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Albuquerque Divorce Law Blog

Settle an uncontested divorce through mediation

Even though divorce is often the best choice that Albuquerque couples stuck in a crumbling marriage can make, that doesn't mean that it's not stressful and confusing. This may be especially true for those whose divorce will ultimately go through a courtroom trial. However, there is an alternative to a lengthy and emotionally difficult courtroom trial -- divorce mediation. This may work especially well in an uncontested divorce, in which there aren't very many disagreements.

Mediation offers a number of benefits. Because it is non-adversarial in nature, mediation can help couples going through a divorce resolve their divorce issues together, rather than pitting one spouse against the other. In mediation, the spouses are ultimately in control of what will be discussed and what the final terms of their divorce agreement will be. Mediation may also be less costly and save time in comparison to the costs and time associated with a courtroom trial.

What does it mean for parents to share joint custody?

When parents in New Mexico decide to end their relationship, they naturally want to stay involved in their child's life. After all, even though their relationship with the child's other parent did not last, they still want to have a meaningful relationship with their child. This includes not just the amount of time they will spend with their child, but also what parenting rights they will have with regards to their child.

In New Mexico, courts in general start with the assumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to share joint custody. Joint custody includes the right to make major life decisions on behalf of the child. These include where the child will go to school, who the child's medical care providers will be and what kind of extracurricular activities the child will be involved in.

A spousal support award should be both fair and appropriate

Sometimes, after years or even decades of being married, a couple in Albuquerque will decide their marriage can no longer last, and they are best off getting a divorce. For some long-term marriages, there is a significant income discrepancy between each spouse, with one spouse earning a great deal more than the other spouse. This is especially true if one spouse stayed out of the workforce to raise a family while married.

Therefore, in situations like this the issue of spousal support is likely to come up. In New Mexico, there isn't a standard formula for calculating spousal support. However, there are a number of factors courts may consider when determining how much spousal support to award.

Grandparents' rights benefit both grandparents and children

For most grandparents in Albuquerque, their grandchildren are a source of pride and joy. They love their grandchildren with all their heart and naturally want to spend as much time with them as possible. However, this precious time can be cut off if the child's parents divorce. Sometimes, during a messy divorce, one parent will try to keep his or her ex's parents from seeing the child. This can have a detrimental effect on both the child and the grandparents. This is why, over the past few decades, grandparents' rights have been granted by courts in certain situations.

It is basically recognized that in order to mature into a healthy adult, a child needs to have contact with his or her grandparents and other relatives. In general, visitation rights may be given in situations in which the child's parents are divorced, and one parent is preventing the child from letting the grandparents have a chance to be a part of the child's life. This may also be the case if the child has been adopted or if the child has been placed in foster care.

What factors are considered when awarding alimony in New Mexico?

Usually when two spouses in New Mexico divorce, they do not want much to do with one another. However, one way that they will stay tethered to one another (whether they like it or not) is through alimony. While a spouse may be reluctant to pay alimony to their ex, it is often necessary for the receiving spouse to get back on their feet financially. Moreover, alimony payments need not continue indefinitely. Therefore, individuals who are getting a divorce may wonder how courts decide upon an appropriate amount of alimony.

Under New Mexico statutes section 40-4-7, there are several factors the court will consider when determining how much alimony should be awarded in a divorce. One factor that will be considered is how old each party is and the condition of their health. Each party's current earning potential and future earning potential may also be considered. Each party's good-faith efforts to find or keep a job so that they can support themselves may also be considered.

What choices do couples in a divorce have for an amicable split?

It may be the case that a couple thinks the only way they can divorce is by duking it out with bulldog attorneys in the courtroom. However, the end result of divorce litigation comes at a price, emotionally and financially. Rather than trying to punish one's ex, other more cooperative methods of divorce resolution may be a possibility for couples in New Mexico who want to part ways in a more positive manner.

One option is divorce mediation. The popularity of mediation has gone up in recent years. Couples and their respective attorneys can enlist the service of a mediator, who is a neutral party who serves as a facilitator for the couple to resolve their divorce legal issues. Some of these issues may include child custody, child support, spousal support and asset division. The end result of mediation may be an agreement that is mutually satisfactory to both parties. Mediation can also provide a couple with the privacy they would not be afforded if their divorce was litigated, and in some cases mediation can also save time and money.

Determining what a grandparent's visitation rights should be

The bond between grandparents and their grandchild can be significant. Grandparents in New Mexico get to enjoy seeing their grandchildren grow, just as they saw their own children grow, and grandchildren benefit from the wisdom and love their grandparents pass on to them. However, there are times where grandparents are kept from seeing their grandchild, such as in the event of a nasty divorce. When this happens, grandparents may want to petition the court for visitation rights.

When considering such a petition, there are a number of statutory factors that will be considered. These include the best interests of the child, the grandparent's previous interactions with the child and each of the child's parents, the current relationship the grandparent has with each of the child's parents, any grandparent visitation arrangements that currently exist, whether the grandparent has been abusive or neglectful in the past and whether the grandparent served as the full-time caretake of the child for a certain amount of time.

Tax season is here -- make sure to account for alimony

The deadline for filing your income taxes is quickly looming. While some residents in Albuquerque may be daydreaming about what they're going to do with their anticipated tax refund, they should keep in mind that they must report all sources of income. The failure to do so could lead to tax problems down the road.

Of course, it may seem obvious that income earned through work needs to be reported. However, for some divorced couples it doesn't end there. What they may not know is that if they are paying or receiving alimony -- also known as spousal support -- they may need to report so on their taxes.

Retaining TRICARE eligibility after a military divorce

A military divorce presents certain unique issues that those in the process of getting a civilian divorce do not face. For example, in a civilian divorce in New Mexico it is expected that once the divorce is final and the marriage is dissolved, an ex-spouse will not be covered his or her ex's health care insurance. However, there are two circumstances in a military divorce in which the non-service member spouse can remain eligible for TRICARE, albeit on his or her own name and Social Security number.

The first circumstance is known as the "20-20-20" rule. Under the 20-20-20 rule, a non-service member spouse may remain eligible for TRICARE after a divorce if: the service member spouse had a minimum of 20 years worth of creditable service towards determining how much he or she would receive in retirement; the couple's marriage lasted at least two decades; and all 20 years of marriage coincide with the 20 years of creditable service going towards the service member's retirement.

Grandparent custody involves many issues

Child custody poses numerous grandparents' rights issues. The issues associated with grandparent custody may have long-lasting consequences for grandparents and children.

There are times that grandparents may be awarded guardianship or custody, especially of the parents are unable to care for their children. While physical custody may be awarded, grandparents my not have the legal power to make decisions on that child's behalf. Grandparents may have to seek agreement from the child's parents on many parts of the custody arrangement. Formal agreements may help specify each party's responsibilities and rights.