Spousal support (alimony) can be awarded when one spouse earns significantly more than the other or other special factors exist. An example is when one parent stays home to care for children in lieu of a career outside the home. If you need help understanding whether you deserve financial spousal support (alimony) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer can help. We also serve clients in Rio Rancho.
Granting Spousal Support in New Mexico
The spousal support laws in New Mexico allow the granting of alimony. The person requesting support, however, should demonstrate why he/she needs it. If the parties are in a disagreement, a judge can help determine if alimony is appropriate in their situation. Once you agree or the court orders spousal support, it is binding. You’ll be required to make the proper payments to your spouse.
Payment Requirements for Spousal Support
You need to meet these requirements to qualify your payments as spousal support:
- The payments need to be in the form of cash or check. Paying off debts and assets are not eligible as payments for support.
- The payments should be provided for in a written agreement or a divorce
- Payments made before the agreement to payment or divorce was finalized are not qualified as spousal support
- You cannot claim spousal support when you file joint tax returns during the same year
- You cannot make alimony payments when you and your spouse are living in the same residence
Modifying Spousal Support
Court-issued spousal support orders are final and enforceable by law. Modifications, however, are possible due to special or unique circumstances. A good example is a party experiencing extreme hardship and is having a difficult time making the necessary payments. It’s best to reach out to an experienced Rio Rancho or Albuquerque lawyer if you plan to have some of the alimony terms changed.
Determining Spousal Support
The court usually considers the following factors when granting spousal support:
- The respective spouses’ present and future earnings, together with the earning capacity
- The means of support, health, and age of the respective spouses
- The respective spouses’ good-faith efforts to become self-supporting or to maintain employment
- The duration of the marriage
- The respective spouses’ reasonable needs, which include:
- The life insurance’s appropriateness, including its cost and availability
- The maintenance of medical insurance
- The standard of living for the term of the marriage
- The amount of property confirmed or awarded to the respective spouses
- The agreements entered into by the spouses in consideration of legal separation or dissolution of marriage
- The respective spouses’ income generated by their property
- The nature and type of the liabilities of the respective spouses
- The asset type and nature of the respective spouses
On top of these factors, there is an alimony guidelines worksheet recommended by the New Mexico Supreme Court. While the guidelines aren’t binding in any court, it may be useful to check them out to help you with alimony negotiations. You’ll find the Alimony worksheet at the New Mexico Court website. When using this worksheet, remember that it only provides the court with a possible scenario for alimony payments and is not applicable in all cases.
Contact our New Mexico Divorce Lawyer
When you work with Dorene Kuffer, you’ll receive a high degree of personalized attention. She possesses expertise in all areas of family and criminal law in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Contact our family law office today to schedule a consultation with Dorene Kuffer.