Maria Montoya Chavez

Maria Montoya Chavez

MARIA MONTOYA CHAVEZ has been practicing law since 2000 and is a Family Law Specialist board certified by the State Bar of New Mexico. She practices exclusively in the area of family law, including divorce, child custody and time sharing, child support, alimony, and the valuation and division of complex assets (professional practices, businesses) in the divorce context.

Ms. Montoya Chavez understands that going through a divorce is one of the most difficult times of a person’s life on many levels. She approaches each case by providing the client with an understanding of the legal issues, provides knowledge about available options and attempts to first resolve the matter amicably. If it appears being reasonable is not possible, Ms. Montoya Chavez has the experience to be a court advocate. She is dedicated to helping clients be the best they can be both during and after the divorce.  Ms. Montoya Chavez’s commitment to family law is further shown by her involvement with the “Divorce Options Workshop” in which she educates the public on divorce and custody, and her volunteer work with the Second Judicial District’s “Family Law Clinic” where unrepresented people inquire into domestic relations matters.  

Ms. Montoya Chavez has had several collaborative divorce cases in which the parties remained in control of the divorce outcome and out of court. She is a member of the New Mexico and Albuquerque Collaborative Practice Groups, where she serves on several committees. She has been a presenter at various family law and collaborative law seminars, so as to train attorneys in domestic relations matters.

Ms. Montoya Chavez has particular expertise in same-sex adoption cases whereby, while working with the American Civil Liberties Union, she succeeded in having the Court issue a Temporary Decree of Adoption, as the law does not fully protect a child born into this type of family. Ms. Montoya Chavez also has particular expertise in Hague Convention abduction cases, interstate child custody and child support jurisdiction cases.


  • New Mexico, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico, 2001


  • St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, 1999, J.D.
  • University of New Mexico, 1995, B.S.

Publications & Speeches

  • Speaker, Women in the Courtroom, New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association, 2018
  • Speaker, Basics of Family Law, State Bar of New Mexico, 2017
  • Speaker, Divorce Options Workshop at State Bar of New Mexico, 2015 to current, first Wednesday of each month
  • Speaker, Association for Play Therapy: What is Collaborative Divorce, and What is a Play Therapist’s Role? 2016
  • Speaker, Collaborative Law Symposium, 2013
  • Speaker, National Business Institute Adoption Law: Start to Finish, 2012
  • Speaker, Family Law Section Presents "Basics of Family Law," 2012
  • Speaker, 2011 Collaborative Law Symposium
  • Speaker, Family Law Section Presents "Basics of Family Law," 2008, for which the Crest Award was received
  • Speaker, State Bar of New Mexico Annual Meeting, 2009
  • Speaker, State Bar of New Mexico Bridge the Gap: Family Law Basics, 2006, 2007 and 2008
  • Speaker, National Business Institute: Collaborative Family Law and Family Law, 2005, 2006 and 2008
  • Master of Ceremony, Family Law Symposium, 2007 and 2009
  • Master of Ceremony, Collaborative Law Symposium, 2008, 2009 and 2010
  • Publication, New Mexico Lawyer: Advising a Client on Alimony Issues in Hard Economic Times, 2012
  • Publication, New Mexico Lawyer: Collaborative Divorce, 2007
  • Publication, Defining Woman, Spring 2007: Collaborative Divorce: Nope, It's Not an Oxymoron


  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating: AV Preeminent
  • New Mexico Woman of Influence, Albuquerque Business First, 2018
  • Best Lawyers in America for Family Law, Family Law Arbitration and Family Law Mediation
  • New Mexico Young Board Member of the Year, National Philanthropy Day 2011, by YNPN and APF
  • Southwest Super Lawyers
  • "40 Under 40," New Mexico Business Weekly, 2011
  • CLE Crest Award for Presentation at "Family Law Basics," 2008
  • Co-founder and Editor Scholar, St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues, 1998-1999

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Sutin, Thayer & Browne, Board of Directors
  • Family Law Section, State Bar of New Mexico, past Chair and current member of the Board of Directors
  • Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Norte, currently serving as Sergeant-at-Arms
  • New Mexico and Albuquerque Collaborative Practice Groups, Member
  • Leadership New Mexico; Connect 2011-2012, Member
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Member
  • Adoption and Foster Care Alliance of New Mexico, Member
  • Keshet Dance Company, former Board President

Representative Experience

  • Divorce
  • Collaborative divorce
  • Child custody and time sharing
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Valuation and division of comples assets (professional practices, businesses) in the divorce context
  • Same-sex couple adoptions
  • Hague Convention abduction cases
  • Interstate custody and child support jurisdiction