Would You Consult a Non-lawyer About Divorce?

couple consulting with an expert

New Mexico’s shortage of attorneys made the Supreme Court review a measure that would permit non-lawyers to provide civil legal services for divorce cases.

This can only be a possible alternative when you live in counties and cities with few lawyers or if you can’t afford one. In other words, it’s unusual to have a hard time looking for legal representation in Albuquerque. Divorce lawyers in New Mexico’s largest city are quite many, but you need to choose the right one, especially in cases involving same-sex couples.

Where Lawyers Are Few

An estimated 20% of counties in the state have fewer than five practicing attorneys. Some residents in counties don’t even have access to legal advice, and even if they do, it’s a steep expense for them. A limited license authorized technician (LLLT) program would likely solve the problem. The program comprises a group of lawyers, teachers, and advocates that would analyze the initiative’s viability.

According to the Supreme Court, the lack of qualified lawyers affect those who live in rural communities and outside the Rio Grande region more than any other part of the state. By contrast, Albuquerque has more 3,000 licensed attorneys based on data from the Administrative Office of the Courts. In Santa Fe, there are more than 1,000 practicing lawyers.

You can only find two lawyers in Catron County, and it’s the same in Mora County. People who need help with their divorce cases in Guadalupe and Hidalgo Counties might not find the right answers since each county only has one lawyer. De Baca and Harding Counties don’t even have one.

The Complexity of Alimony

unhappy couple sitting on a couch

A significantly low number of lawyers in some counties might be the reason why many divorcing couples are unhappy with their alimony resolution. Even if the state finally allows non-lawyers to provide legal service, you should still seek help from a qualified attorney. The basics of alimony cover several factors used by a judge to determine the amount and length of payment, among other things.

These include the age and health of each spouse, their income potential, years of marriage, and the type of assets and properties to be divided if there are any. The length of your marriage will bear more weight on a court’s ruling, and when you or your spouse decided to stop working for the sake of being a housewife or househusband. Based on these factors, a judge might order alimony payments for an indefinite amount of time. It could be in the form of lump sum payments or installments as well.

In the end, while the LLLT program is good news for many residents, there is no better substitute for legal advice on divorce cases than consulting a licensed attorney. You should consider signing up for the program as a last option, especially when you are negotiating complex matters such as alimony and property division. Remember that you need to look for online reviews of at least three law firms before you make a final decision.