Custody and Child Support in New Mexico
How is Custody Established in New Mexico?
It’s important to note that New Mexico law allows for joint custody in most cases. This means that both parents share legal custody and decision-making authority for the child, even if physical custody is awarded to one parent. If the parents of a child are unmarried, the mother is presumed to have legal custody of the child. However, the father can establish his legal rights to custody or visitation by filing a paternity action with the court. Child custody is typically resolved through the legal process outlined below:
- One of the parents files a petition with the court requesting custody. The other parent will then have the opportunity to respond to the petition.
- If both parents are amicable, they may work together to create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share custody and visitation and avoid court. Sometimes the parents hire a mediator to help with this process.
- If the parents are unable to come to an agreement due to personality conflicts or disagreements with time-sharing, a court hearing will be scheduled. The court will consider various factors in determining custody, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s physical and emotional needs, the ability of each parent to provide for the child, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
- The court may consider the child’s wishes if they are of sufficient age and maturity to express their preferences.
- After considering all of the evidence, the court will issue a custody order that outlines the terms of the custody arrangement. The custody order will typically include details such as which parent will have physical custody of the child, the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent, and how major decisions about the child’s welfare will be made.
The court will make a determination based on “the best interests of the child”. This legal standard is based on the idea that the primary concern in any legal decision regarding children should be what is best for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs. In general, the court’s goal is to ensure that the child’s needs are prioritized and that they are placed in a situation most conducive to their health, happiness, and development.
How Will Custody Affect Your Family?
Establishing custody is important for a variety of reasons:
- It gives legal protection to the child and both parents. It creates a legally binding agreement that outlines the responsibilities and rights of both parents, ensuring that both parties adhere to the agreement.
- New Mexico courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child, and establishing custody helps ensure that the child’s needs are met and that they are placed in a safe and stable environment. It create a routine and reduces the stress and anxiety that often comes with uncertainty.
- The parenting plan outlines the responsibilities of each parent, including decision-making authority, visitation schedules, and financial obligations. This helps to prevent future conflicts and promotes cooperation between parents.
- If one parent does not adhere to the custody agreement, the other parent can take legal action to enforce it. This ensures that both parents follow the agreement and that the child’s well-being is protected.
- Among other factors, the amount of time each parent spends with the children is taken into consideration in the calculation of child support.
Why is Child Support Important?
In New Mexico, child support is a legal obligation that requires a parent to financially support their children. It is an important tool to ensure that children maintain a similar standard of living to what they had prior to their parent’s separation. It is typically paid by the non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child) to the custodial parent (the parent who has primary physical custody of the child).
Child support is used to cover the child’s basic needs and expenses. It may be used to pay for things like rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, clothing, school supplies, medical expenses, and extracurricular activities. In cases where a child has special needs or medical conditions, it may also be used to pay for additional expenses associated with these needs.
How is Child Support Determined?
In New Mexico, child support is established based on the state’s child support guidelines, which take into account several factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. Here are the steps to establish child support:
- Either parent can contact the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) or hire an attorney to start a child support case. CSED can provide assistance with locating the other parent, establishing paternity, and enforcing child support orders.
- Parents will be required to disclose their income, including all sources of income, such as wages, salaries, tips, bonuses, and commissions, as well as income from investments, pensions, and other sources.
- The child support guidelines in New Mexico take into account the number of children involved. The more children there are, the higher the child support obligation will be.
- The court or CSED will calculate child support obligations using the state’s child support guidelines. The guidelines provide a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
- In some cases, the court or CSED may consider other factors that may affect the child support obligation, such as the child’s medical expenses, childcare costs, and other special needs.
- Once the child support obligation has been calculated, the court or CSED will issue a child support order that specifies the amount of child support to be paid, the frequency of payments, and the method of payment.
- CSED has several enforcement tools to collect child support payments, including wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses, and even pursuing criminal charges for non-payment of child support.
Overall, the process of establishing child support in New Mexico involves a careful analysis of both parents’ incomes, the number of children involved, and other relevant factors to ensure that the child’s needs are being met.
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