The information contained in this page is
offered to help you represent yourself in the District
Court if you do not have a lawyer, that is you are “pro
se”. This is not legal advice and may not apply
to every situation. It is strongly recommended that you
have a lawyer to consult with or to represent you. Most
of the information contained in this page pertains to
domestic cases, e.g. divorce and child support.
1. You must follow the same rules that a lawyer must
follow. If you fail to follow the rules, you may permanently
lose important rights. Courthouse staff are prohibited
from giving legal advice. You may find the basic law,
rules, and statutes online at NM
Supreme Court Law Library of New Mexico statutes.
2. Do not attempt to speak privately to the judges or
hearing officers. The judges may only speak to you when
both sides are present or given a chance to appear at
3. Put requests in the form of a written petition or
motion. See Local Rules and Rules of Civil Procedure for
proper form. Many divorce and custody forms are available
at the District Court Clerk’s Office. Many of these
forms are also available to download from this web site.
here to link to the Forms Page. This page lists the
forms available to the public at no cost as either hardcopies
that you may pick up or as downloadable forms that you
4. In order to file a new case (or reopen a case closed
for more than forty-five days), you must pay a fee. Click
here for a list of filing fees. Personal checks are
not accepted. You must pay with cash or a money order
made out to the “Ninth District Court”. If
you cannot afford to pay a filing fee, you may request
free process or a reduced fee on the Application for Free
Process. Remember that the information you provide on
the Application for Free Process is under oath, subject
to perjury. Also, if evidence at a hearing differs from
your Application for Free Process, you may be ordered
to pay the fee.
5. You must have the original Petition, Motion or Order
and enough copies for each person who is a party and the
Court or Hearing Office. If you do not have enough copies,
the Clerk will make them for you at a cost of $.35 per
6. All Motions, Petitions or Complaints are filed in
the Clerk’s Office. The original document will be
kept by the Clerk for the Court file. Your copies will
be stamped with the date the document was filed. This
is your endorsed copy. The clerks can give you the information
from the Court file including your case number, who the
assigned judge is, and what pleadings have been filed.
Clerks may not give you legal advice about how to proceed
in you lawsuit.
7. “Serve” the opposing party. All contact
with the Court must be served on the person who is against
you in your case. A Summons, Petition or Motion on a closed
case (closed more than 45 days) and some orders, must
personally be served by the Sheriff, or a person who in
not a party and who is over the age of eighteen (18) years.
Se Rules of Civil Procedure 1-004. All motions on ongoing
cases and correspondence must be mailed to the other party
or their lawyer. You must note on your pleading or correspondence
when you mailed it to the other party.
8. If you have received a notice of hearing, you must
be prepared to present all your evidence on the day of
the hearing. Bring your witnesses and written evidence.
Bring copies of your exhibits and provide them to the
other party before the hearing. Subpoenas to require witnesses
to appear may be issued by the Clerk’s Office for
any witness you need to prove your case. The Sheriff’s
Office may serve subpoenas for you. Witness fees also
need to be served with the subpoenas to people you subpoena
(See Rule of Civil Procedure 1-045). Witness fees for
any witnesses who are not expert are up to $75.00 per
day plus mileage at the rate of $.25 per mile, see 10-8-4
N.M.S.A. 1974 (1995) Repl.). Expert witnesses such as
doctors, psychologists or accountants may require advance
payment of fees. You should consult with any expert witnesses
you wish to testify for you before you arrange for a subpoena.
9. Dress with dignity. Do not wear shorts, halter tops,
or other distracting clothing. Be clean.
10. Do not bring children to court. Unless a child has
been subpoenaed to testify, find a babysitter. Children
will not be allowed in the courtrooms or hearing rooms.
No daycare is provided by the courthouse staff. Children
may no be left unattended.
11. Provide a current and reliable mailing address and
telephone number to the court, hearing office and the
opposing party. Once you appear in a case, you may be
notified of hearings or motions by mail only. If you move
and your mail fails to reach you, you may permanently
lose important rights. You should file a change of address
in the court file. The court of hearing office will only
mail notices to the address you provide in the court file.
12. Request a hearing. You are responsible for bringing
your case before the judge or hearing officer by submitting
a request for hearing form. Cases, which are not heard
within (6) six months are subject to dismissal.
13. Appear at all scheduled hearing. Arrive at least
five minutes before the scheduled time and make sure the
secretary or court monitor for the Judge or Hearing Officer
knows that you are present. If you are requesting a relief
and you do not appear, your case will be dismissed. If
the other party is asking for a relief and you do not
appear, they will normally get the relief they are asking
for. You may permanently lose your opportunity to be heard
on the issue. If an emergency arises which requires you
to vacate (cancel) or continue (postpone) a hearing:
14. If you, or the other party or witnesses, need an
interpreter to help understand the hearing, you should
inform the administrative assistant for the judge or hearing
officer assigned to your case at least twenty-four hours
before the hearing. An interpreter will be provided at
no cost for anyone who needs help understanding English.
If you have any other special needs to assist you in participating
in your hearing, please inform the administrative assistant
as soon as possible after receiving notice of hearing.
Every effort will be made to ensure that your access to
all services of the court will not be limited.
15. Notaries are available in the offices of the judges,
hearing officers, and clerk’s offices. You must
have a picture identification and you must sign in front
of the notary (not before). Please do not ask notaries
to sign for someone who is not present. Remember, having
your signature notarized means you swear to the contents
of the paper you’ve signed under penalty of perjury.