If alimony is an issue in your case, there are numerous options available to negotiate and satisfy the alimony obligation. Most of the time, alimony will be negotiated without the necessity of a trial. It should be pretty clear whether your case is an alimony case. If your case is an alimony case, then negotiation and settlement of this issue will likely be preferable to any outcomes you can achieve in a very unpredictable divorce trial.
Should the case proceed to trial, the Court will consider the length of the marriage, the relative income of the spouses, and other relevant facts in a determination of whether and how much alimony should be awarded. These considerations are set forth in the alimony statute as well as the alimony guidelines which are followed by the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque as well as most of the other district courts around the state. The statute and the guidelines should be consulted early in your case to avoid what could be a long, expensive and the end disappointing process.
Should the parties reach an agreement on alimony, then there are countless ways to structure to payment of alimony. In many cases the spouses may choose to simply follow the Alimony Guidelines by receiving their spousal support/alimony in the form of a monthly payment. However, the spouses can agree that the paying spouse will make a one-time, lump sum payment of spousal support/alimony in lieu of ongoing payments.
Lump sum alimony can itself be structured in a variety of ways. The spouses are free to offset spousal support/alimony against other assets. New Mexico‘s adherence to the principles of community property means the spouses are entitled to an equal distribution of the assets upon the dissolution of the marriage. Spouses often agree to incorporate a lump sum payment of spousal support/alimony into a community property settlement through an additional allocation of assets to the receiving spouse.
Likewise, as a community property state, New Mexico also holds spouses equally responsible for community debt, which basically includes all debt incurred during the marriage, which provides another option for the offset of spousal support/alimony. The spouse that owes the spousal support/alimony may take on a greater share of the community debt to satisfy a lump sum payment.
In sum there is some flexibility in granting spousal support/alimony and the challenge is to achieve a solution that meets the requirements of the law, while also meeting the financial needs and abilities of the parties. However, this flexibility quickly disappears should the parties proceed to trial. Family court judges have enormous caseloads. They have little time to address alternative means of alimony. Once the matter is before the court, there is typically only one option and that is monthly payments based upon the worksheets set forth in the Alimony Guidelines.