions to unlimited live support, here are just a few of the reasons why 3 Step is our #1 recommended online divorce resource:

  • Affordable
    • $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
  • Flexible
    • Monthly payment options as low as $84/mo
  • Fast
    • Initial questionnaire takes less than 1 hour
  • Informative
    • Library of free tools and resources
  • Supportive
    • Unlimited access to support agents by phone or email
  • Instantaneous
    • Immediate access to completed forms
  • Guaranteed
    • Assurance of 100% court-approval (or your money back!)

3 Step Divorce also boasts the highest customer rating in the industry (4.6 stars based on 1,575 reviews).

3 Step Divorce Rating

You can learn more by reading our 3StepDivorce review.

Better yet, you can Start Your 3 Step Divorce NOW (as low as $84/month).

Can I file for divorce without a lawyer?

 file for divorce without a lawyer

Yes. You are never required to hire an attorney to represent you. In some cases, you can handle the divorce by yourself if it is uncontested. However, if there are unresolved issues, your best bet is to seek legal help to protect your interests.

What are the residency requirements for getting a divorce in New Mexico?

Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for six months immediately preceding when you file for divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce in New Mexico? What is the timeline?

How long does it take

It depends. If you go through an uncontested divorce, you may be able to get the courts to approve a final settlement in 30 to 90 days. Much of this will depend on the court’s backlog and a judge’s availability.

For mediation or collaborative divorce, the process can easily take 4-6 months or more, depending on what issues you have and how quickly you can resolve them.

More contentious divorces, especially those that make it to trial, can take as long as two years (maybe longer) depending on how much animosity there is and how complex the issues are.

Learn More: How Long Does Divorce Take?

Can I file for divorce in New Mexico while I am pregnant?

divorce while I am pregnant

You can file for divorce at any time, but a judge may delay a final settlement approval until paternity can be established for the child. This may have to be done through genetic testing. Often this does not take place until after the child is born. The reason for this is that both parents have a shared responsibility to care for the child.

It is best to consult an attorney for your specific situation, especially if there are extenuating circumstances.

If I (or my spouse) am in the military, how does that affect filing for divorce?


A military servicemember can file where they claim their legal residence or in the state where they are stationed. The nonmilitary spouse can also file a divorce in New Mexico if that’s where he or she resides.

Civilian courts handle the divorce for servicemembers, and many of the issues are the same as they are for a civilian divorce. But some things are different.

For example, child custody and visitation issues can be more complicated due to relocation or deployment orders.

Also, pursuant to the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) of 1940, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) of 1982, active-duty members are afforded certain protections.

For example, a military spouse can request a delay in divorce proceedings so that his or her military duties are impacted. A service member can delay a legal action when he or she is on active duty plus 60 days beyond the end of his or her enlistment.

The USFSPA also governs how military pensions are disbursed and whether or not a former military spouse has full medical and commissary privileges.

For this to happen, the former spouse must have been married at least 20 years; the military spouse had at least 20 years of creditable service, and those two overlapped by at least 20 years.

Also, a divorce filed overseas can be complicated. U.S. courts may not recognize a foreign divorce, so it’s usually best to file in the United States.

Looking for more great tips about filing for divorce? Check out a few of our favorite resources:

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