Family court in New Mexico can seem overwhelming, intimidating and even scary to someone who has never had any contact with it from the outside. People who are dealing with divorce, child custody and legal separation matters are often concerned about what will happen in court because of its unfamiliar nature, and that’s understandable. After all, what goes on in a courtroom there will impact you and your entire family, including your kids.
Because of this, it’s wise to speak to a family law attorney about your case and the options you may have to avoid family court, such as court mediation. Before you file, consider the following reasons to avoid family court for your case, if possible.
It’s a Difficult System to Navigate Without Legal Help
It’s not uncommon for people to visit a family law attorney after they’ve taken a look into filing a child custody or divorce case on their own. It is not easy to navigate the court system without your own attorney. There are several court rules you will need to learn, and court staff is not allowed to hand out any legal advice under state law. In many cases, this means the court staff will provide you the paperwork you need to handle whatever aspect of the case you asked about, but they cannot help fill it out or with anything further.
Trying to complete and file court documents on your own could result in your petition or motions being denied for court steps you just didn’t know about, such as not attaching an official copy of an order you already have that you want the court to enforce. When this happens, you will have to file again, wasting your money and your time.
It Can Boost Your Legal Fees
Once you have filed your complaint for your family law matter, such as divorce or custody, you go on the court’s schedule and have to comply with the dates set to keep your case on track. This can add to the legal fees for your attorney, who then has to work to ensure you are compliant.
For example, if you can’t settle your case, you will be required by the court to attend settlement conferences. These can require court appearances for your attorney, and you will be charged as such. An alternative here could be asking your attorney to arrange for a four-way conference with your spouse and their attorney or trying mediation before you ever file that complaint.
Many people are able to resolve their case via other methods before filing a complaint for divorce or for custody. Doing so may mean you can avoid those mandatory court appearances and save on time and legal costs.
It Won’t Allow You to Make Your Own Decisions
A divorce or child custody case will impact your entire family. Naturally, it’s often better to come to agreements over these issues with your spouse and your respective attorneys on your own. If you can’t, a judge will be making these crucial family decisions for you, and you are less likely to be satisfied with the results. When you reach an agreement with your spouse or partner that you can both live with, it will allow you to dictate your lives instead of a judge who does not know anything about you or your family.
Before you head to court, speak to a family law attorney about your case. You may have options that allow you to handle the matter on your own, without having to let someone else make these major decisions.