Divorce and legal separation in New Mexico involve the same process, but the difference between the two lies on whether or not a couple has plans of tying the knot with someone else.
For instance, a divorce lawyer in Albuquerque will most likely advise against pursuing a legal separation if either you or your spouse plans to remarry in the future. A legally separated couple only works when both parties oppose a divorce because of their religious affiliation. Remember that you would have to repeat the same steps of a legal separation in case you want to be married again.
Rules and Requirements
Divorcing couples should ideally live in the state for at least six months before they could file for a divorce. If that’s not possible, either one of them should meet this requirement for a court to accept your application. Those who file for legal separation shouldn’t have to wait for this long, except when they have children. In this case, a court would only have the capacity to make a decision when a couple’s children have lived in New Mexico for six months.
It’s also rare for a spouse to reject a divorce successfully because of the state’s no-fault stance on the matter, which means that you or your partner could file for a divorce on the simple ground irreconcilable differences. On the other hand, some people have cited adultery and abuse as the reasons yet this would prolong your own case. When you declare a specific ground for divorce, a judge may require proof to substantiate your claims.
If you cannot afford an attorney yet don’t qualify for free legal aid at the same time, the state Supreme Court has looked into an initiative of legalizing civil services provided by non-lawyers. The limited license legal technician (LLLT) program may solve the shortage of lawyers, particularly in rural areas.
A Shortage of Lawyers
New Mexico plans to follow a similar program in Washington State, where the first LLLT program in the country offers legal advice on child custody and divorce. However, residents in New Mexico will have to wait until next year if the program materializes since training, licensing, and regulating non-lawyer technicians take time.
Washington State’s LLLT initiative has become a stable source of legal services, but this took six years after the state launched the initiative in 2013. For now, hiring a licensed lawyer remains the best option in New Mexico. Even when the state permits non-lawyers to offer legal advice, you should still seek a divorce attorney if there are complex issues to be resolved such as alimony and property division.
Divorce remains a better way to end your marriage and save time in the process. Unlike a legal separation, you won’t have to repeat the process when you suddenly change your mind and decide to marry again. While the state finds ways to solve a shortage of qualified attorneys, it shouldn’t be hard to find a divorce lawyer in Albuquerque where there are thousands of licensed practitioners.