While New Mexico follows the community property laws of property division, this does not mean that all property would be divided exactly in half during a divorce. Communal property is any property that’s not considered separate property acquired by both or either spouse while married. All property obtained as joint tenants or tenants in common would be considered community property unless otherwise defined in an official agreement or writing.
Additionally, community debt is anything that is not considered separate debt. But to make matters more complicated, there’s also the issue of quasi-community property.
What Exactly is Quasi-Community Property?
Quasi-community property is essentially any personal or real property regardless of its location, that’s not considered separate property and was obtained by either spouse while they lived elsewhere. This would have been considered community property if it was obtained while the couple lived in New Mexico during the acquisition or personal or real property they traded for when living in the state.
On the other hand, a quasi-community property would be considered as community property if both spouses resided in New Mexico when they filed for legal separation or divorce.
To illustrate, let’s say you got married in New Mexico four years ago and while married, you bought a residential home in the state and a ranch in Montana, where you planned to retire in the future. However, after three years of marriage, both of you decided that you want to divorce in New Mexico.
Basically, your residence in New Mexico would be considered community property, while your Montana ranch would be deemed quasi-community property under New Mexico community property laws, explains the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer, a top family lawyer in Albuquerque. This means that your property would be divided under New Mexico laws, but your Montana ranch would require special handling since New Mexico doesn’t have jurisdiction of real estate outside the state.
During a New Mexico legal separation or divorce, property division would depend on the property’s classification. Marital property is deemed community property, but property bought in a state that doesn’t follow community property laws, such as Montana, would be classified as quasi-community property in New Mexico.
Because of the many complexities surrounding property division, it’s best to seek help from a lawyer to help you navigate all your divorce issues.