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Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
There are three issues pertaining to child custody in New Mexico – legal custody, physical custody, and visitation. If you need a rundown on the differences between legal and physical custody, head over to our child custody page.
Visitation and the Parenting Plan
In cases where the court awards one parent sole physical custody, they will often give the other parent visitation. The document that governs issues of child custody, visitation, and support is called the parenting plan. The parenting plan is a voluntary agreement parents enter into, but the court will examine the plan to ensure they believe it’s made with the child’s best interests in mind.
Now, you might ask, “how are my ex and I supposed to come to a voluntary agreement about how we’re going to raise our kids?” If you and your former partner have a highly contentious relationship and you doubt you’ll be able to agree on your own, you can seek professional help. If you’re getting divorced, a collaborative divorce may provide you with the tools you need to negotiate a mutually beneficial outcome. Of course, mediation is always an option, whether it’s connected to a divorce or not. A skilled mediator will help you both set aside your personal differences and focus on the issues in front of you.
When you fill out your parenting plan, you will enter the amount of support to be paid. There are numerous factors affecting the amount of support you will either pay or receive. The state offers a set of child support worksheets to help you know what you should enter on your parenting plan. However, if you have a high income, these worksheets won’t work for you, and you and your attorney will have to use a more complex set of calculations. Your attorney may also recommend that you bring in outside financial professionals in such a case, especially if it is connected to a divorce.
Whether you’re going through a divorce or breakup and determining child custody, visitation, and support for the first time, or have an existing arrangement that is no longer working and need to seek a modification, you’re going to want an experienced attorney on your side. Don Harris is a certified collaborative professional with over 25 years of legal experience. Give New Mexico Financial Law a call today to set up a consultation or to get your case started.