How is COVID-19 Affecting the Court?
Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID and the shut down have not passed by the Court. During the pandemic, your case may be negatively affected by additional delays and re-set hearings as the Court adjusts to the State Supreme Court guidelines for court procedures. Having an attorney during this time is essential to make sure your case does not fall through the cracks and will be heard by the Court as quickly as possible. While every case is encouraged to settle their issues outside of Court, finding compromise and agreements with the opposing side is even more important during this time to keep your case moving forward.
As many hearings as possible will be heard either over the phone (telephonically), or using a video conference app such as Google Meets. If you do have to go to the Court in person, wear a mask and use the sanitizing stations available at the Court.
Can We Get a Divorce Without Going to Court?
Many people wish to agree with the other party without going to Court. Sometimes this is possible. However, it is likely that months or even years down the road, you will have a problem or argument with the other party that you can’t fix without going to court. Failure to enter a Court order that clearly outlines the rights and obligations of both sides creates conflict and can actually delay a resolution to the problem. Filing with the Court does not have to mean a fight with the other side if approached in the right way. If you are unsure whether or not you should file, meeting with an attorney can help choose which direction is right for you.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
How long a case takes varies because each case unique. If all parties agree on the issues at hand – such as property division, child support, or child custody – an order may be entered with the Court and the case could be finished in a matter of weeks. But the more you disagree, and the more issues you disagree on, the longer the case will take. Hiring an attorney can help streamline this process, either by pushing forward litigation, negotiating, and filing all documents with the Court.
How Much Will My Divorce Case Cost?
Will I Have To Go To Court for my Divorce?
If your case is “uncontested“, meaning you have come to a full agreement with the other party, and all paperwork is correctly completed, you can finish your case without appearing in Court. However, if a case is contested, or if there is a mistake with your paperwork, the Court will expect you to be there for every hearing, even if you are represented by an attorney. If your case is uncontested, hiring an attorney to ensure the paperwork is completed correctly will help keep you out of court. If your case is contested, an attorney is critical for preparing you for the courtroom.
Do I Need A Family Law Attorney?
The short answer is no, but it helps. New Mexico does not require that people in family law cases have attorneys, and you are able to file documents and appear in court by yourself. This is what’s known as “Pro Se.” However, there are several benefits to having an attorney on your side.
- Negotiate on Your Behalf – negotiations occur at the beginning, middle, and end of a case. With an attorney, you receive advice on which deal is worth taking, and what is worth fighting for. Having someone to negotiate on your behalf takes away the stress of dealing with the other side, whether it is an ex-spouse or a Child Support Enforcement attorney.
- Navigate the System – you are able to file documents, serve papers, or request hearings without an attorney, however, the process can be confusing and time-consuming if you are unfamiliar with the process. An attorney has the experience and the connections to accomplish these tasks quickly.
- Champions of the Courtroom – going into a courtroom and giving your side of a story to a judge is intimidating. You will not agree with what the other side has to say. You have hundreds of text messages, emails, and communications with the other side, but no idea how to use them. Hiring an attorney gives you an advocate who will tell your story to the judge the way it needs to be told, and defend your position against the other side. An attorney knows not only how to present evidence to the judge, but what evidence will help your case, and which evidence may even hurt your case.
In the event you do not want an attorney to represent you in court, there are still ways that meeting with an attorney can help you. You are not committed to hiring an attorney you meet with, but the attorney can provide you with advice on your case and what steps you should take. Look at our consultation page for information on how meeting an attorney can help you.