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Albuquerque Divorce Law Blog

Helping you understand the benefits of divorce mediation

Divorce is never defined as a simple and easy process. In fact, many would describe it or presume that it is a challenging time filled with tears, fights and disappointment. While some spouses part ways because of the hostile situations involved in a union, this does not mean that these emotions have to carry over to the dissolution process.

Mediation has many benefits and advantages. It is unlike the traditional approach to divorce, because unlike litigation, spouses do not need to work through their divorce legal issues in the courtroom. At Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A., our experienced legal team understands that every relationship is unique; therefore, we help our clients approach the divorce process the best possible, meeting their needs and goals.

How does New Mexico child custody work?

New Mexico imposes child custody duties upon couples when they end their marriage or their relationships. These duties include meals, school attendance, medical care and recreational activities.

Courts rule on divorce petitions filed by spouses during divorce. Judges normally refer married parents to mediation to negotiate a plan for time sharing.

Divorce mediation has its advantages

Going to court is not the only way to reach a divorce settlement or decree in New Mexico. Divorce mediation may reduce the time, money and emotional stress that often accompany the end of a marriage.

The parties engage in mediation, also known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), outside the court and without the attendance of a judge. A neutral mediator listens to both spouses and makes recommendations on how the couple can settle their differences. The mediator should be a person who is familiar with divorce issues and recommending negotiated and creative solutions, such as a retired judge, lawyer, social worker or mental health professional.

What rights do grandparents in New Mexico possess?

The relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is very special, so anything that severs this bond may be distressing. In cases like this, grandparents may want to seek visitation rights.

New Mexico has one of the most liberal grandparents' rights laws in this country. They may receive visitation rights during or after a court hearing on paternity, legal separation or marriage dissolution. Courts can overrule the parents' wishes, even though they receive special consideration.

Helping children through divorce

Divorce and child custody disputes are difficult for the entire family but especially the children. Parents in Albuquerque can take steps to help ease their children through this time through planning and communication.

Parents should help their kids place the divorce in a certain perspective to ease their uncertainty and solitude. They can explain that other families, even celebrities they know, underwent divorce.

Is alimony taxed?

Divorce does not escape taxes. Federal taxes apply to alimony and have financial implications. Any support paid to a spouse or former spouse under a divorce decree, separate maintenance decree or a separation agreement. The spouse paying spousal support may claim it as a deduction. The recipient must treat alimony as income and pay federal taxes on it.

The Internal Revenue Service treats payments as spousal support when several requirements are met. The spouses do not file a joint return, payments are to or for a spouse under a divorce decree or separation agreement, payments are not designated as non-alimony and the funds are paid in cash, check or money order. Spouses cannot live in the same household if they are legally separated under a decree or separate maintenance. There is no liability for making payments after the recipient spouse dies.

Can former spouses receive survivor benefits?

A military marriage can be difficult to sustain, and some military spouses may eventually decide to divorce. One question that may come up when a military couple divorces in New Mexico is whether a service member's ex can collect survivor benefits.

Even if spouses undergo a military divorce, the ex-spouse may still receive coverage under the military's Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). They may be entitled to the same benefits as currently-married spouses.

Child custody considerations in a military divorce

Military families in New Mexico face unique challenges not faced by civilians. Deployment and frequent relocation can take a toll, and for some, divorce results. If the couple has children, this means that they will enter into a child custody and visitation agreement.

When the parents live near one another, it is relatively easy to establish an agreement. However, if a military parent has to relocate, far away from the child's home state, this can interfere with an existing child custody and visitation agreement.

Unpacking divorce mediation myths

Despite it being a viable way to settle a divorce out-of-court, some individuals in Albuquerque may be reluctant to participate in divorce mediation. However, if they can look past their misgivings and consider the positive aspects of divorce mediation, they may find it is the right choice for them.

For example, sometimes if a spouse doesn't want to divorce, he or she does not see why he or she should be a part of the mediation process. However, what they fail to recognize is that, in general, even if one spouse does not agree to it, the other spouse can still seek a divorce. Mediation allows both spouses to retain control over the divorce process, which may provide some stability during an emotionally difficult period in their lives.

Can an amicable divorce keep kids from getting sick as adults?

Parents in New Mexico going through a divorce may want to keep things as amicable as possible. Not only does this help the child emotionally but, as one recent study claims, it may also affect the child's future physical health as well.

According to researchers, children whose parents had an acrimonious divorce were more likely to have colds as adults. Specifically, when a child's parents were on non-speaking terms when they divorced, the child was three times more apt to catch a cold as an adult. Adults whose parents were able to communicate after a divorce were no more apt to catch a cold as adults than adults whose parents did not divorce.