Family law covers a wide range of matters between spouses and parents. While the term is commonly associated with divorce, it involves numerous marital and parenting issues that redefine family relationships. If there’s a family law issue on your horizon, you need a dedicated and experienced attorney who will defend your rights and work towards a positive outcome.
That’s where Matteucci Family Law comes in. Attorney Bob Matteucci understands New Mexico family law, but he also knows how much is on the line in your case. He works one-on-one with each individual client and takes a personalized approach to whatever matter they are dealing with.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help with Divorce
Divorce results in the legal termination of a marriage. But it’s much more than just that. When spouses divorce, they’ll have to also divide marital assets and debts, determine whether either spouse will receive alimony, work out child custody and support, and address other issues. Your attorney should take the time to fully comprehend your unique circumstances and craft a creative divorce solution.
Here are some possible divorce options to discuss with your lawyer:
Uncontested divorce. This works for spouses who are in agreement with how the issues of their divorce, such as property division, should be resolved. Rather than go through the stress and time of litigation, an uncontested divorce can be negotiated and settled without the need to appear before the judge. You will work closely with your attorney to draw up, sign, and file the necessary paperwork.
Mediated divorce. A mediated divorce may be a better option if you and your former spouse have a certain level of trust. In a mediated divorce, both parties retain a single attorney who acts as a mediator, a neutral third-party. The mediator will promote a positive discussion and help both parties work toward an agreement and understand any legal consequences of each potential decision the parties may make.
Collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses work together – rather than against each other – to amicably end their marriage. This is the opposite of the traditional divorce process which is typically fraught with animosity. Rather than frame the divorce in terms of winners versus losers, the end goal of a collaborative divorce is something everyone is happy with.
Traditional divorce. A traditional divorce is a route most parties take. Within a traditional divorce, both parties’ attorneys try to negotiate a settlement outside of court. However, if the attorneys fail to reach a settlement, both parties participate in settlement facilitation. Settlement facilitation is the mediation component of traditional divorces, where a neutral party, either a retired family law judge or an experienced family law attorney, comes in and meets with each party and their attorneys to help them reach an agreement. If the settlement facilitation is unsuccessful, then the divorce will be settled in court.
Litigated divorce. Where the above options are not realistic, you need an attorney who is ready to take your issue to court. Knowledge of New Mexico family law, along with civil procedure and court rules, is what will qualify your attorney to handle your case. In some litigated divorces, the parties later decide to try to settle their case before they go to court so they can move on.
Military divorce. If you or your spouse are servicemembers, there are a number of special considerations that will apply to your case. For example, custody and visitation are more complicated where one of the spouses is serving in the military. There are also issues surrounding military pension and retirement plans. As a family law attorney, Bob Matteucci is experienced with the unique rules and issues that arise in military divorces, and he is ready to help.
Same sex divorce. With same sex marriage now the law of the land, gay and lesbian married couples are also eligible for divorce. Same sex divorce is still a developing area of law due to recent legal decisions, but Bob is equipped to handle the matters that arise in any and all marriages.
How is marital property divided in New Mexico family law divorces?
One of the most consequential parts of your divorce will be dividing the marital estate between you and your spouse. New Mexico is a community property state, which means that marital assets are generally divided equally between the spouses. Separate property is not subject to this division and includes things like inheritances and items owned prior to the marriage.
The court will determine the total value of the community property and then divide it 50/50. The same applies to marital debts.
A number of issues, such as the total value of the marital property, can arise during this process. A skilled property division attorney can walk you through this phase of your divorce.
Understanding New Mexico Spousal Support
Spousal support, also called alimony, refers to financial support that one spouse pays another after the marriage ends. There are different forms of alimony and it may be modifiable depending on the circumstances. The major issues that arise are how much money will be paid and for how long.
If the parties can’t work out alimony between themselves, then the court will need to decide. To do so, the judge will consider a number of factors, such as the length of the marriage, a spouse’s need for alimony, and the other spouse’s ability to pay it. Whether you are the spouse who needs alimony, or the one from whom it is being demanded, Bob Matteucci will represent your interests and seek the best possible outcome.
Resolving Child Custody and Visitation Issues
Whether the parents are married or not, child custody and visitation need to be addressed if the parents part ways. This is arguably the most emotional part of family law and can quickly lead to conflict between the parties. Judges only consider the best interests of the child when it comes to making custody and visitation decisions. But in practice, this means examining a multitude of complex issues such as the emotional maturity of the child and the fitness of both parents to care for the child.
In addition to resolving custody and visitation, your attorney should be prepared to handle modifications of prior orders. Courts always retain the ability to modify previous orders where there has been a material and substantial change in factors affecting the child’s best interests. Remember, that most good attorneys will negotiate custody and visitation agreements without having to go to court.
Our Family Law Attorney Will Work with You On Child Support
In New Mexico, child support is determined according to state guidelines. To calculate support, the court will use one of two worksheets, based on how much custody both parents have with the Child(ren). Courts can deviate from the guidelines in certain cases.
Other factors in setting child support are the parents’ respective incomes and the child’s expenses. As you can imagine, these issues (among others) can quickly turn into disagreements between the parents. For example, one parent may claim that they are unemployed, while the other charges that the parent is not fully reporting their income. Problems also arise when parents cannot or refuse to pay, and when a modification or contempt of court action may be needed. Again, remember that with good attorneys a good resolution can be agreed upon without having to go to court.
Legal Separation May Be an Option
For some spouses, their next best step is to separate. A separation may or may not ultimately lead to a divorce. Spouses who intend to live apart from one another should consider filing a legal separation with the court. Along with this, they need to develop a separation agreement to address their finances, their children, and other marital issues. Having a trusted New Mexico family law attorney is essential to this process. Bob Matteucci can answer any questions you have about separating from your spouse and help you draft an agreement that protects your rights.
Help for Domestic Abuse Victims
An unfortunate side to many New Mexico marriages is domestic abuse. If this applies to you, we understand the difficulties you are facing and we want to help. Our firm is ready to take quick action to find solutions that will keep you and your children safe. Domestic abuse adds a layer of complexity to any divorce, but we’re prepared to safeguard your rights and interests throughout the process. Bob Matteucci will also connect you with court and community resources that can support you.
Contact Bob Matteucci, an Experienced Family Law Attorney, Today
The above topics are just some of the issues that parents and spouses deal with in family court. No matter what kind of matter you have, or which side of the case you are on, Matteucci Family Law is here for you. Contact Bob Matteucci today to schedule your consultation.
Matteucci Family Law Firm helps families with their family law matters all across New Mexico including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Rio Rancho.