Challenges and Solutions: Navigating Uncontested Divorces Involving Child Custody

By Bob Matteucci

Divorce is always a challenging and emotional process, but when children are involved, the stakes get higher. Hammering out a child custody agreement often becomes a central point of contention, even in uncontested divorces. 

During these often tense negotiations, it is important to remember that custody of your kids isn’t a prize to be won. It is a responsibility you share with your former partner, who under New Mexico law, has as much right to raise them as you do. 

If you are committed to seeking an amicable, uncontested divorce, Attorney Bob Matteucci of Matteucci Family law can help you craft a child custody agreement with compassion, cooperation, and your child’s best interests at its heart.

Can a Divorce be Noncontested Even if You and Your Former Partner are Fighting About Child Custody? 

So here’s the thing a lot of people don’t understand about New Mexico divorce law: there’s really no such thing as an uncontested divorce. It’s basically a made up word that doesn’t appear anywhere in our state law. 

But the idea of an uncontested divorce is very real. What it is is an attitude toward divorce. People who say they want an uncontested divorce usually mean they want to negotiate a settlement with their former partner behind closed doors instead of fighting with one another in open court. 

This is a great attitude to have toward divorce if you have children and need to negotiate a child custody agreement. It is not good for children to see their parents fighting over them in the courtroom. It is far better for them to see you and your former partner working together to figure out how to co-parent them. 

This is not to say that child custody negotiations are either a knock-down, drag-out fight or a kumbaya love fest. Most fall somewhere in between. You can still file an “uncontested divorce” even if you and your former partner are fighting over child custody.

Searching for a Solution to Your Child Custody Stalemate 

When it seems like a couple will never be able to craft a child custody agreement during a traditional divorce negotiation, Attorney Bob Matteucci may recommend one of the following tactics:

  • Settlement Facilitation – In a settlement facilitation, a neutral third party (usually a retired judge) will work with you, your former partner, and your lawyers to negotiate a settlement. The facilitator doesn’t decide who is right and who is wrong like a judge would but instead helps push you towards an agreement. How this usually works is you and your former partner will set up camp in separate conference rooms. The facilitator will go from one room to the other to talk with both sides and understand the issues. Then, the facilitator will propose a solution that appeals to both sides.
  • Mediated Divorce – Mediation is similar to settlement facilitation, in that a neutral third party works towards steering both sides to a mutually acceptable resolution. But it is actually a form of divorce. Couples who generally agree with one another can decide to work with a mediator instead of hiring separate attorneys to handle their divorce. The mediator helps the couple work together to resolve their disagreements, then drafts all the paperwork necessary to formalize the divorce. 
  • Collaborative Divorce – Couples in the Albuquerque area who still trust and respect one another, but no longer want to be married to each other, are increasingly opting for collaborative divorces. Attorney Bob Matteucci is one of a handful of lawyers in New Mexico who are certified to guide couples through this process, which brings professionals like financial planners and counselors to the negotiating table. 

What each of these has in common is a divorcing couple that wants to find a solution and move forward instead of fighting with one another. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion 

By acknowledging the challenges they face and embracing practical solutions to them, parents can navigate uncontested divorces involving child custody in a way that minimizes conflict and focuses on the best interests of their children.

Attorney Bob Matteucci helps families from across the state of New Mexico focus on finding a path forward so they can begin their post-divorce lives. Please contact him today to learn more and to schedule a confidential consultation.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.