Frequently Asked Questions
Call the statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-855-333-SAFE  or #SAFE from a cell phone.
Matters involving abuse and/or neglect proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.
A party may obtain information through the attorney who represented them in the proceeding.
In pending matters, respondents are encouraged to obtain counsel, or, if unable to afford an attorney,
to apply through the Children's Court Administration Office. The Human Services Division of the Children,
Youth and Families Department can provide limited information to respondents.
Stepparent adoption information and forms are available through the Children's Court Legal Assistant.
For information on filing fees, refer to the Fee Schedule.
Adoption records, except for adult adoptions, are confidential. The Children's Code provides
for the adopted child or biological parent to petition the Court for access.
Most older adoption records do not contain a consent to release identifying information by either
the biological parent or the adopted child, as this was not required in adoptions during that time.
Without a consent to release information, the Court can only release non-identifying information.
This is limited to health and medical history of the adopted child's biological parents,
health and medical history of the adopted child and the adopted child's general family background
(including ancestral information, without name references or geographical designations).
If the adopted child is a Native American, the following information may be provided: tribal information;
physical descriptions of the adopted child and the child's biological parents; and the length of time the
adopted child was in the care and custody of any person other than the adoptive parents.
Submitting a written request to the Central Adoptions Unit of the Children, Youth and Families Department
requires no fee for obtaining non-identifying information by the adopted child or biological parent.
Juvenile delinquent cases or referrals of a delinquent act are not automatically sealed upon attaining legal age.
To seal proceedings, an order must be submitted to the Court for approval. refer to the Children's Code for
specifics in the time frame to seal a record. The initiating party is responsible for serving a copy of the
filed order to the agencies involved. Forms are available through the Children's Court Legal Assistant.
No filing fee is required.
An emancipation proceeding is initiated by the minor, age sixteen or older. Refer to the Children's Code for details.
Information and forms are available through the Children's Court Legal Assistant. For information on filing fees,
refer to the Fee Schedule.
Fill out a Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit available through the Children's Court Legal Assistant.
To establish more extensive legal and parental rights, you might file for kinship guardianship.
Child custody and child support matters relating to divorce, separation or living arrangement are addressed
through the Domestic Relations Division, not through Children's Court.
Yes, a filing fee is normally required, except for proceedings filed by the state. For information on
filing fees, refer to the Fee Schedule.
5-10 hours monthly.
No, the program trains you initially and provides for ongoing instruction.
Yes, some flexibility is helpful. Court hearings are held 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Juveniles and families are referred through the agencies of the juvenile justice system.
Court ordered clients have priority.
Referrals from APS and other agencies are considered on a case by case basis.
YFC services are free of charge. Families should be referred through the Juvenile Probation Office, and or court ordered
through the Children's Court and the Family Court Division to be eligible for services.
The agency does not require Medicaid.
A client can be referred to the PEG Program by the judge, her probation officer or her
counselor. She has to have been adjudicated and have a history of exposure to domestic
violence and/or have a domestic violence charge against her before the program can assess her.
Parent participation is mandatory in the PEG Program, although an exception can be made in
special circumstances if the client is 18 and parent participation would be detrimental to the
client's progress. The parents are made party to the petition and can receive consequences,
including incarceration, if they fail to participate.
The PEG clients are required to participate in at least two service learning projects per session
and are given community service hours as a sanction. The PEG clients may also be required to
attend field trips, conferences and any other activities the PEG team decides would be beneficial.
The client and their parents are required to attend court once a week to report on problems
and successes. They are also required to attend group, family and individual counseling weekly or bi-weekly.
No, only court related agencies can make referrals.
Yes, every Wednesday, 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Referrals are received through the Juvenile Probation Office, treatment providers, attorneys, or may be court ordered.
- Prior referrals for drug-related offenses
- Prior referrals for non-drug-related offenses but crimes committed while under the influence.
- No prior referrals but the child requests Drug Court because of self-admitted drug or alcohol dependency.
- Self-referral as a result of a plea agreement for probation.
Referrals are initiated by the Court.
Attorney representation is only required for companies/corporations. Individuals who choose to appear on their own behalf
(pro se) may do so, however, they must prepare all necessary paperwork. The forms available are limited.
As stated above, the court staff cannot provide legal information. Parties appearing on their own behalf are
expected to know and follow the laws, Rules of Procedure, and Local Rules as they apply to their case.
In the Civil Division, all hearings are set by the Judge's office upon formal request. If you require a hearing you must
submit the following: an original Request for Hearing and two copies, one copy is provided to the Judge;
an original Notice of Hearing and copies for all parties entitled to notice;
stamped envelopes addressed to all parties entitled to notice, including yourself. Samples of these documents
are in Motions Packet which is available in the Civil Division.
If pro se parties are unable to fill out the forms, they must contact an attorney; the judicial specialists
are unable to provide assistance to parties with regards to filling out forms.
Any individual needing to view a civil file, must request viewing at the Civil Division Records Retrieval window.
All files except for 1990, 1991 and TX cases may be accessed immediately upon request.
1990, 1991 and TX cases are located offsite. Requests for these files are taken and party is
contacted when file is available.
The Civil Division does have forms available for $10.00 for individuals who want a name change.
Individuals must completely fill out all forms, prior to filing. A hearing date
is scheduled approximately one month from date of filing. Judge's
office provides exact date of hearing. After initiation of case,
prior to hearing, notice of the name change must be published in a newspaper.
Judge will determine whether or not name change will be granted during the hearing. The filing fee is $122.00.
The Civil Division does provide a form packet at no charge. Upon expiration of revocation
period, the individual needing a license restoration may pick up and fill
out forms. Hearing date will be set by the judge's office. The judge
will determine whether or not restoration of license is to be granted at
time of hearing. The filing fee is $122.00.
A party must file a “domestic matters” case and then file a request for a Court Clinic Referral Order.
If the parties have been in the Clinic previously, the Judge must sign a new Order to return.
There is no charge for a Priority Consultation or Mediation. If the parties are ordered for an
Advisory Consultation or Settlement Facilitation, the cost is based on a sliding scale and is
calculated using both parties’ income.
Only the Judge can issue or enforce Orders. Therefore, if someone is not following an Order, it
must be brought back before the Court to have the Judge decide how to proceed.
No, any party may be referred to the Court Clinic by Court order.
As stated above, the Clinic only deals with child-related issues. It does not assess child
support or deal with any financial or property issues.
All Tapes and CD's are filed with Special Services by the Court Monitor. The requesting party must have the
date of the hearing and the name of the judge or hearing officer in order to obtain a copy of the proceedings.
Transcripts are not provided in hearings recorded by the monitors; the tape is the official record.
Under normal conditions, it takes less than three working days. Proceedings involving a large number of tapes
could take longer.
Yes, the requesting party, upon request, will receive a computer generated log prepared by the Court Monitor
which accompanies the tape. This log highlights certain portions of the proceedings and is meant to supplement
the tape in terms of following what happened during the hearing or motion.
A transcript request should be faxed to (505) 841-6766. Please include the following information: date of hearing,
name of Judge, cause number including case type, caption, such as State of NM vs. John Doe, any deadline by
which the transcript is needed, name and telephone number for a contact person. You will then receive the
name and telephone number of the reporter.
Page rates are set by statute depending on the type of case and whether it is an appeal or non-appeal
transcript. The Court Reporter will provide an estimated cost. The requesting party pays the Court
Reporter directly for civil proceedings and non-indigent criminal cases. In certain instances, the
transcript fee may be waived by Court order.
The Court Reporter files all exhibits admitted into evidence in the Special Services Division of the
District Court. Please contact Special Services for copies or further information.
The case number if you know it; if not, the defendant’s name, social security number and date of birth.
The case file can be viewed at the Criminal Division of District Court upon request. Information regarding documents
filed in any particular case can be viewed at www.nmcourts.gov
Copies of documents are available at 35 cents per page.
Public Defenders may be appointed to represent a defendant if certain criteria are met such as income.
Applications for Public Defender representation should be made at the Public Defender's office. Phone (505) 841-5100
for more information.
Cash bonds posted by individuals may be returned to the individual who posted the bond after
the defendant has appeared at all required hearings; call the Criminal Division for details.
Bonds posted by licensed bail bondsmen are not refundable by the Court.
Your attorney should keep you informed of any court date. You may also call the Judge or the Criminal
Division to request information.
Fines and fees due to the Court must be paid at the Criminal Division.
The Court will generally allow defendants a period of time to pay any fines or fees imposed by the Court.
The defense attorney may be able to make arrangements with the Court for the defendant to make payments on time.
Court clerks are prohibited from dispensing legal advice in any manner.
Certain forms and limited assistance in procedures are available from the
Self Help or Domestic Violence Divisions.
It is in your best interest to work with a licensed attorney. However,
if your case is simple, you may wish to do the research and prepare your
own paperwork, download certain forms or purchase certain forms from the
Court. Please understand, however, that the clerks and Judge’s staff,
by law, are not permitted to dispense legal advice or analysis.
For legal advice, always consult a licensed N.M. attorney.
It is usually best to come to the Domestic Relations Division office.
(Please see our address and hours at the top of the page.) However, if you need something
basic, such as a certified Marital Settlement Agreement and Final Decree, you may mail your request with the following:
- Exact full names of both parties
- Case number and year the case was filed, if at all possible
- Approximate filing dates for the requested document(s)
- Self-addressed envelope (business size or larger) with enough postage for two ounces
- $5 money order or cashier’s check made payable to the Clerk of the Court
Payments allowed are cash, money order, or cashier’s check made payable to the Clerk of the Court.
There is no difference. All DR cases were converted to DM in 1997 to allow consistent reporting throughout the state.
Generally, mornings and midweek are less busy. However, the Domestic Relations Division
does stay open through the lunch hour for your convenience.
Form two is at the bottom of form one (on the same page).
It is a decision made by the trial judge and the circumstances of the case.
Yes, it is possible for a juror to serve on two or three trials while serving on jury duty.
There has not been a trial in this district in the last two decades that has been sequestered. Many of our high
profile trials have been semi-sequestered in the sense that the impaneled jurors have been
kept together during the lunch hour but that is the extent of it.