What are New Mexico Family Court Records?
New Mexico family court records are documents which contain information regarding cases heard by the state’s family courts. These records are generated by the administrative arm of family courts within the jurisdiction of the state, and are designed to provide an objective account of the courts litigation processes. They feature information regarding disputes/suits heard by the courts as well as details of all summons, court actions, motions, opinions and oral arguments tendered during court proceedings.
Pursuant to the state’s public record laws, family court records can be made available to interested members of the public upon request. However access to selected records requires requestors to meet specific eligibility requirements which may vary depending on the record and its custodian
What Cases are Heard by New Mexico Family Courts?
The New Mexico judicial system consists of the state Supreme Court, the New Mexico Court of Appeals, 13 Judicial District Courts, the state Magistrate Court, Municipal Court and Probate Court. The Second Judicial District Court operates a Family Court as one of its four divisions. This court specializes in cases pertaining to domestic matters with jurisdiction over cases involving:
- Marriage-related disputes, divorces, legal separation, and annulment
- Guardianship, adoption, termination of parental rights, and minor emancipation
- Child custody, adoption, and child visitation rights
- Domestic abuse/assault as well as child abuse and neglect
- Spousal support/alimony and child support
- Estate transfers, wills, and trust claims
New Mexico family court records are generated and disseminated by the offices of the court clerks in the courts where the cases were heard. If the original judgement of a case is reviewed at a higher court such as New Mexico’s Court of Appeals or the state Supreme Court, the record of the said case (including all updates made to the original verdict) will also be maintained by the administrative arm of the appellate court.
What is Included in New Mexico Family Court Records?
New Mexico family court records are maintained to provide official accounts of court cases heard by the state’s family courts. As such, most of them include general court case information as well as details of litigation processes and final verdicts along with any subsequent revisions made to the original verdicts. Family court records generally contain:
- General case information including the personal information of the parties involved in the dispute and details regarding the place and date the case was filed/heard
- Documents detailing court actions such as motions, arguments, court appearances, and witness statements etc.
- Evidence filed by both parties
- Details of the court’s final verdict including any financial settlements and entitlements such as alimony/spousal support, child support awarded to either party
- Conditions for court-issued rights such as child custody and visitation
- Revisions to the original judgment for cases appealed to the state Court of Appeals or Supreme Court
Are Family Court Records Public in New Mexico?
The state judiciary provides public access to most family court records. However, this excludes any records that are deemed confidential by state statutes. Records which are available to the public include general court case information and details of the court proceedings, including motions, judgments and financial settlements. On the other hand, the following records are restricted:
- Any information or records sealed or closed at the request of the parties involved or by court order
- All personal and identifying information of minors and juveniles as well as domestic violence/abuse victims.
- Reports submitted by public welfare institutions such as social services or child protective services
- Reports containing physical/mental health evaluations conducted on the plaintiff or defendant
- Information pertaining to the financial status of the persons involved in the suit including financial bank account numbers, credit case numbers etc.
- Records of dropped charges
Pursuant to New Mexico state public record laws, confidential records may only be accessed by persons who meet the state’s eligibility requirements for obtaining sealed records. These include the subject(s) of the record and persons who have obtained the legal authority to access sealed records via court orders/subpoenas.
How Do I Get Family Court Records in New Mexico?
The state of New Mexico provides interested members of the public with access to family court records through a variety of channels. While the record retrieval processes are often unique to case types and the record custodians, most records can be obtained using online resources managed by the state or third-party aggregator sites. It is also possible to make in-person queries to the record custodians by sending written requests to the offices of the clerks of court.
How to Obtain New Mexico Family Court Records Online
The state of New Mexico provides two channels through which interested members of the public can access court records online. The public can access New Mexico court records online via:
- New Mexico Case Lookup
- Secured Odyssey Public Access
The New Mexico Case Lookup tool provides access to court records generated by the New Mexico District Courts, the Metropolitan Court, Magistrate Courts, Municipal Courts, and the state’s appellate courts. Access to the database requires no pre-registration, and users may search for their desired records by the names of the parties involved in the cases or using the case numbers of the records.
Pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 2–112 and 6–114, sealed records and confidential case files are not available through this channel. These include personal identifying information, domestic violence details, and juvenile criminal cases as well as cases covered by the Family Violence Protection Act order of protection.
The Secured Odyssey Public Access portal also provides online access to court records maintained by the state’s District Courts, the Magistrate Court, Metropolitan Court, and appellate courts. However, interested users are required to pre-register before accessing the portal. Access is also stratified into tiers 1 and 2, both of which require approved applications.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and New Mexico divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
How to Make In-Person Requests for New Mexico Family Records
Pursuant to New Mexico public record laws, family court records may also be obtained by querying record custodians in person. In-person requests are especially recommended for obtaining full case information since restrictions are placed on the court case information accessible online. In order to obtain New Mexico family court records in person, the requesting party must:
- Find The Record Custodian
Most courts in New Mexico maintain separate record repositories which feature records generated locally. In-person record requests require that the requesting party confirm and locate the judicial district where the case was heard, and the record custodian. Typically, family court records are maintained and disseminated by the offices of the clerks of trial, appellate, and superior courts. The location of a court record is primarily dependent on the most current status of the case. While records of closed cases may be maintained by the clerks of the trial courts, records of cases which are appealed are also revised and managed by the administrative arm of the appellate courts.
- Prepare the Required Information
To obtain a family court record, the requestor must provide the information required to facilitate the record search. Typically, the information required includes the full name of the parties involved, the case file number of the record, and other details of the case filing. Additionally, requestors may be charged a nominal search/copy fee depending on the request made. When requesting access to confidential records, the requestor must also provide a court order authorizing access to the confidential or sealed information sought.
- Making In-person Record Requests
After locating the record custodian, the requesting party may proceed to query the office regarding the jurisdictions’ unique requirements for accessing court records. The requestor may be required to schedule an appointment with the court clerk’s office beforehand. Requestors may be provided with a record request form indicating the information required to process their requestor. In addition to the required information, the requestor must provide a government-issued photo ID to confirm their eligibility to access the record.
How to Access New Mexico Family Court Records via Mail
New Mexico family court records can also be requested by sending mail-in queries to record custodians. Mail-in requests can be made by preparing a written request providing information needed to search, find, and retrieve the records requested. The information required includes the full name of the plaintiff/defendant and the case file/docket number of the record as well as the personal information of the requestor. Record request forms may also be substituted for a written request. The requesting party may also be required to enclose a government-issued ID, a self-addressed envelope, and copy/search fees.
Specialized Family Court Records
Alongside maintaining and disseminating records of family law cases and proceedings and trial transcripts, New Mexico family courts generate and issue a variety of decrees, orders, and certificates. These documents perform a variety of functions including providing legal authorization for marriage dissolutions, adoptions, and child custody arrangements as well as will execution and the issuance of financial claims. Like court records, these documents may be made available to interested and eligible persons. However, the eligibility requirements for accessing these records generally varies.
How Do I Access Divorce Records in New Mexico?
Copies of divorce court records and divorce decrees are maintained and provided by the court clerks of the issuing courts. As such, requests for these records can be made by contacting the county court clerk or district court clerk in the jurisdictions where the divorces were granted.
To obtain a divorce record, the requesting party must provide the following information: full names of the parties involved, the date of the divorce, and the case file number of the record (if known). Additionally,the requester may be charged a nominal fee to cover copy, certification, and search costs (if applicable).
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.