The court system of New Mexico has created a foreclosure mediation program that is part of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. The First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico, established this option to homeowners throughout the state.
Currently this is the only foreclosure mediation program that is available in the state. When a lender decides to foreclosure on a property, and at the time that they serve the complaint and summons to the homeowner, the plaintiff (the lender) is also required to provide a formal notice and additional information to the defendant homeowners that provides them with information about how and where they can get mortgage help, and where they can access foreclosure prevention resources, and how the New Mexico mediation program is an option to them.
The mediation program is open to both lenders, banks, and homeowners. Any party that is involved in the process can request a referral to foreclosure mediation. The mediation service itself of course will be provided by as neutral third party who will do their best to find a solution that works for everyone.
The court system and the court referral orders all require that mediation sessions be scheduled within 60 days of entry of the foreclosure notice. All parties involved in the process are required by the law to exchange extensive information prior to the mediation session. This is to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, and that all parties have full disclosure. This will help ensure a fair compromise is arrived at.
The bank or lender is required to designate a representative with settlement authority who will need to attend the mediation session either in person or over the phone. In addition, the defendant (the homeowner) will be required to meet with a HUD-approved mortgage counselor prior to the session for counseling and advice. The mediators who attend the session will be attorneys on the Court’s ADR settlement facilitator list who have both foreclosure experience and training on the process. Mediators are paid $500 for a four-hour session. Both the lender and the homeowner will need to split the cost. However, anyone who can’t afford to pay the fee may request free or reduced-cost mediation from the state of New Mexico. Forms for the mediation program are available on the Court’s website at www.firstdistrictcourt.com.
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