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Call us at: (505) 881-2566
2727 San Pedro NE • Suite 114 • Albuquerque, NM 87110

FAQs

FAQs – Divorce & Legal Separation

What does “Dissolution of Marriage” mean?

“Dissolution of Marriage” is just another way of saying divorce. When two people get divorced, they are dissolving the marriage. Once the judge signs the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, the spouses are no longer married to each other.

What is Legal Separation?

If the spouses no longer wish to live together and they want to make legally enforceable agreements on how to divide their property and debts, or how they will raise the children, they can do this by obtaining a legal separation without getting divorced.

Is a Legal Separation process different from a divorce?

In New Mexico, you go through the same exact court process and deal with the same exact issues (property, debt, children, and alimony) in a legal separation as for a divorce, except at the end of a Legal Separation, you are still technically married to each other and cannot marry someone else.

Leaving ring and key on table with packed bag

My spouse and I don’t live together any more – are we legally separated?

Just living in separate households or no longer having intimate relations does not mean you are “legally separated”. That status requires a court order.

What issues need to be settled to finish a divorce or legal separation?

There are four issues that need to be settled to finish a divorce or legal separation: Property, Debt, Minor Children (custody, visitation & child support) and Spousal Support / Alimony.

What is a Divorce Lawyer? Are they different than other lawyers?

A divorce lawyer is an attorney who represents people going through a divorce. Divorce lawyers are also referred to as a family law attorneys, domestic relations attorneys, matrimonial lawyers, and other names. Such lawyers also handle custody and visitation cases where the parents are not married to each other. They also usually represent clients in domestic violence cases, grandparent visitation or guardianship cases, legal separations, etc. Basically, if the situation involves a family breaking up or raising children, most divorce lawyers can handle it. Note that not all family law attorneys handle adoptions.

Do I have to go to Court if we have an Uncontested Divorce?

A true uncontested divorce is one where both spouses have reached agreement on all issues of dividing property and debt, alimony, and the children (custody, visitation and child support). In those situations, it’s a matter of preparing the appropriate court pleadings, submitting them to the judge to review and approve, and then getting the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage issued – all of which can be done without ever appearing in court or seeing the judge face to face.

FAQs – Just Got Served?

I was just served with court papers – what do I do now?

Take a DEEP breath. Do it again. Find a quiet place, sit down, and read through the papers once to look for the date and time of any court hearing or deadline to file an Answer or responsive pleading. Then read through all the paperwork slowly and try to understand the gist of the legal language. Write down questions you have. Don’t feel stupid if you’re unable to comprehend everything. Lawyers went to school for many years and use their own language.

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FAQs – Child Support

How is child support determined in New Mexico?

Child support in New Mexico is set by the statute known as the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines. It is a straight forward formula that looks at the gross income (before taxes and withholdings) of both parents, multiplied by the number of children.  The formula tells you what the “base” child support will be.  Added to the base child support is the cost of medical insurance just for the children and the cost of work-related daycare. Sometimes there are “additional expenses” put on the child support worksheet such as private school tuition, regular medical expenses (orthodontist work, prescription medication, co-pays for therapy, etc.) and the cost of car insurance for teenage drivers.
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FAQs – Custody & Visitation in New Mexico

What’s the difference between custody and visitation?

“Custody” addresses whether one or both parents has the power to make decisions about the child whereas “visitation” covers when the child will spends time in each parent’s care.

What does “joint custody” mean?

Child custody means decision-making power, not when the children spend time with each parent. Parents most often receive joint legal custody in New Mexico.  Joint custody means that each parent has the right and responsibility to participate in making decision about five key areas of the child’s life such as:

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FAQs – Divorce & The Family Business

When a couple owns a family business, the divorce has to deal with the breakup of both the family and the business.

How is the business taken into account in a divorce?

If a couple starts a business while married, then the business is community property, even if only one spouse actually worked in the business. It is valued like any other kind of community property (house, investments, retirement benefits, etc.), which means figuring out what the business is worth (assets minus debts the business owes).
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FAQs – Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

When there is recent abusive behavior between a couple – whether physical violence or severe emotional or sexual abuse – you can obtain a restraining order against your spouse or partner under the Family Violence Protection Act.  NMSA §40-13-1 et seq.  It is not necessary to call the police to obtain a restraining order, but please call the police if you or your children are in immediate physical danger.  For further information, see Detailed Answer below.
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FAQs – Paternity Cases

Establishing paternity is very important to a child or children. It provides many emotional benefits for the child or children and legally entitles the children to the same rights as those of a child whose parents are married.
Father with Son on Back

What is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal status of fatherhood. In New Mexico, this means that a court or government agency has determined which individual is biologically the child’s father, often through paternity (DNA) testing. It can also be established voluntarily by the parents when they sign an affidavit and file it with the Department of Health. A paternity case involves minor children when the parents are not in a legally recognized marriage.
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I appreciate everything Mary Ann and her team have done for my children, and myself, which entailed so much. Everyone’s support was wonderful, and so needed, during such a brutal, emotional, and heartbreaking time.   M.F.
2017-03-31T16:04:38+00:00
I appreciate everything Mary Ann and her team have done for my children, and myself, which entailed so much. Everyone’s support was wonderful, and so needed, during such a brutal, emotional, and heartbreaking time.   M.F.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your representation. I can’t tell you how confident and comfortable I felt having you represent me and the peace of mind that brought was worth more than I could...
2017-03-31T16:22:11+00:00
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your representation. I can’t tell you how confident and comfortable I felt having you represent me and the peace of mind that brought was worth more than I could have imagined.  I never once felt that you were working without my best interests in mind and contrary to my ex-husband’s experience, the expenses incurred were reasonable and fair, and I believe you were diligent about not incurring additional costs unless they were absolutely necessary.   A.N.

The day I walked into your office I did not believe that my life would take such a toil on my life, the fact and promise you made that you would never leave my side at any point even when...
2017-04-03T10:55:47+00:00
The day I walked into your office I did not believe that my life would take such a toil on my life, the fact and promise you made that you would never leave my side at any point even when I just couldn’t find the strength to open emails because it was so painful to read has defined a new beginning for me.  I am back in NM and I will never look back thinking that he got the best of me, because you kept your promise to me and because I am doing it; I am living life again!D.A. D.A.

Going through a divorce is an agonizing process, the emotional distress was overwhelming at times and the financial implications only exacerbated my anxiety. On top of that I had to hire a lawyer and hope that they would be professional,...
2017-04-03T10:56:15+00:00
Going through a divorce is an agonizing process, the emotional distress was overwhelming at times and the financial implications only exacerbated my anxiety. On top of that I had to hire a lawyer and hope that they would be professional, reliable and honest. I found that at NM Divorce & Custody and can’t express how fortunate I felt to have had Mary Ann Burmester’s representation in what I thought was going to be a quick divorce. Mary Ann is sharp, knowledgeable and honest. She gave me recommendations that I felt comfortable in taking and I never felt her representation didn’t have my best interests in mind. Mary Ann was an excellent advocate when my husband’s lawyer was requesting things from me that were completely unnecessary and had no purpose other than escalating expenses. She and her team were on top of things from day one, leaving me no doubt I’d made the right choice. I’d recommend them to absolutely anyone. A.B.

I want to give NM Custody & Divorce LLC a HUGE THANK YOU, for your professionalism, but most of all your patience and kindness. My experience with your firm was amazing start to finish, in such a difficult time in...
2017-04-03T10:56:42+00:00
I want to give NM Custody & Divorce LLC a HUGE THANK YOU, for your professionalism, but most of all your patience and kindness. My experience with your firm was amazing start to finish, in such a difficult time in my life, your team made me feel supported not just legally but with your concern. Ms. Burmester is an amazing women and attorney her and your firm have my highest recommendation!!   C.S.