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Contested and Uncontested Divorce in New Mexico

Grounds for Divorce

In New Mexico, there are four recognized grounds for divorce:

  • Incompatibility
  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty


Of the four, incompatibility (known as a no-fault divorce) is far and away the most common type of divorce filing. Prior to the second half of the twentieth century, there was no such thing as no fault divorce. In order to get divorced, one spouse had to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other. Eventually, lawyers and judges began to see that this was motivating people to make up evidence in their divorce proceedings, thereby perjuring themselves. They saw no-fault divorce as a way to remove this incentive for perjury.

There is no defense to a no-fault divorce. If one spouse claims there are irreconcilable differences, that is sufficient to support a divorce proceeding.

Contested and Uncontested Divorce in New Mexico Graphic

Types of Divorce – Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Broadly speaking, there are two types of divorce – contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, the spouses meet in court to hammer out the terms of their divorce. This is what many might think of as a traditional divorce, and it is typically the most expensive and slowest way to get divorced. However, that is not to say there aren’t many situations where a contested divorce is the best option. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, if you believe the other party might be hiding assets, or if you suspect they might otherwise be attempting to take advantage of you, a contested divorce may be the best way to ensure your interests are protected.

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses must be in complete agreement on every aspect of their divorce when they file their paperwork with the state. They must determine the division of their assets, the custody, support, and visitation schedule for their children, spousal support, and more. In short marriages with small assets and debts and no children, the spouses may be able to work out these details on their own. However, in the majority of cases, it’s a better idea to seek some professional help.

Couples who file an uncontested divorce might negotiate their issues via the collaborative divorce process, or through divorce mediation. Both of these methods have the same goal – to keep the divorce negotiations out of court. To learn more about these divorce options, take a look at this video:

Whether you choose a traditional, contested divorce, a collaborative divorce, or to go through divorce mediation, PJ Hartman has the skills and experience necessary to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Call today to set up a divorce consultation.