Spousal Support in New Mexico

Courts are given broad authority to award and modify spousal support in New Mexico both during the divorce and after.

The consideration is made on a case by case basis, with the courts looking at what seems just and proper given the circumstances of the case, and by examining several aspects of what constitutes the “need” of a party for spousal support and the “ability” of the other party to pay spousal support.

The Supreme Court in Chavez v. Chavez, 82 NM624 (1971), recognized that there is a right to support that each party in a marriage is able to enjoy and take comfort in, and the awarding of spousal support is a continuation or substitution of that enjoyment or comfort.

New Mexico spousal support is not meant to be a penalty against the paying party, and in fact, the award of spousal support is to be made without regard to fault or marital misconduct.

New Mexico Spousal Support Factors

Factors the court will consider in determining if spousal support is appropriate in a case include, but are not limited to:

  • the age and health of the parties;
  • the current and future earning capacity of the parties;
  • time to acquire education or training for employment;
  • the standard of living that existed during the marriage; and
  • the length of the marriage.

Types of New Mexico Spousal Support

If the court determines that spousal support should be paid to a party, the award of spousal support will take one of the following forms, based on the specific circumstances of the case:

  1. Rehabilitative Spousal Support, which seeks to provide education and training to a spouse in order to increase their income earning potential;
  2. Transitional Spousal Support, which serves to supplement the income of a spouse for a limited and specific period of time;
  3. Indefinite Spousal Support, which is sometimes referred to as “permanent modifiable spousal support” that is paid in installments and has no specific ending period; or
  4. Lump Sum non-modifiable spousal support.

The court routinely favors rehabilitative spousal support over other forms of spousal support, but again, the determination of whether rehabilitative maintenance should be ordered is made on a case by case analysis.

After your divorce is final, spousal support may be modified if a “substantial change in circumstances” arises, and usually automatically terminates on death, remarriage, and expiration of the time ordered in the Divorce Judgment.

Spousal support is deemed to be income to the receiving spouse, and is reportable income for tax purposes, while the spouse who pays the spousal support is allowed to deduct the payments made on his income tax returns.

New Mexico Spousal Support Lawyer

If you are a man facing divorce in New Mexico, you should contact a New Mexico spousal support lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Cordell & Cordell Albuquerque divorce lawyers are licensed to practice throughout the state and are available for consultations should you seek additional information or possible legal representation. Please call 1-866-DADS-LAW to schedule an appointment.