Child Support Lawyer in Albuquerque
One of the most crucial court proceedings for separating couples is a child support agreement. Depending on your expected contributions and income, child support can be a huge help, or it can feel like a worrisome obligation. The point of child support, regardless of how the parents feel, is to ensure that the needs of the child are met. Even though you and your spouse have decided to split for personal reasons, it is expected by the court that parenting teams work together for the benefit of their child.
There are automatic assessments during a dissolution of marriage that assess the parents’ income and the child’s needs in order to generate an estimated monthly child support payment. That’s not to say that you and your ex have no say in the process; deviations from this strict formula are acceptable, but each party involved must agree upon the terms. Working with an Albuquerque child support attorney can help you come to a workable agreement — or to modify an existing agreement, if applicable.
The experienced team of attorneys at New Mexico Financial & Family Law can help you understand the complexities of child support, and we will represent you in various situations involving the development of a child support agreement. If you have questions about the child support laws in our state, call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online today to start the process of representation and speak with one of New Mexico’s best.
Why Do I Need a Child Support Attorney in Albuquerque?
There are many instances in which legal representation might be in your best interest. Whether you are establishing the initial agreement for child support in New Mexico, or wish to adjust a current child support agreement due to a change in financial circumstances, an attorney can protect your best interest while fairly contributing to the child’s needs.
Conversations about child support can be awkward for exes; having an attorney on your side can help you prepare for these proceedings with a clear, focused mind.
While you are preparing for child support court proceedings, you and your ex-spouse will be required to fill out forms that cover details about your income and financial history in order to assess a fair child support payment. A trusted Albuquerque child support lawyer like our skilled team at New Mexico Financial & Family law can help you understand the contents of all of these forms and to fill them out appropriately.
Ensure the Support Payment is Fair for the Child
Unfortunately, only 44% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support that they are entitled to for the welfare of the child, whereas the remaining 56% of custodial parents only see a portion of their agreed-upon payment each month.
A child support attorney can help you fight for those payments and even build a compromise that fits the financial situation of the paying parent, all with the goal of helping the children involved be happy, healthy, and thriving.
How Is Child Support Determined in Albuquerque?
Child support is awarded in nearly every divorce case where there are children who will be spending at least some time with both parents. There is no presumption that one parent will pay support based upon their gender or income. Instead, the state of New Mexico uses a child support worksheet that helps to calculate the costs of raising the child and the expected contributions of each parent. The percentage of time spent in each parent’s care is also adjusted within the worksheet, so parents who spend the most time with the children are considered to have a higher financial burden.
New Mexico’s child support worksheet automatically calculates the expected costs of raising a child based on factors like previous spending, the child’s age, their medical needs, and their previous standard of living before the marriage ended. Each parent is then assigned a total financial cost, adjusted by the amount of time they spend with the children.
After costs are assessed, each parent has their ability to financially contribute to the child’s upbringing evaluated. This evaluation is based largely on income but may involve other factors, like owned assets, necessary expenditures, and the availability of other resources. The parent with the larger ability to contribute then makes up the difference to the parent with a lesser contribution potential, especially when the parent who makes less has primary custody..
Put another way: the parent who earns more is most likely to make child support contributions, except in cases where the child spends the majority of their time in this parent’s care.
Parents who object to the calculations made under the worksheet must request a deviation from the court and be prepared to provide substantial evidence demonstrating why circumstances require a deviation. This parent has the burden of proof to establish why their expected contribution should differ from the worksheet’s, in other words.
What Can I Do If I’m Not Receiving Child Support in Albuquerque, Contrary to Court Orders?
Another parent not paying child support is one of the most persistent problems a divorced parent may face. Fortunately, the law has largely caught up to the struggles of parents left waiting for their court-ordered support. These parents can now file motions to enforce child support orders, and parents who repeatedly fail to make timely payments can face major consequences.
Consequences of non-payment of child support in Albuquerque can include:
● Wage garnishment
● Interception of federal tax return reimbursement payments
● Suspension of driver’s license, and other professional licenses
● Passport denials
● Ineligibility for programs like SNAP
To find out more about your rights and options, including how to start enforcement proceedings, you can contact New Mexico’s Human Services Department — Child Support Enforcement Division. This office can be reached toll-free by calling toll-free (800) 288-7207 within the state of New Mexico or (800) 585-7631 if you currently reside outside of the state, but your divorce decree applies to one or more in-state parties.
If a parent is currently experiencing hardship related to a job change, life change, or other circumstances related to COVID-19, then they must still communicate with the other parent and the court to determine an appropriate remedy. No parent is allowed to defy the divorce decree, especially in matters pertaining to child support.
Before reaching out to the Child Support Enforcement Division, you may wish to consult with a child support attorney in Albuquerque, NM to learn more about your rights and your available options. Courts are more likely to be receptive and to respond in an expedited manner to requests initiated by an attorney as opposed to the interested party.
New Mexico Financial & Family Law is here to help you seek all available options so that timely payments can resume.
How Long Is Child Support Paid in New Mexico?
In most situations, the child will receive support until their 18th birthday or until they graduate from a high school program, whichever is later.
In cases where a child has a physical or mental disability that would significantly limit their ability to earn income and support themselves following their 18th birthday, the court may order that support is paid indefinitely, or at least until the adult child is capable of becoming self-supporting.
What Income Is Included When Calculating a Parent’s Gross Income?
A parent’s gross income includes all monies and valued assets earned during a typical calendar year. That includes their salary and any wages as well as, “tips, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, significant in-kind benefits that reduce personal living expenses, prizes and alimony or maintenance received,” per NM Stat 40-4-11.1 (2).
What All Gets Included in the Child’s Expected Need Calculation?
The child support worksheet automatically adjusts the expected total contribution for parents based on the established needs of the child and the future needs that can be reasonably expected.
A child’s needs will include all of the food, clothing, and shelter costs, as well as the costs of schooling, extracurricular activities, health and dental care (including insurance), and any needed child care that would be required during the course of the established time-sharing plan. The guidelines also carve out room for “extraordinary” expenses that are likely to be encountered, including major expenses related to health or education (e.g. the cost of braces or private school). A child’s needs may also include the costs of travel for families separated by great distances.
Does a Step-Parent’s Income Get Included in the Contribution Calculation?
No. When parents remarry, the income of their new spouse is not automatically calculated into the expected contributions of each parent under most circumstances. However, if a parent’s remarriage dramatically affects their income or living situation, either parent may potentially request a modification to the divorce decree.
Fight for the Financial Security of Your Children
Child support is often the most contentious issue in a divorce, ranking above division of property. Parents inherently love their children, but they may feel as if certain calculations are unfair or inaccurate.
To ensure that all of the relevant facts are considered in your divorce case, speak to an experienced child support lawyer in Albuquerque. New Mexico Financial & Family Law can provide you with knowledge, legal resources, and representation as you go through divorce or seek to request a modification to your child support agreement.
Speak to a caring legal professional about your case during a no-obligation case review when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.