Not all divorces take the same path



It’s never easy when you and your spouse have reached an impasse in your divorce negotiations or when courtroom litigation has gone on for months or even years. The attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C., are proud to have helped many couples throughout New Mexico resolve disputes, even when finalizing their divorce seemed impossible.

Whether you are in mediation or stuck in divorce litigation, if you would like to resolve your divorce you may have your case heard in a private setting before an arbitrator. Divorce arbitration is similar to a divorce trial, but the details of your case will remain private and the arbitrator will decide the outcome through binding arbitration.


First, you and your spouse will work with your attorneys to choose a divorce arbitrator. During a hearing, you will present the arbitrator with the specific issues that are preventing resolution, such as property division or child support disputes. After the hearing, your arbitrator will make a decision on the disputed issues. This is often called an Arbitrator’s Award.

Unlike courtroom decisions, decisions made in arbitration are binding. Binding arbitration means that the arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed at a later date. Many couples accept binding arbitration because they want to prevent litigation or put an end to a long courtroom battle. Binding arbitration can solve most of your divorce issues.



While the attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. always believe family law matters are better resolved outside of court, sometimes a divorcing couple attempts mediation and/or negotiation but cannot reach an agreement. When a couple cannot agree on divorce issues like child custody, spousal support and property division, the case must be argued in court through divorce litigation.

If you are facing contested divorce litigation in New Mexico, our attorneys can provide you with experienced representation that protects your rights and interests, helping you to secure a brighter future.


Several situations may arise that cause your divorce to be litigated in court. For example, if your case raises an unsettled area of divorce law in New Mexico, it’s very difficult for parties to fashion an agreement through divorce mediation. In other situations, a separated couple simply cannot agree on who gets what during property division, or the best way to divide time spent with their children.


In contested divorce litigation, one spouse begins by filing a divorce action against the other spouse, and each party hires an attorney. Once litigation is started, the divorce litigator (attorney) gathers as much information and documentation as possible to get a clear picture of expenses, assets, income and debts.

Gathering information may include subpoenas upon employers and other third parties to obtain information your former spouse refuses to provide. Our divorce litigators are familiar with experts (such as psychologists and accountants) commonly appointed by Court to provide expert testimony in these areas.

Beginning in litigation does not mean your case will end with a trial. While complying with court orders and deadlines, our divorce litigators also continue to attempt to reach an agreement outside of court during the litigation process. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case all the way to trial and will advocate for your best interests with professionalism and compassion.



Sometimes a couple cannot agree on a divorce settlement, leading to a contested divorce. If you are facing a contested divorce, you need an experienced divorce lawyer at your side to protect your interests. At Terry & deGraauw, P.C., we understand the financial and emotional challenges you are facing as a result of your divorce and can help ensure you make the right decisions throughout this difficult time.

While our law firm encourages amicable resolutions through Collaborative divorce or divorce mediation, sometimes litigation is the only way to protect your interests. Our lawyers will explain your rights as your case proceeds, navigating the process with you every step of the way.


Both contested and uncontested divorces include issues like child custody, fault, visitation, child support and division of assets. Our experienced divorce lawyers can represent you in all aspects of your divorce. Generally, the stages of a contested divorce include:

  • Initial filing of the divorce petition or response
  • Financial disclosures
  • Temporary orders through agreement or court hearings
  • Discovery (including depositions)
  • Case management conferences
  • Mandatory settlement conferences
  • Trial (divorce litigation)

Temporary orders may determine the use of a residence or vehicle and are ordered by a family court judge while your case is pending. Permanent orders may include property division and child support orders and are made at the time of your trial.

Terry & deGraauw, P.C., provides sophisticated representation designed to protect your long-term interests. We are family law specialists, meaning we have extensive training concerning issues of divorce and family law. If you need real solutions to serious divorce, custody or property division disputes, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Collaborative Divorce


Collaborative divorce allows couples and their divorce attorneys to attempt to resolve any conflicts outside of court. In a Collaborative divorce, the parties enter into a contract agreeing to resolve the terms of a divorce outside of court rather than engaging in adversarial techniques that can lead to courtroom battles.  If an agreement is not reached, then all professionals involved in the Collaborative case, including each party’s attorney will not participate in future divorce litigation.

During the Collaborative divorce process, both sides rely on neutral experts to help with specific areas of the settlement process. The types of professionals needed may vary depending on the specific aspects of your divorce.

Your Collaborative family law team may include:

  • Accountants
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Child Specialists
  • Appraisers
  • Therapists
  • Estate & Probate Lawyers
  • Insurance Professionals
  • Bankruptcy Lawyers


When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you will each retain a lawyer trained in Collaborative family law. Your attorneys will not compete, but will instead be there to provide sound advice and support in order to ensure your individual interests are protected throughout the process of settling your divorce.

If you recently decided to divorce, you may be concerned that the divorce will lead to a long courtroom battle that hurts your children and creates permanent estrangement between you and your former spouse.

Good divorce lawyers understand that adversarial litigation is not the preferred way to divorce. At Terry & deGraauw, P.C., we provide Collaborative divorce services in New Mexico designed to keep you out of court and help build a positive post-divorce relationship with your family.


Mediation and Collaborative divorce are similar in that they both require the parties to sit down and work out differences without going to court. However, Collaborative divorce is different because each person has a Collaborative attorney at his or her side to protect his or her interests and the support of a team of professionals to bring sophistication and expertise to your complex divorce issues.

Sometimes Collaborative divorce is better for couples who cannot resolve differences through mediation. Collaborative divorce should be chosen over mediation when there are complex financial or tax issues that require expert analysis, difficult emotional issues that can prevent parties from moving forward in a traditional mediation setting or child custody issues that cannot be agreed upon and require the expertise of a child specialist.

Divorce is a painful, life-changing event, but the Collaborative divorce process allows you and your spouse to focus on solving problems with the best outcome for your family.  The attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. have extensive experience in Collaborative law and have served on the board of the New Mexico Collaborative Practice Group.



Divorce in New Mexico can be a confusing and lengthy process, especially if you are entering a high-asset divorce that involves complex property division or joint business ownership. Tax issues, debts, hidden assets and other complex assets require the attention of financial professionals and seasoned divorce attorneys.


Our divorce attorneys effectively collaborate with financial experts, accountants, economists, business appraisers and other professionals to help you work toward a settlement in your divorce. High-asset divorces are complex, but our attorneys help you:

  • Identify and evaluate marital assets and separate property, including investment accounts, retirement accounts and deferred compensation.
  • Locate hidden assets that are subject to equitable division.
  • Review prenuptial agreements and work to uphold or contest its validity.
  • Identify pre-tax and post-tax assets that could impact the equitable division of assets.

The experience of your divorce attorney is invaluable when dealing with complex divorce and division of assets. Terry & deGraauw, P.C., will work to keep your costs and your stress in check throughout the property division process. We have the skills, knowledge and resources to resolve your property division issues and attempt to avoid costly litigation.

Achieving a reasonable settlement outside of court is always preferable to divorce litigation. However, we are seasoned, complex divorce litigators who are prepared to protect your rights in court whenever necessary. We will advocate for your best interests with professionalism and compassion both inside and outside of court.



Even amicable divorces or other family law issues can become challenging to navigate when you to divide property or childcare duties on your own. Family law mediation is a process that allows both parties to meet with an unbiased divorce mediator who encourages you to work out the terms of your agreement without the need for an expensive courtroom battle.  Our attorneys are intimately familiar with the family laws in New Mexico and can help ensure your agreement is fair and all-encompassing.


The mediators at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. facilitate discussion between both parties to help you resolve issues and finalize your family law case. Issues resolved in mediation include:

  • Divorce & Legal Separation
  • Custody & Parenting Plans
  • Valuation & Division of Property
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Premarital Agreements & Post Nuptial Agreements

Whether you are facing contested or uncontested issues, mediation is an excellent way to avoid the emotional and financial costs of court. Mediation has several benefits:

  • Mediation allows you to make decisions and create solutions that make the most sense for your family. If your case were to go to litigation, a judge would be making all the decisions for you.
  • You are able to work at your own pace. There are no court dates when you choose to work with a mediator. You may take as many or as few sessions as needed to resolve the issues you are facing.
  • Unlike traditional litigation, all of your family matters will remain private during mediation.

During mediation, each party will exchange information and utilize productive, non-adversarial techniques to arrive at an agreement. The mediators at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. may also help refer certain aspects of your case to other professionals such as appraisers, accountants and mental health experts to provide additional support to the family during the mediation process.


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Divorce Types, Types of Divorces

Any information communicated to Terry & deGraauw, P.C. before you enter into a representation agreement may not be treated as privileged or confidential and sending information will not create an attorney-client relationship. Receipt of information from you before you receive and sign a representation agreement will not prevent Terry & deGraauw, P.C. from representing someone else in a matter adverse to you.

Divorce Types, Types of Divorces

Any information communicated to Terry & deGraauw Family Law Firm before you enter into an engagement letter may not be treated as privileged or confidential, and sending information will not create an attorney-client relationship. Receipt of information from you before you receive and sign a representation agreement will not prevent Terry & deGraauw Family Law Firm from representing someone else in a matter adverse to you.

Divorce Types, Types of Divorces


1801 Rio Grande Blvd NW Suite B Albuquerque, NM 87104

Phone (505) 206-5044

Fax (505) 206-5048


Find out more about divorce, custody and property division law in Albuquerque, New Mexico by calling 505-206-5044 to schedule a consultation.

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