New Mexico Bankruptcy Laws : New Mexico State Exemptions

Complete state of New Mexico bankruptcy exemptions laws which protect a debtor’s property when personal bankruptcy is filed.

42-10-9. Homestead exemption.
Each person shall have exempt a homestead in a dwelling house and land occupied by the person or in a dwelling house occupied by the person although the dwelling is on land owned by another, provided that the dwelling is owned, leased or being purchased by the person claiming the exemption. Such a person has a homestead of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) exempt from attachment, execution or foreclosure by a judgment creditor and from any proceeding of receivers or trustees in insolvency proceedings and from executors or administrators in probate. If the homestead is owned jointly by two persons, each joint owner is entitled to an exemption of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000).

35-12-7. Garnishment; exemptions.

A. Exempt from garnishment with respect to the enforcement of an order or decree for child support is fifty percent of the defendant’s disposable earnings for any pay period. Exempt from garnishment in all other situations is the greater of the following portions of the defendant’s disposable earnings:

(1) seventy-five percent of the defendant’s disposable earnings for any pay period; or
(2) an amount each week equal to forty times the federal minimum hourly wage rate. The director of the financial institutions division [of the regulation and licensing department] shall provide a table giving equivalent exemptions for pay periods of other than one week.

B. B. As used in this section:

(1) (1) “disposable earnings” means that part of a defendant’s wage or salary remaining after deducting the amounts which are required by law to be withheld; and
(2) “federal minimum hourly wage rate” means the highest federal minimum hourly wage rate for an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week. However, it is immaterial whether the garnishee is exempt under federal law from paying the federal minimum hourly wage rate.

C. The maximum amount which may be taken from a spouse’s disposable earnings under both the garnishment procedure and the wage deduction procedure for the enforcement of child support is fifty percent of the spouse’s disposable earnings.

42-10-1. Exemptions of married persons or heads of households.
Personal property in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500), tools of the trade in the amount of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500), one motor vehicle in the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000), jewelry in the amount of twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500), clothing, furniture, books, medical-health equipment being used for the health of the person and not for his profession and any interest in or proceeds from a pension or retirement fund of every person supporting another person is exempt from receivers or trustees in bankruptcy or other insolvency proceedings, fines, attachment, execution or foreclosure by a judgment creditor. Property exempted shall be valued at the market value of used chattels.
42-10-2. Exemptions of persons who support only themselves.
Personal property other than money in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500), tools of the trade in the amount of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500), one motor vehicle in the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000), jewelry in the amount of twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500), clothing, furniture, books, medical-health equipment being used for the health of the person and not for his profession and any interest in or proceeds from a pension or retirement fund of every person supporting only himself is exempt from receivers or trustees in bankruptcy or other insolvency proceedings, executors or administrators in probate, fines, attachment, execution or foreclosure by a judgment creditor. Property exempted shall be valued at the market value of used chattels.
42-10-3. [Life, accident and health insurance benefits.]
The cash surrender value of any life insurance policy, the withdrawal value of any optional settlement, annuity contract or deposit with any life insurance company, all weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual annuities, indemnities or payments of every kind from any life, accident or health insurance policy, annuity contract or deposit heretofore or hereafter issued upon the life of a citizen or resident of the state of New Mexico, or made by any such insurance company with such citizen, upon whatever form and whether the insured or the person protected thereby has the right to change the beneficiary therein or not, shall in no case be liable to attachment, garnishment or legal process in favor of any creditor of the person whose life is so insured or who is protected by said contract, or who receives or is to receive the benefit thereof, nor shall it be subject in any other manner to the debts of the person whose life is so insured, or who is protected by said contract or who receives or is to receive the benefit thereof, unless such policy, contract or deposit be taken out, made or assigned in writing for the benefit of such creditor.
42-10-4. [Benefits from benevolent associations.]
Any beneficiary fund not exceeding five thousand dollars [($5,000)], set apart, appropriated or paid, by any benevolent association or society, according to its rules, regulations or bylaws, to the family of any deceased member, or to any member of such family, shall not be liable to be taken by any process or proceedings, legal or equitable, to pay any debts of such deceased member.
42-10-5. [Life insurance proceeds.]
The proceeds of any life insurance are not subject to the debts of the deceased, except by special contract or arrangement, to be made in writing.
42-10-10. Exemption in lieu of homestead.
A. Any resident of this state who does not own a homestead shall in addition to other exemptions hold exempt real or personal property in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000) in lieu of the homestead exemption. B. If the resident does not own a homestead, the sheriff or any other person or officer seeking to attach, execute or foreclose by judgment on property shall provide the resident with written notification of the resident’s right to exemption in lieu of homestead as described in Subsection A of this section, together with a simple form by which the resident may designate that the resident is aware of the exemption and does or does not desire to claim the exemption. If the resident refuses to make the election provided for in this section, the sheriff, other person or officer shall proceed to attach, execute or foreclose on the resident’s property. If the resident claims the exemption in lieu of homestead, the sheriff, other person or officer making attachment, execution or foreclosure by judgment shall file as part of the return a description, including the resident’s stated value, of the property claimed as exempt, bearing the resident’s signature witnessed by the sheriff, other person or officer seeking to attach, execute or foreclose.
22-11-42. Nonassignability; division of funds as community property; child support obligations.
A. Except as specifically provided in the Educational Retirement Act [22-11-1 NMSA 1978] and the provisions of Subsections B and C of this section, contributions or benefits mentioned in the Educational Retirement Act shall not be assignable either in law or in equity or be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, guarantee fund or similar assessment or any other legal process.
27-2-21. Assistance not assignable. (General Assistance)
Assistance granted under this act shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable under this act shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.
31-22-15. Exemption from execution.
No reparation payable under the Crime Victims Reparation Act shall be, prior to its actual receipt by the victim or dependents entitled thereto or their legal representatives, assignable or subject to garnishment, execution, attachment or other process whatsoever, including process to satisfy an order or judgment for support or alimony.
48-2-15. [Materials exempt from attachment or execution for purchaser’s debts.]
Whenever materials shall have been furnished for use in the construction, alteration or repair of any building or other improvement, such materials shall not be subject to attachment, execution or other legal process, to enforce any debt due by the purchaser of such materials, except a debt due for the purchase-money thereof, so long as in good faith the same are about to be applied to the construction, alteration or repair of such building, mining claim or other improvement.

51-1-37. Protection of rights and benefits.

A. Except as provided by Section 51-1-37.1 NMSA 1978, any agreement by an individual to waive, release or commute his rights to benefits or any other rights under the Unemployment Compensation Law [Chapter 51 NMSA 1978] shall be void. No agreement by any individual in the employ of any person or concern to pay all or any portion of an employer’s contributions or payments in lieu of contributions, required under the Unemployment Compensation Law from such employer, shall be valid. No employer shall directly or indirectly make or require or accept any deduction from the remuneration of individuals in his employ to finance the employer’s contributions or payments in lieu of contributions required from him or require or accept any waiver of any right hereunder by an individual in his employ. Any employer or officer or agent of an employer who violates any provisions of this subsection shall, for each offense, be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
B. No individual claiming benefits shall be charged fees of any kind in any proceeding under the Unemployment Compensation Law by the department or its representatives or by any court or any officer thereof. Any individual claiming benefits and any employer in any proceeding before the secretary, his authorized representative or the board of review may be represented by counsel or any other duly authorized agent, but no such counsel or agent shall either charge or receive for such services more than an amount approved by the secretary. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection shall, for each such offense, be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
C. Except as provided in Subsection D of this section, any assignment, pledge or encumbrance of any right to benefits which are or may become due or payable under the Unemployment Compensation Law shall be void, and such rights to benefits shall be exempt from levy, execution, attachment, garnishment or any other remedy provided for the collection of debt. Benefits received by any individual, so long as they are not mingled with other funds of the recipient, shall be exempt from a remedy for the collection of debts except debts incurred for necessaries furnished to an individual or his spouse or dependents during the time when he was unemployed. Any waiver of any exemption provided for in this subsection is void.
D. The following actions for collection of the indicated obligations may be taken:

(1) deduction and witholding [withholding] of amounts of unpaid child support pursuant to Section 51-1-37.1 NMSA 1978;
(2) levy by the federal internal revenue service pursuant to Section 6331(h)(2)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code provided that arrangements have been made by the internal revenue service for reimbursement of the division for administrative costs incurred by the division that are attributable to the repayment of uncollected federal internal revenue taxes. Levy of federal income taxes will be made in accordance with such regulations as the secretary may prescribe; and
(3) deduction and withholding of amounts for food stamp overissuances pursuant to Section 51-1-37.2 NMSA 1978.

52-1-52. Exemption from creditors. (Workers’ Compensation)

A. Compensation benefits shall be exempt from claims of creditors and from any attachment, garnishment or execution and shall be paid only to such worker or his personal representative or such other persons as the court may, under the terms hereof, appoint to receive or collect compensation benefits.
B. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, compensation benefits being paid or owing to a worker shall be considered wages for the purpose of securing support for a minor dependent. No order may be entered against such benefits which results in the worker retaining less than one hundred dollars ($100) a week or an amount each week equal to forty times the federal minimum wage rate if legally required to support minor dependents other than those for whom the action is brought.
52-3-37. Compensation exempt from execution. (Occupational Benefits)
Compensation shall be exempt from claims of creditors and from any attachment, garnishment or execution, and shall be paid only to such claimant or his personal representative, or such other persons as the court may, under the terms hereof, appoint to receive or collect the same. No claim or judgment for compensation, under this act, shall accrue to or be recovered by relatives or dependents not residents of the United States.
53-4-28. Share and membership certificates,[;] attachment. (Cooperative Associations)
The holdings of any member of an association, to the extent of the minimum amount necessary for membership, shall be exempt from attachment, execution, or garnishment for the debts of the owner. If any holdings in excess of this amount are subject to such liability, the directors of the association may either admit the purchaser thereof to membership, or may, if and when there are sufficient surplus funds, purchase from him such holdings at par value.
53-10-2. [Property holdings; effect of member’s death on termination of membership; member’s interest not subject to execution.] (Unincorporated Associations)
Any such club or association may hold and acquire real or personal property by deed, lease or otherwise, in the name of such association by which it is known, and to [may] acquire title to any property by purchase or otherwise for its objects and purposes, which property shall be deemed in law to be held by the said club or association for the use and benefit of the actual and active members thereof composing said association from time to time,[;] and upon the decease of any member, or the termination of any membership therein, the interest of any deceased member, or the interest of any member whose membership is terminated, in the property real or personal of such association shall cease and terminate, without right of succession to the heirs, executors and administrators of such deceased member, or to the creditors or trustee in bankruptcy or assignee of any member whose membership in said association shall be terminated. The interest of any member in the real and personal property of any such club or association shall not be subject to execution as and for his debts or as his individual or special property.
54-1A-501. Partner not co-owner of partnership property.
A partner is not a co-owner of partnership property and has no interest in partnership property which can be transferred, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
59A-44-18. Benefits not attachable.
No money or other benefit, charity, relief or aid to be paid, provided or rendered by any society shall be liable to attachment, garnishment or other process, or to be seized, taken, appropriated or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of a member or beneficiary or any other person who may have a right thereunder, either before or after payment by the society.
70-4-12. Materials exempt from attachment.
Whenever materials, tools, machinery, equipment or oil and gas supplies shall have been furnished for use or employment in the digging, drilling, torpedoing, completing, operating or repairing of any oil or gas well, or in the construction, operation or repairing of any gas pipeline, oil pipeline or gasoline pipeline, such materials, machinery, equipment or oil and gas supplies shall not be subject to attachment, execution or other legal process to enforce any debt due by the purchaser of such materials, machinery, tools, equipment or supplies, except a debt due for the purchase price thereof so long as such purchase price, or any part thereof, remains unpaid, and such materials, tools, machinery, equipment or supplies are in good faith about to be used for the purposes for which they were so furnished, until after the expiration of the time for filing a lien for such purchase price under the provisions of this act [ 70-4-1 to 70-4-15 NMSA 1978].

Note: While this reference information is current as of August 2010, it may not reflect the most up-to-date exemption figures on official state of New Mexico bankruptcy court statutes.

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