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What guidelines are used in New Mexico to determine alimony?

When couples in New Mexico decide to end their marriage, they might question their rights in the divorce process as well as the guidelines imposed by the courts for certain decisions. Because it might be difficult to come to terms or an agreement on certain issues, using court guidelines could help the spouses reach a reasonable or amicable agreement. One major issue that could often lead to disputes during dissolution is alimony. Some couples will question how spousal support payments are awarded and how a certain amount is reached.

When courts in New Mexico address divorce legal issues such as spousal support, they will address the alimony guidelines and commentaries provided to the courts in the state. Alimony guidelines could be a useful tool, especially when spouses do not see eye-to-eye on a month payment.

In these cases, courts will look at the New Mexico Statutory Factors contained in section E. Judges will look at the age and health of both spouses and will consider the means of support for the respective spouses. The court will also look at the current and potential future earning capacity of each spouse. There also needs to be indication that both spouses have made a good faith effort to maintain employment or become self-supporting if they were not employed during the marriage.

The financial needs of the spouse seeking alimony will be based on the standard of living the spouses experienced in the duration of the marriage. In addition, medical insurance maintenance and the appropriateness of life insurance will be considered when reaching an amount for spousal support payments.

Furthermore, the duration of the marriage, the property and assets awarded to each spouse, liabilities of each spouse and any agreement entered into in contemplation of divorce or separation will be considered. After considering these factors, the judge will look at the alimony guideline amount to determine an appropriate payment agreement.

While courts have guidelines to follow, divorcing couples could still reach an agreement on their own regarding alimony payments. Whether a divorcing couple seeks to obtain, enforce, modify or end alimony payments, it is important that they understand their rights and options regarding any of these actions. This will ensure their rights and interests and served and protected.

Source: Nmcourts.com, "Alimony Guidelines and Commentaries," accessed on Oct. 21, 2014

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