What We Offer

ARWJ Family Law is a full-service family law firm, devoted to coming up with customized solutions to fit the unique needs of families.  Our attorneys have over 45 years of experience combined and we possess the skills, resources, and knowledge to handle virtually any case.  When a client comes to us for assistance with a family law matter, we empower our clients to make the choice that is right for them.

Divorce

At ARWJ we believe that divorce should not be a check the box, one-size fits all process. Individual clients have unique needs and goals. Our focus is providing a process to meet those needs and goals in the most cost-effective way.

While general community property principles guide division of assets and debts in divorce, as no two divorces are the same, no two approaches to divorce should be the same. All of our attorneys at ARWJ are skilled advocates focusing on negotiated out-of-Court settlements, mediation, and litigation, should it be required.

Our attorneys understand the importance of your case and are here to guide you through the process, every step of the way. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative practice provides parties a process focused on resolving disputes respectfully, in private and out of Court, with the guidance of trained lawyers and other professionals. Negotiations, compromise and creative problem solving are the critical elements of Collaborative divorce. Lawyers retained for a Collaborative divorce are specifically trained and skilled in the law, guiding negotiations, and managing conflict.

In a Collaborative divorce, neutral professionals are brought into the process to meet the individual needs of the divorcing spouses and their children. Use of these neutral professionals allows for the Collaborative attorneys to focus on identifying goals and exploring settlement options, rather than duplicative role of information gathering and managing emotions. 

All attorneys at ARWJ are seasoned in Collaborative practice and believe in the transformative value the Collaborative divorce has to offer families. 

Post-Divorce Modifications/Enforcement

Your divorce is complete, what now? The terms of your divorce are detailed in your Marital Settlement Agreement—your divorce contract. While the contract provides clear terms of the obligations that both parties are to meet, frequently after a divorce one or both parties fails to abide by the terms of the divorce contract.

In addition to post divorce enforcement issues, some situations require modification or adjustments after the fact. Our experienced attorneys at ARWJ can assess your case after divorce, providing guidance and advocacy should enforcement or modification issues arise.

Legal Separation

New Mexico recognizes legal separation as an option for couples who may not wish to formally divorce.  The process of a legal separation is similar to that of a divorce in that assets and liabilities are addressed, however your marriage is not dissolved. 

A consultation with one of our experienced attorneys will help you determine whether a legal separation may be right for you.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prior to marriage, many couples wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement to address the distribution of their assets upon divorce or death.  Maintaining these individual choices can be best accomplished with a prenuptial or premarital agreement to protect personal property held before the marriage or to define how they wish to classify any property acquired during marriage.  Our attorneys are skilled at crafting prenuptial agreements tailored to your individual needs.

If you are presented with a prenuptial agreement, we can interpret and explain the terms of the agreement.  We can help you makes sense of the conditions and, if needed, negotiate modifications to the agreement.

Alimony and Spousal Support

New Mexico law recognizes that in certain cases one spouse needs additional financial support in the form of alimony or spousal support after a divorce has been finalized. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issue of alimony as each family’s financial situation is unique. Depending on your specific situation, you may be entitled to rehabilitative alimony so that you may obtain job training or a degree, transitional alimony to assist you in reaching financial stability or indefinite alimony pending a change in either party’s financial and employment circumstances.

Our attorneys have broad experience with many types of alimony and spousal support matters throughout the State of New Mexico.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation.

Child Custody

In parentage cases and divorce proceedings which involve children, legal and physical custody of the minor children of the parties must be determined and the guiding principle is that such determination must be in the best interests of the children.  Legal custody involves the important decisions that are made in children’s lives and in New Mexico, the presumption is that both parents should be involved and should be awarded joint legal custody.  There are situations in which sole legal custody, or decision making by one parent, is necessary in a given case.  It is important to have an attorney that understands the laws and impact that an award of either of these forms of custody can mean in children’s lives.  Physical custody is the time that the children spend with each parent.  Negotiating a timesharing or visitation plan with each parent that is in the best interests of the children is critical in your case.  ARWJ has vast experience and knowledge in negotiating the terms and conditions of a legal and physical custody award which will be unique to each and every case. 

Child Support

When parents separate, it is required that each party provides financial support for their children.  Whether you are having child support established for the first time or are needing modification of an existing child support obligation, it is important to have an attorney on your side who understands the factors that are involved in establishing or modifying an appropriate child support obligation in your case.  At ARWJ we understand the many components of a child support award, and how to best advocate for our clients to ensure that their children are appropriately financially supported.

Parentage

Not all couples who have children are married and when these couples separate, it is important that legal rights with respect to the children of these relationships are established.  Establishing parentage of a child includes obtaining legal acknowledgment of the parent-child relationship, custody, timesharing and visitation, and child support for the children.  At ARWJ, we pride ourselves in getting to know our clients and their children so that we can obtain the best outcome in these cases.

Kinship Guardianship

In New Mexico, we are fortunate to have a specialized kinship guardianship statute that provides protection for friends or family members who provide significant care for a child when biological parent(s) are unwilling or unable to do so. At ARWJ, we have extensive experience in representation of all parties, including parents and children, who may be involved in a kinship guardianship situation. Appointment of a kinship guardian is different from the traditional appointment of guardians and conservators, which means that it may not be an appropriate solution for every family. Our attorneys will thoughtfully review the facts of your situation and advise your rights, whether you are a caregiver, parent or child.

Adoption

We understand that families can be formed in many different ways and adoption can be an incredibly rewarding way to create or add to a family.  If you are a stepparent or other family member interested in adopting a child that is related to you, then we can counsel you regarding your adoption options. The adoption process can be complicated and intimidating, but we strive to make is as seamless as possible. Some of our best days in the courtroom are when we stand in front of the judge to finalize an adoption just knowing that we have been able to contribute to a family’s happiness.

Mediation and Settlement Negotiation

Litigation should be a last resort. Absent matters where there has been domestic violence, our Court system requires that parties attempt to reach resolution outside of litigation before requesting relief from the Court. Studies show that for every hour in Court, two to three hours of preparation time is required. Additionally, rules that apply to litigation limit the information that can be provided to the Judge.

Mediation and settlement negotiation are two options that provide for a more transparent, cost-effective, client-driven process.

Typically in mediation, both parties are self-represented, guided by an attorney/mediator serving as the conduit helping parties reach a full agreement. In settlement negotiation, a third-party attorney steps in to help parties (either self-represented or represented by an attorney) reach out of Court agreements.

All of our attorneys at ARWJ have extensive mediation and settlement negotiation experience.

Domestic violence/Restraining orders

Domestic violence is an issue that affects people across all life stages and socioeconomic levels. Our attorneys are skilled in identifying issues of domestic violence as they are related to your divorce and/or custody cases.  We have experience in helping our clients obtain Orders of Protection and in defending our clients against false allegations.

If you believe you’re the victim of abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, schedule a consultation today to discuss your options with one of our experienced attorneys. 

If you’ve been served with a Temporary Order of Protection, contact our office to schedule a consultation with our attorneys to determine your rights.  If accusations of domestic violence are not addressed, there can be long term repercussion including the limitation of parental rights and timesharing and the possible entry of an Order of Protection that may limit personal freedoms. 

Same Sex Family Matters

Same-sex parties face all of the challenges of opposite-sex parties in divorce and custody cases, and more.

Historical barriers to marry and have children create unique facts and issues for same-sex parties in all family law areas. Having an attorney who understands the confluence between the history and the law can make all of the difference in the outcome of your case: to characterization of assets and division of same, to time with a child.

All of our attorneys at ARWJ can provide advocacy and guidance in same-sex matters.