Divorce in New Mexico

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Divorce in New Mexico

Hi in March 2015 I married a man from Belgium
in New Mexico. He went back home. I went to
visit him last summer things didn’t go well. I
want to get divorced but he won’t sign the
papers. He is not an American citizen and we
have never lived together. How do I divorce
him without him signing the papers.
Thank you
Laurie

Asked on June 11, 2016 under Family Law, New Mexico

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

When one spouse wants to end a marriage but the other spouse does not, a divorce may still be obtained (even if that spouse resides in a foreign country). The fact is that when a spouse refuses to sign divorce papers, this will delay things it but it will not stop them. The remedy in such a situation is a "divorce by default". The "petititoner" (i.e. the spouse seeking to divorce) must file a petition in their state court. Then the petition must served on the "respondent" (i.e. the non-filing spouse). When a respondent who lives out of the country that are certain notice requirements that must be met (each state has it own procedures). As a general rule, the respondent has 20-30 days to provide their response (i.e. "answer"). If they fails to do so withing the specified time allowed, then the petitioner may file a notice of "default" with the court.
A copy of the petitioner's application for a default must be served on the respondent (again, special notice provisions apply to an a respondent living outside of the U.S.). After the default notice has been served, the respondent has several weeks has to file a response. If they do not (at least by the deadline given), the petitioner then goes to court for a judge to make a decision as to whether or not to grant the divorce. They will base their ruling solely on the evidence presented by the petitioner. Typically, a divorce will be granted on the terms that the petitioner requested. The respondent does has the right to ask the court to "vacate" (i.e. undo) its order but there are a strict requirements for doing so and if the requirements are not met the decree will stand.
At this point, you are advised to contact a divorce attorney and consult with them directly. These type divorces can get complicated, especially with making sure that proper notice requirements for someone living in a foreign country are met.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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