In New Mexico, alimony is often referred to as spousal support and the two names are often used interchangeably. The purpose of spousal support/alimony is not necessarily to equalize income. Nor is it to punish one or the other spouses as New Mexico is a no-fault divorce state. Instead, it is used to balance income. The New Mexico Courts order alimony to insure that the spouse with less income is able to maintain a lifestyle commensurate to that before the divorce.
Spousal support/alimony is not mandatory in New Mexico, but judges will often follow the Alimony Guidelines developed by the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque. Most New Mexico Courts will at least consult the Alimony Guidelines in the determination of spousal support. As such, the Alimony Guidelines will provide a pretty good idea of whether your case will warrant alimony from either party.
While there are several elements the Court considers when deciding whether or not to order spousal support/alimony, the threshold determination is the length of spouses‘ marriage. The Court will generally not order spousal support/alimony in cases where the parties getting divorced have been married for less than ten years, absent exceptional circumstances.
If the Court determines that the length of marriage warrants further review of a party‘s claim for spousal support/alimony, the Court will consider other factors such as: the current income of the parties; the income earning potential of each of the parties; and the age, health, and medical needs of the parties. Though length of marriage and the income of the parties are the dominant factors, there are numerous other factors that the New Mexico Courts will consider as set forth in the Alimony Statute, NMSA 40-4-7(E).
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