One of the questions most frequently asked by divorce and family law clients is “How long is this going to take?” There is no easy answer to that question. The first question is where in New Mexico are you filing your divorce, paternity or family law action? The case load for the courts that cover Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe are pretty heavy, so it generally takes several months to get a hearing date in those areas. This wait applies to each and every hearing.
Hearing dates are important because that is the time when parties go before the judge on specific issues related to their divorce when they cannot resolve the issues themselves. Thus the fastest way to conclude the process is through early settlement and/or mediation. If the parties can agree on a the division of property and debt, child support and child custody, and other issues related to the divorce, then they can incorporate those decisions into a marital settlement agreement which upon filing with the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage will conclude the process. This can be completed in a matter of weeks when the parties are so motivated.
Often this is not possible for any number of reasons, some legitimate, some not. In many cases, each every step of the divorce is a struggle requiring the intervention of the Court. Each time the court‘s assistance is enlisted by way of a Motion, the process if further delayed due to long wait necessary to get a hearing on a Motion. Finally, after what could be months extending into years, the parties must at some point go to trial. A trial setting takes even longer to get than a Motion hearing.
In sum, the most efficient way to complete a divorce or family law matter in New Mexico is to understand your rights and responsibilities. Then hope that the other party has done the same. If both parties can behave rationally and reasonably, the process can move pretty quickly. In the absence of reason and rationality, the process can take a very long time. In the case of a high conflict divorce or family law proceeding, the duration of the process is probably the least of your problems. Keep this mind before declaring war on your ex.