(505) SANCHEZ Blog

Registering/Domesticating another State’s Court Order in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tree final

The sun is back and spring is blossoming across Albuquerque.  Take a second to look out of your nearest window and you are likely to see the green glow of plants and trees sprouting back to life across the city and state.

Many of you that have stumbled onto this article are either considering a move to the Land of Enchantment, or have already relocated to New Mexico from another state.  I don’t blame you.  As a wise person once said: “If you don’t like where you are, move.  You are not a tree.”

The right to travel and move is a bedrock constitutional right bestowed upon Americans. For most people reading these words, at any time and for any reason, you have the right to pack your bags and move to another state.  This statement, however, becomes a bit cloudy when a parent seeks to relocate to a different state with one’s child.  For more information on when a parent is allowed to move their child away from New Mexico, click here:

When is a parent allowed to move their child away from New Mexico?

For our present purposes, let’s assume that you are a parent that has already moved from another state to New Mexico.  Let’s further assume that you have an existing court Order in your former state that dictates issues affecting the child such as custody, time-sharing, and/or child support.  Now, let’s take one last leap and assume that you would like to register/domesticate the other state’s Order in New Mexico — potentially asking the New Mexico court to modify the prior Order based on a substantial change in circumstances.

In this scenario the first step that you will take is to file a Verified Petition to Register/Domesticate a Foreign Order in New Mexico. You will also need to include:

  1. Two copies, including one certified copy, of the Order that one is attempting to register/domesticate. See NMSA 1978, § 40-10A-305(a)(2);
  2. A statement from the person seeking registration, to the best of their knowledge and under the penalty of perjury, that the proposed Order has not been modified. See Id; and
  3. Name and address of the person seeking the registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the proposed child custody Order that one seeks to register. NMSA 1978, § 40-10A-305(a)(3).

After one successfully registers/domesticates the other state’s Order, a New Mexico court has the power to recognize and enforce the express terms of the existing Order.  Nevertheless, a New Mexico court cannot modify the Order unless New Mexico can demonstrate that it has jurisdiction over the matter, in accordance with NMSA 1978, § 40-10A-201 to § 40-10A-210.  At this point, the New Mexico court will need to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter before it can take the matter into its judicial hands, thereby modifying the prior court Order according to the current change in circumstances.

For more information on whether a New Mexico court has the requisite jurisdiction (i.e. power) to modify your existing court Order, click here:

Does New Mexico Have Jurisdiction Over My Child Custody Case?