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Contract Disputes and Property Disputes in New Mexico

Contract disputes and property disputes are civil legal disputes that arise when parties disagree about contracts or property. Contract disputes arise from disagreements about contracts; this may include contract terms or fulfillment. Property disputes, on the other hand, arise from real estate disputes. Some examples of real property disputes are lease or agreement disputes and title ownership disputes.

In New Mexico, different courts handle contract and property disputes, depending on the amount involved. Interested parties may file small claims, which involve no mo more than $10,000 in Magistrate or Metropolitan courts in New Mexico. The District Court handles disputes that involve more than $10,000.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are Contract Disputes in New Mexico?

New Mexico laws define contracts as legally binding agreements that the state laws enforce. Contracts may be oral or written; however, contracting parties must create a contract with all parties’ consent. It is important to note that New Mexico’s Statute of Frauds requires that some contracts be written for the contracts to be legally enforceable. Examples of such contracts are prenuptial agreements and real estate contracts. Otherwise, for a contract to be enforceable, there must be offer and acceptance, consideration, capacity, and legitimacy. This means that contract parties must share a mutual understanding of and agree to the terms of a contract. Parties must also exchange value and must be legally and otherwise capable of entering contracts. Persons aged 18 and older may legally enter contracts in New Mexico. Additionally, the contract must be about a legitimate or legal business.

A breach of contract occurs when a party fails to fulfill any contract terms without a legitimate defense or reason.


What are the Most Common Contract Disputes in New Mexico

Contract disputes happen when a contracting party disagrees with the contract terms, either the definitions or a failure to fulfill the terms. Common contract disputes in New Mexico include:

  • Contract breach: a breach of contract occurs when a party fails to fulfill the contract terms as laid out in the contract terms.
  • Employment Contract Disputes: This is a type of dispute that arises between an employer and an employee about the terms of employment
  • NDA and Non-compete disputes: Some businesses require contractors, employees, or contract parties to sign non-disclosure and non-compete agreements. Disputes may arise about a violation or the enforceability of such agreements.
  • Consumer contract disputes: this contract dispute may occur when a merchant or manufacturer sells faulty goods, fails to honor product warranty or otherwise breaches the consumer’s trust.
  • Commercial lease disputes: commercial lease disputes happen between business owners and building owners. If a building owner makes an unlawful detainer or if a business owner fails to fulfill leasing terms, disputes may occur.

What is the New Mexico Contract Law?

New Mexico’s contract law defines contracts and lays out the requirements for an enforceable contract. According to state laws, contracts that violate the law’s requirements will not be enforceable in the state. For example, written agreements must include the parties’ signature; contracts that do not include any party’s signature may not be enforceable. Additionally, state laws require that some agreements be made in writing to prevent fraud or fraudulent enforcement. Where the law requires memorialization in writing, contracts that violate this law are not enforceable.

What is a Breach of Contract in New Mexico?

A breach of contract occurs when one or more contract parties fail to fulfill contract terms as outlined in the agreement. There are two basic types of contract breach; material and immaterial breach. The main difference in the types of contract breach is that while a material breach fundamentally affects the fulfillment of the contract terms, an immaterial breach does not. Material breaches are major, and the court typically awards damages to the non-breaching party in a material breach. Additionally, the court may excuse the non-breaching party from fulfilling the contract. In the case of an immaterial breach, the law still requires contract fulfillment. Also, the court does not typically award damages for immaterial contract breaches.

What are the Remedies for a Breach of Contract in New Mexico?

The court awards remedies to non-breaching contract parties; however, the non-breaching party bears the burden of proof. This means that the non-breaching party must prove that there has been a breach. If the court determines that there has been a breach and the non-breaching party has suffered loss or damages due to the breach, the court will award remedies. Here are some ways by which the court remedies contract breaches in New Mexico:

  • Damages: the court may award money or other compensation for the damages that the non-breaching party suffered because of the breach. The court may also award punishment to the breaching party.
  • Specific performance: the court may require the breaching party to fulfill the party’s responsibilities as outlined in the contract terms.
  • Restitution: This is when the court requires the breaching party to restore any consideration, such as money or property, that the party received from the non-breaching party. The aim of restitution is to restore the non-breaching party to the party’s pre-contract state.
  • Rescission: when the court terminates all the contract parties’ contractual obligations, it is a rescission.
  • Reformation: The court may change contract terms to ensure justice and equity.

In order to file a breach of contract claim in New Mexico, interested parties must submit the claim at the court in the county where the claimant or non-breaching party resides or where the breaching party resides or conducts business. Depending on the amount involved, Magistrate Courts, Metropolitan Courts, and District Courts handle breach of contract claims in New Mexico. For small claims that involve $10,000 or less, claimants may file at the Metropolitan Court or Magistrate Court. The New Mexico District Courts hear cases that involve more than $10,000.

Non-breaching parties must file a complaint and a summons; the complaint highlights the sequence of events from the non-breaching party’s perspective, and the summons is to notify the breaching party of the filing.

Contract parties may pursue Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options, including negotiation. Mediation, settlement conferences, facilitation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, and fact-finding. Some state courts offer ADR services. However, if contract parties cannot resolve contract disputes using ADR, the case must proceed to trial.

What Defenses Can Be Used Against a Breach of Contract Claim in New Mexico?

Defenses that can be used against contract breach claims in New Mexico include:

  • Impossibility: this refers to a situation where, in the course of fulfilling contract terms, or in the period between contract creation and execution, it becomes impossible to fulfill the terms.
  • Legality: The court cannot enforce illegal contracts or contracts that violate state policy.
  • Lack of consideration: if one party does not provide consideration, it is a defense against a breach of contract claim
  • Capacity: if a contracting party has not reached New Mexico’s age of majority (18), or if the party is mentally incapable of entering a contract, the defendant may use the party’s capacity as a defense against a breach claim.
  • Coercion or Fraud: if contract parties obtain the contract through fraudulent means or by coercion, it is a legal defense against a breach claim.

What are Property Disputes in New Mexico?

Property disputes are a result of disagreements about real estate or property issues. Property disputes may be a result of a real estate contract breach. New Mexico property laws highlight guidelines for real estate ownership, rent control, easements, and other relations. New Mexico property laws also provide guidelines for property dispute resolution.

What Are Some Common Types of Property Disputes in New Mexico?

Common types of property disputes in New Mexico include:

  • Boundary line disputes: disputes about property boundaries are common in New Mexico. Boundary line disputes are about property boundaries.
  • Commercial lease disputes: building owners and leasing businesses may disagree about contract terms.
  • Landlord-tenant disputes: disagreements between landlords and tenants may arise from rent control, eviction, and other tenant rights issues.
  • Ownership disputes: ownership disputes are disagreements about the legal ownership of a property.
  • Property code violations: violations of the state-instituted property code may result in disputes
  • Wrongful possession: If a person wrongly assumes ownership or possession of a property, it may result in disputes.
  • Wrongful foreclosure: invalid foreclosures or foreclosures made in bad faith may also result in property disputes.

How to Find Property Lines

Property lines are boundary indicators. Property lines mark the point where properties begin and end and help to determine the position of buildings, fences, driveways, and others. Interested parties may be able to find property lines by consulting the property survey documents or property deed. If the boundaries that the survey documents or deeds indicate are outdated, interested parties may find property lines using government maps and geographical information systems. Alternatively, property line information is available on third-party websites.

How do I Find a Property Dispute Lawyer Near me?

New Mexico courts provide information on legal aid services, such as civil legal clinics and other legal assistance initiatives. Interested parties may also find property dispute lawyers through the state’s bar association.

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