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How to Find a Divorce Record in New Mexico
New Mexico divorce records are all official documents describing the processes leading to and verifying the dissolution of marriages as recorded in the state. These documents can be vital records or case files produced in divorce court proceedings. Generally, there are three types of divorce documents; divorce records, divorce decrees, and divorce certificates.
Divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third-party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, certificate, and decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.
What is a New Mexico Divorce Certificate?
A divorce certificate is a public document that presents basic information about a marriage that has been terminated in a state. Divorce certificates are usually issued by a state’s Department of Health and do not provide detailed information about divorce judgments.
The basic information contained in a divorce certificate include:
- Names of the couple who obtained the divorce
- Where the divorce was granted
- When the divorce judgment was issued
- Court case number
What is a New Mexico Divorce Decree?
A New Mexico divorce decree is a document issued by a court in New Mexico that signifies a marriage has been officially terminated. It contains the judgment delivered by the court and will comprise all the details of the marriage termination. It will also include terms of the settlement reached by all the parties, including details about:
- Spousal support
- Mutual property and assets division
- Custody of minor children
- Visitation rights
- Child support payments
In New Mexico, a divorce decree is retained by the Clerk of the District Court in the county where the court order was filed. A copy of the divorce decree will be received by both parties in the divorce at the conclusion of the case.
What is a New Mexico Divorce Record?
A New Mexico divorce record is the complete case file of the proceedings that terminated a marriage in New Mexico. It includes case files as well as final judgments and all motions, orders, and reports filed during the divorce case.
Are Divorce Records Available to the Public in New Mexico?
Divorce records in New Mexico are regarded as public records. Public records in New Mexico can be accessed and viewed by any member of the public. The only exceptions to this rule are records that have been sealed by a court order. While any member of the public can access and view New Mexico divorce records, not everyone can acquire certified copies of New Mexico divorce records. Access to certified copies of a divorce record is restricted to:
- Registrants i.e the divorced individuals named in the record
- Adult children of the registrants
- Parents or legal guardians of the registrants
- Authorized legal representatives of the registrants
Sealed divorce records are divorce records that have filed under seal as a result of court orders. As a result, parts of the divorce records will be restricted and the entire records will no longer freely available to be viewed by members of the public.
To have a divorce record sealed in New Mexico, both parties in the divorce must agree to this decision. If either party opposes the sealing of divorce records, an order will not be issued. Following mutual consent, both parties then need to file a motion to have the divorce records sealed with the court. A motion to seal divorce records is not granted by default. The parties filing the motion are required to provide cogent reasons for the motion to be granted. Thereafter, the judge reviewing the motion can decide to deny or grant it. New Mexico judges are more likely to grant motions to seal divorce records if the divorced parties can prove that do so will:
- protect the identities of victims of domestic violence or abuse
- protect the identities of minor children
- prevent false information that may cause undue harm from entering the public domain
- protect records containing trade secrets or issues of national security
- prevent sensitive business or personal information from getting into the public domain
New Mexico law regarding the sealing of public records mandates that only sensitive information will be redacted from public disclosure. The rest of the record will remain public. This should be taken into consideration when filing the motion. The motion should be adapted to accommodate this provision or the motion will most probably be denied.
If the motion is granted then all the sensitive portions of the record will be redacted even when the records are still available to the public.
How Do I Obtain a New Mexico Divorce Decree?
A New Mexico divorce decree is available from the District Court located in the county where the divorce was granted. At the conclusion of the divorce proceedings, both parties to the divorce will receive a copy of their divorce decree. This is typically through their attorneys who, as officers of the court, will receive copies of the divorce decree.
To obtain a certified copy of a divorce decree in New Mexico,the eligible applicant must submit a written request to the Clerk of the District Court. Persons authorized to receive certified copies of a divorce decree are the two divorced individuals, their immediate family, and legal representatives of record. These individuals can submit their requests by mailing them to the Clerk of the District Court. It is also possible to request this record in person by visiting the Clerk’s Office in the District courthouse where the decree was issued. New Mexico District Clerks’ Offices charge nominal fees for search and making copies of divorce decrees. A requester must also provide the following information:
- Names of both persons registered on the record, including maiden names (if applicable)
- When the divorce judgment was issued
- Where the divorce was finalized
The fee to be paid is typically set by the District Court and may vary across the judicial districts.
To facilitate public access to court records, the State of New Mexico provides an online Case Lookup tool on its judicial website. Records of divorces that have been finalized in New Mexico can be searched online using this service. Members of the public will be able to use this tool to search, view, and possibly download divorce records in the state. The New Mexico Judicial website also provides an online request form for records created prior to 1997.
Government public record search portals and third-party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.
How Do I Obtain a New Mexico Divorce Certificate?
Divorce certificates are government documents that are provided, upon request, by a State’s Department of Health. Divorce records are not received by the New Mexico Department of Health and as such the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics does not issue divorce certificates.
Does New Mexico Recognize Common-Law Marriage?
New Mexico common-law marriages aren't recognized by the state. However, couples who marry in another state that recognizes common law marriage, such as Kansas, will be considered married and have the same rights as couples who marry legally in the state.
Common-law marriage is an informal type of marriage that happens when two people who live together present themselves to the public as married. To be legally married in New Mexico, couples must first acquire a court license, then conduct a traditional ceremony in the presence of eyewitnesses and an officiating priest joining them.