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Family Law for Same-Sex Couples and Families

Vangie and Traci Dona Ana Las Cruces New Mexico

New Mexico recognizes marriage between same-sex people. Our New Mexico Supreme Court "legalized" same-sex marriage in December of 2013. SeeGriego v. Oliver.

The Court said in an unanimous decision that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

"We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage under New Mexico law," Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote in the decision.

Several counties in New Mexico had already been issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, setting up the state Supreme Court to decide whether it was legal or not. New Mexico becomes the 17th state to legalize gay marriage.

The United States Supreme Court is expected to decide upon the legality of same-sex marriage in April 2015.

UPDATE: The United States Supreme Court has ruled Same-Sex Marriage is Legal!

All that being said, in New Mexico the same set of laws providing for divorce and child custody apply to same-sex marriages and the same laws which govern custody will govern custody for same-sex couples. The 2012 case, Chatterjee v. King, provides among many things that parties in same sex relationships have the same rights to petition the Court for parentage, custody, and child support, as any other parent. This case is huge because when coupled with the Griego case, LGBT people enjoy the exact same legal schema for marriage, divorce, and child rearing as anyone else.

Here in New Mexico, same-sex couples experience the same legal issues as their heterosexual counterparts do, but the law isn’t always very clear about a person’s particular rights. LGBT people often times find themselves involved in Domestic Violence cases. Please read the page on Domestic Violence to learn what to do if you are a victim of domestic violence.Please review the information on this web site with respect to getting a temporary restraining order.

Many same-sex couples have children and often times this can lead to child custody and child support issues. These matters are handled in the same way that they would be for straight families. Please refer the child support and child custody pages on this web site for more information.