There are two primary types of legal custody in New Mexico: Joint Custody and Sole Custody.
New Mexico has created a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of a child in the initial custody determination. The parent challenging joint custody has the burden of proving to the court that joint legal custody is not in the best interest of their child.
At the Law Office of Clifton L. Davidson, LLC, we will work with you to develop a parenting plan that will allow both the parents and the children to adjust to the parents’ separation. We also encourage parties to seek counseling for themselves and their children. We are committed to guiding you through every step of a child custody action. We approach our cases with sincerity and respect, and we recognize our responsibility not only to our clients, but also to promote and protect the best interests your children.
New Mexico courts look at the following factors in determining what form of custody is in the best interest of the child:
- The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his custody
- The wishes of the child as to his custodian
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest
- The child’s adjustment to his home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- Whether the child has established a close relationship with each parent
- Whether each parent is capable of providing adequate care for the child throughout each period of responsibility, including arranging for the child’s care by others as needed
- Whether each parent is willing to accept all responsibilities of parenting, including a willingness to accept care of the child at specified times and to relinquish care to the other parent at specified times
- Whether the child can best maintain and strengthen a relationship with both parents through predictable, frequent contact and whether the child’s development will profit from such involvement and influence from both parents
- Whether each parent is able to allow the other to provide care without intrusion, that is, to respect the other’s parental rights and responsibilities and right to privacy
- The suitability of a parenting plan for the implementation of joint custody, preferably, although not necessarily, one arrived at through parental agreement
- Geographic distance between the parents’ residences
- Willingness or ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate or agree on issues regarding the child’s needs
- Whether a judicial adjudication has been made in a prior or the present proceeding that either parent or other person seeking custody has engaged in one or more acts of domestic abuse against the child, a parent of the child or other household member. If a determination is made that domestic abuse has occurred, the court shall set forth findings that the custody or visitation ordered by the court adequately protects the child, the abused parent or other household member
When married parents divorce or separate, or when only one of the unmarried parents of a child has custody, the court may order the “non-custodial” parent (the parent with whom the child does not live) to pay a certain portion of his or her income as child support. This is not the only scenario in which child support might arise. Less frequently, when neither parent has custody, the court may order them to pay child support to a third party who cares for their child.
No matter what situation gives rise to the need for child support, it might help to think of the legal right to child support as being possessed by a child (which it technically is), for his or her proper care and upbringing, regardless of who actually receives child support payments.
The law does not specify what child support is to cover. It is presumed that the custodial parent is providing food, clothing, and shelter for the minor children and that these expenses are what support goes towards. Any extracurricular expenses can be shared between the parties upon their agreement; however there is no legal requirement that this happen, unless there is a specific court order that states such.
Child Support is calculated as follows:
The court uses one of two schedules in calculating child support. The schedules depend entirely upon the custody arrangement. Where one parent has the child 65% of the time or more, the court uses a Schedule A. Where the noncustodial parent has visitation more than 35% of the time, the court utilizes a Schedule B. In both scenarios, the party’s gross incomes are combined and a basic child support figure is determined. The parties then pay their portion of that basic child support figure, according to percentage of the party’s total income. The parties also pay such expenses as health insurance, daycare, and other extraordinary expenses, in the same percentage. Almost all income received by a party is counted as their gross income for purposes of calculating child support.
You may also click the following link to complete the New Mexico worksheet: http://www.nmcourts.gov/cgi/prose_lib/index.htm