Alimony New Mexico laws can be difficult to understand if you have never been through a divorce before. Not only are you going through one of the hardest and more emotional parts of your life, but you also have to deal with the legal side of a separation.
This guide is going to tell you everything you need to know about New Mexico spousal maintenance.
Spousal Support New Mexico Explained
Spousal support, which is also referred to as alimony, is a financial payment made between two spouses during or after a divorce. In New Mexico, spousal support is designed to help someone become financially independent after having their partner around for some time. You receive this payment as a way to get back on your feet again.
Spousal support is available to both men and women in New Mexico. It is a gender-neutral order, and there is no preference for who receives or pays alimony. More women tend to receive spousal support. However, this does not mean that a man cannot request spousal support during a divorce proceeding.
How to Calculate Alimony in New Mexico
Once the judge in a case has decided that alimony is going to be appropriate after divorce, they are going to have to calculate spousal support. Namely, this is going to include the amount of money a spouse receives based on their needs, as well as how long these payments should last for.
– Amount of Alimony
Let’s examine how you calculate alimony in New Mexico. The amount of alimony someone recipients is going to be directly proportional to what they need. In other words, a judge considers what the requirements are financially for that spouse after divorce. This could be to cover certain bills, property, and even medical insurance.
Standard of living is considered greatly when it comes to the amount of alimony awarded. This is because someone should be able to maintain the standard of living they are used to when they separate from their partner. If one spouse is not able to do this and needs financial support, an amount will be awarded so that they can do so.
Something important to know is that there are New Mexico alimony guidelines. Note that this is not a mandatory formula or a calculation that is going to determine the amount of alimony. Instead, it is there for settlement purposes, and parties should think about these guidelines when they are presenting to the court.
The guideline states that if there is no child support agreement, a spouse can receive 30 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 50 percent of the recipient’s gross income. Alternatively, with a child support agreement, the award can be 28 percent of the payor’s gross income minus 58 percent of recipient’s gross income.
– Duration of Alimony
A judge is going to consider the best duration for alimony. Most of the time, they want to make this a measure only for as long as it is necessary. Often, New Mexico judges will not consider spousal support for a very short marriage.
The purpose of alimony on a lot of occasions is to help people get back on their feet. In addition, the payor should be able to provide this financial support in a way that is reasonable for them too. A financial award will not be given for longer than needs be.
A lot of the time, it is common for New Mexico judges to only award temporary spousal support. That is unless you have been married for a very long time, such as over 20 years. This is not an exclusive ruling, but it is something to be aware of. Permanent alimony is only granted in the cases that really justify this level of financial support.
How to Pay Alimony in New Mexico
The most common way to pay alimony in New Mexico is by check. This is done every month as a regular payment to the recipient. It is often the easiest way for someone to pay spousal support, as well as offer a good income flow to those receiving alimony.
First, there is rehabilitative spousal support. This is a payment that is made to a spouse undergoing training or education in order to be self-support financially. Often, this is a temporary award that is designed to help you get back on your feet. Note that the support may only be available if you complete the training or education you embark on.
Next, there is transitional spousal support. Just as the name suggests, this is a financial payment that is going to help you transition to the new life of being single and separated from your partner. So, this payment might be to help you until you find somewhere to live or a job to support yourself.
Lump-sum spousal support is given in one payment and is designed to help those that need financial assistance. The judge can order a lump-sum payment in cases where that is appropriate. This means that the person will pay a fixed amount once, and that is their responsibility completed. It might be appropriate if one person is going to sell a property or has a lot of money in the bank. It can be for a temporary amount of time.
There is also indefinite spousal support that can be permanent. This is reserved for those that need a lot of support after a divorce due to hardship and dependence.
How to Avoid Paying Alimony in New Mexico
There are two ways you can avoid paying alimony. The first is to request a modification in court. Alternatively, you can explore the options that lead to termination when a receiving spouse has completed their training or education or remarried.
– Modification of alimony
There are going to be some circumstances where you are able to modify the alimony order. This can lead to paying less money to a spouse. But, note that this avenue is not one taken lightly. Changes are not made to the order unless it is necessary.
In order to modify alimony, a request has to be submitted to the court. A New Mexico judge is going to take a look at the circumstances and whether it is going to be best to change the spousal support.
A significant financial change is going to be necessary to merit lowering spousal support payments. For instance, if you have a new health problem that affects your ability to work, this could be a situation that would lower alimony payments. Alternatively, you might have lost your job altogether.
However, there are some instances where spousal support cannot change. This includes a lump-sum agreement. In addition, if the agreement has a clause that states the order cannot be modified, then this is going to stand.
– Termination of Alimony
If the alimony is a temporary measure, the parties involved might know the date of when the spousal support will end. Alternatively, it can be terminated when a receiving spouse has completed their training or education.
But, there are other situations that lead to the termination of alimony. Namely, this can be when the person receiving spousal support remarried. It is no longer the obligation and responsibility of their ex-spouse to support them in a financial way. Alternatively, if one of the parties dies, this is going to end the agreement for alimony between them.
Another way to avoid paying spousal support is to stop this from becoming a request in the first place. In other words, if you sign a prenuptial agreement, this is something that you can rule out later on. You can write terms into the contract that state spousal support is not going to be an option for either spouse if you are to divorce.
Of course, a prenuptial agreement has to be signed and agreed to by both parties. This is what makes it a legally binding contract. Partners should be aware of what they are signing so that it can remain watertight during a divorce.
– How to Request Alimony Payments?
New Mexico divorce laws are different from other areas in the United States. Namely, a party is not going to automatically be considered for alimony. Instead, if someone feels like they need to be financially supported following a separation, this is something they have to request during the divorce proceedings.
Thus, be prepared to request alimony in court. You will also have to be prepared and justify why this is the case. This includes having evidence that you need financial support. This could be proving an ailment or disability that prevents you from working, or it could be evidence to show you are undergoing education but need financial support in the meantime.
– What are the Main Types of Alimony in New Mexico?
New Mexico is a state that offers several different types of alimony. This is to ensure that the people that need financial help are able to obtain it. Namely, there are four types of alimony you need to be aware of:
- rehabilitative spousal support
- transitional spousal support
- lump-sum spousal support
- indefinite spousal support
– What are the Factors That a New Mexico Court Considers When Awarding Alimony?
Judges think very carefully about whether alimony should be awarded during a divorce. Namely, they are going to take things on a case-by-case basis. But, there is some help for them along the way. This includes a balance test. This is going to help them decide whether spousal support is the right option in each case.
The first thing they are going to consider is the age and health of the spouses, as well as their current and future earnings. In addition, the balancing test requires judges to consider good faith and whether spouses will make an effort to maintain their current employment, plus work toward being self-supporting.
Other elements a judge is going to consider include the spouses and their liabilities. The assets they have will be considered, and any agreements that may already have been entered into by the parties.
– Can You Stop Paying Spousal Support?
It is not recommended that you simply stop paying spousal support. This is something that New Mexico authorities see as a serious crime, and you will be punished for going down this road. You may have legitimate reasons for wanting to stop paying spousal support. But, this should be taken up with the court rather than ignoring your legal responsibilities.
The person that receives the alimony can file a motion for enforcement against you. This means that a court is going to look at what is going on and could take your wages from you. You might also have to pay attorney fees. There is the possibility that you could be charged with contempt of court, which can lead to fines or time in prison.
Spousal support is an award that is given to people that really need it in New Mexico. It can do everything from helping to pay for training and education to supporting someone with their financial commitments after divorce. Let’s summarize the main points that you want to remember from this guide on alimony in New Mexico:
- Unlike other states across the country, New Mexico does not automatically consider alimony during a divorce, and it is something that has to be requested.
- There are several different types of spousal support available, which include rehabilitative spousal support, transitional spousal support, lump-sum spousal suppor, and indefinite spousal support.
- There are alimony guidelines in New Mexico that are not there as a mandatory formula but to help guide judges during difficult divorce cases.
- It is common for temporary spousal support to be awarded in New Mexico, which means financial support is only going to be for a reasonable amount of time.
- There can be serious consequences for refusing to pay spousal support in New Mexico, such as fines and a prison sentence.
When you know the laws surrounding spousal support, this can give you a head start in the courtroom. You can ensure that you are getting a fair and just result in your divorce and that you are receiving what you need or only paying what is necessary.
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