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First Judicial District Court

Tribunal del Primer Distrito Judicial

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The information contained here is offered to help you represent yourself in the District Court if you do not have a lawyer.

The information offered here is NOT legal advice and may not apply to every situation. It is STRONGLY recommended that you consult with a lawyer before making decisions or taking actions in your case. Most of the information contained in this page pertains to family law cases, for example, divorce, parentage (paternity), and child support.

Court staff CANNOT give legal advice. “Legal advice” is explaining the law to you, explaining how the law may apply to your case, telling you what form you need to file, or telling you what to do in your case. “Legal advice” also includes telling you what to put in the blanks of pleading forms. Court staff CANNOT fill out the forms for you or tell you how to fill out the forms. They can explain what information the forms are asking for, but you must fill in the forms in your own words. Court staff cannot tell you what you should do in a given situation. Asking, “what would you do if you were me” is asking for legal advice!

Please do not ask the court staff for legal advice.

If you are the Petitioner, Plaintiff, Respondent, or Defendant in a court case, and you do not have a lawyer to advise and represent you, you are a “Self-Represented Litigant” (“SRL”). “Litigant” means a party to a lawsuit.

You may also be referred to as a “Pro Se Litigant”. “Pro Se” means appearing for yourself.

If you are representing yourself, you are both your own lawyer and your own client.

You will be expected to be familiar with, and follow, the statutes (laws) that apply to your case as well as the Rules of Civil Procedure, including the Local Rules, and Rules of Evidence. There are no special rules for self-represented people! The same rules that apply to lawyers apply to you. If you do not follow the law and the rules you may permanently lose important rights.

The information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and does not substitute for seeking independent legal advice regarding the handling of a lawsuit or related legal matters.


Domestic Abuse Services

THEY are called the RESPONDENT

YOU must legally notify each respondent that you filed a petition against them.

YOU must file proof with the court that you did so.

The court WILL NOT do this for you.

  1. Legal Notice by Personal Service

If you know where the respondent works, lives, or can be found.

A friend or family member (must be over 18) delivers a copy of all the paperwork to the respondent.

  1. Legal Notice by Mail

If you have a good mailing address for the respondent.

  1. Legal Notice by Publication

    If you DON’T know where the respondent works, lives, or can be found.

    Your case will NOT move forward unless you legally notify each respondent that you filed a petition against them. You may want to see a lawyer for advice.

    This information sheet only highlights the 3 most common ways to serve the respondent. For details, see Rule 1-004 NMRA.

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