A legal separation does not end in divorce as the parties remain legally married to one another, even though they no longer live together. When a New Mexico court grants a legal separation, the court will divide the property and debt, decide if alimony/spousal support should be awarded, and if children are involved, determine child custody, time-sharing, and support. The key legal difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that legally separated parties remain legally married to each other. The divorced parties are “single” again and can remarry.
While a legal separation proceeding is pending, either party may file for a divorce instead so long as at least one of the parties meets the New Mexico residency requirement.