When a married couple divorces in New Mexico, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony, also referred to as spousal support in New Mexico law, to the other spouse. New Mexico law defines alimony as a reasonable amount of support provided to a spouse. There are five different forms of alimony available to spouses under New Mexico law:
- Rehabilitative support that is intended to support a spouse while they are obtaining the education or training that they need to become financially independent
- Transitional support that is intended temporarily supplement the receiving spouse’s current income as they transition to being single
- Indefinite support which is intended to support a spouse for the rest of their life
- A set amount of support that is to be paid out over a set period of time that cannot be terminated early by anything, even if the receiving spouse dies
- A set amount of support to be paid out at set intervals that can only be terminated early if the receiving spouse dies
How Can I Qualify for Alimony?
New Mexican courts generally only grant alimony to spouses who can prove that they have a financial need for it. Thus, in order to qualify for alimony, you will need to be willing to prove that you actually need it. This, of course, also means that you must have been financially dependent on your spouse during the marriage, and the lack of access to your spouse’s income after the divorce will significantly impact your economic status in a negative manner. The court will also consider a number of other factors when determining whether to grant alimony, as well as what type of alimony should be granted, in your case. These factors include:
- Each spouse’s age and health
- The means of support and current earning capacity for each spouse
- Each spouse’s current and future income
- The spouses’ standard of living during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- Good faith efforts of each spouse to keep a job or support themselves
- The assets possessed by each spouse, including any property that was granted to each spouse during the division of property
- Any agreements that the spouses may have entered into when considering a divorce or separation
How Much Alimony Can I Receive?
New Mexico’s only limit on the amount of alimony one may receive is that the amount is just and proper with respect to the circumstances of the marriage and the divorce. The amount you may receive generally depends on the type of alimony the court grants to you. You may even receive alimony in the form of a lump sum or a piece of your spouse’s property. The court will determine just how much alimony you will receive and in what form you will receive it by considering the same factors that it considers when determining whether to grant alimony in general.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
The duration of your alimony will primarily depend on the type of alimony you are given. If you are awarded alimony that is intended to support you for the rest of your life, then it will likely continue until you die. However, if the alimony is only tended to help you get on your feet after the divorce, then it will not last for a long time. Additionally, if the alimony is awarded out of your spouse’s property or as a lump sum, then you will likely receive only a one-time payment.
Certain types of alimony may end earlier than the termination date set by the court in the original order for alimony. For instance, if the spouse receiving transitional alimony dies before the alimony is supposed to end, then the alimony will end when the spouse dies and not when the alimony is set to end. The court can also terminate alimony early if the circumstances surrounding alimony have changed, such as if the receiving spouse finds a better-paying job, unless the original order prohibits terminating the alimony early for that particular change in circumstances.
How Can I Petition for Alimony?
In order to petition for alimony, you will need to complete and file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which contains a section that allows you to declare your need for alimony. Once you have done this, you will need to serve the document to your spouse, as well as prepare to prove to the court that you actually do need alimony. A lawyer can be incredibly helpful when proving to the court that you need alimony because they know what sort of evidence the court will likely consider and help you make sure that you are not missing anything that could be beneficial.
However, if you and your spouse agree on all of the matters covered by a divorce, then you and your spouse and fill out and file a Martial Settlement Agreement along with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This will allow you to avoid having to prove to the court that you need alimony because the agreement will allow you and your spouse to not only agree that you need alimony, but also the amount and duration of alimony.
Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?
Going through a divorce can be difficult enough without having to worry about getting alimony, and having to worry about your financial situation will just add to your stress. Fortunately, a New Mexico divorce lawyer can help you obtain the alimony that you deserve. They can answer any questions that you may have regarding alimony and represent you in court during any hearings related to alimony.