When spouses file for divorce, they often wish to finalize the proceedings as soon as possible. How long it takes to get an official divorce in New Mexico depends on a number of factors, including residency, disputes, children, and joint assets, if any. The quickest way to finalize a complex New Mexico divorce is to work with a soon-to-be ex-spouse to develop detailed post-divorce agreements and expedite the judicial review process. Even so, there are certain minimum wait times applicable to divorce proceedings in Albuquerque.
It’s not uncommon for one spouse to move after a legal separation. She may leave the state or county where she resided with her spouse, and this may present some problems for filing divorce papers in New Mexico. You must be domiciled, which means living with the intent to remain indefinitely in New Mexico for at least six (6) months to file for divorce in Albuquerque. Further, you must file for divorce in the county where you have a residence. Parties staying with friends or with an out-of-state spouse may have to file an explanatory affidavit or supporting documents with divorce papers if a spouse challenges the jurisdiction of filing. This may extend the wait time necessary to finalize a divorce in New Mexico.
Mandatory Wait Period & Waiver for Divorce in Albuquerque
There is a mandatory thirty (30) day waiting period between service of divorce papers and when the judge can officially sign the dissolution of marriage decree in Albuquerque. This period may only be waived if all of the following are true:
- Both parties agree to the waiver in writing,
- There are no children (biological or adopted) to the marriage, i.e., the children’s legal parents are not the divorcing parties, and
- The divorcing parties have been living separately for at least thirty (30) days prior to filing the waiver request
The fastest spouses with children can get a legal divorce in Albuquerque is thirty (30) days from the date of service (not the date of filing). The party served with divorce papers has thirty (30) days to respond. If he/she does not respond or contest the divorce, the divorce will be finalized when the judge signs the dissolution order. Be advised, however, that a divorce is not automatically entered after thirty (30) days. This is simply the soonest an Albuquerque family law judge is permitted to sign the divorce decree, and he/she may have questions, request additional information, or take extra time to review any post-marital agreements and child custody requests before signing the dissolution of marriage order.
Expediting Complex Divorces in Albuquerque
Even complex divorces can be accomplished in thirty (30) days if the parties and their attorneys provided the court with the following for review:
- A settlement and distribution agreement identifying and distributing joint assets, i.e., the house, cars, bank accounts, furniture, pension plan
- A proposed parenting plan (child custody agreement), if applicable
- A child support worksheet and proposed additional child support and child expense distribution, if applicable
The parties are free to agree on the distribution of assets but can only propose a parenting plan and child support agreement. The judge must determine whether the proposed child support and custody agreements are in the best interest of the children, and he/she may appoint a guardian ad litem to speak on the children’s behalf. Experienced Albuquerque domestic relations judges may reject or modify these agreements if the parties have failed to address all potential issues. The more complex the asset distribution and parenting proposal, the longer it takes to finalize a divorce in New Mexico.
The parties to a complex divorce can head off these delays by hiring a private guardian ad litem to represent the children and submit a best interest report with the parenting plan. Experienced Albuquerque divorce attorneys will also ensure that each “best interest” factor is addressed in writing, and the proposals submitted to the court are in the proper form.
Common Reasons It Takes Longer than 30 Days to Get a Divorce in Albuquerque
One of the biggest reasons divorce proceedings are delayed in Albuquerque is because one or both of the parties won’t work together outside the courtroom. They may fail to come to an asset or custody agreement, fail to submit the proper paperwork, or otherwise file motions and request hearings that delay divorce proceedings. Divorces that start as uncontested proceedings often develop into heated disputes as Albuquerque judges and divorce lawyers force the parties to consider aspects of a divorce, i.e., social security benefits, healthcare decisions for children, and religious rearing, they never considered when filing the initial petition for divorce. Proceedings are also delayed if a judge disagrees with the parties as to what’s in the best interest of the children or discovers potential abuse.
Overall, the fastest way to get a divorce in Albuquerque is to work on any applicable post-divorce agreements as soon as the petition for divorce is filed. Working together to address every potential post-divorce issue in accordance with New Mexico law, including hiring a guardian ad litem for children, is the only way to truly expedite complex divorces in New Mexico. Hiring a divorce attorney at Legal Solutions of New Mexico will give you knowledge and support for the fastest way to get a divorce as well.