Albuquerque Child Visitation Attorney
Child Custody & Time Sharing Arrangements (Visitation)
New Mexico uses the term “custody” to refer to legal custody, meaning the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s life, such as what schools to attend or medical decisions to make.
A “timeshare” arrangement is the term used by the courts to describe physical custody, or how the child will actually spend time residing with each respective parent.
Because the New Mexico courts seldom grant sole custody, the concept of “visitation” isn’t typically exercised by the courts. Instead, most child custody decrees grant joint custody and decide upon a visitation arrangement that best suits the child’s interests as well as their wishes and the wishes of their parents.
It is important to have your voice heard and your wishes understood when attempting to reach an agreement regarding time-sharing among custodial parents. Talk to experienced child visitation lawyers in Albuquerque at New Mexico Financial & Family Law during a risk-free consultation when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.
Time-Sharing Arrangements in New Mexico Custody Decisions
In New Mexico, when divorcing or separating parents engage in a legal dispute over “custody,” they are usually only actually disputing the “timeshare.” “Timeshare,” or “time-sharing,” is the legal term in New Mexico for the amount of time, and how it should be divided, that is to be set forth in a “parenting plan” in the usual circumstance where both parents are fit enough to have “joint custody.”
Even With COVID-19 School Closures, Custody Modifications Must Be Approved Through the Court
The current school year calendar is rife with uncertainty, and nearly every household in Albuquerque is suffering. Plans include a “hybrid” learning model that will see some students and teachers returning to the classroom for certain days of the week, with the rest of the learning conducted online. There is, of course, also the chance that additional outbreaks could disrupt any intended schedule.
As a result of unexpected and unpredictable schedule changes, some parents are finding that their ex-spouse is withholding visitation. Or, the spouse may be making unilateral decisions about the child’s life without regard for joint custody agreements contained in the divorce decree.
There are repercussions to disregarding a divorce decree. Parents who withhold planned time with children can be subject to court motions to enforce, contempt of court proceedings, possible fines, and other actions. A parent wishing to make an “emergency” modification must provide justification for their decision beyond a generalized concern. The court must approve any long-term modification, and both parents must have input in these modification hearings.
The best approach for a parent who finds themself in a situation where visitation is withheld is to consult with child visitation lawyers in Albuquerque. Often, the threat of organized legal action can be enough to motivate a parent to agree to alternative dispute resolution outside of court, such as through mediation. When both parents can come to an agreement and present it to the court, the modification request is significantly more likely to receive speedy approval.
You do not have to allow a parent to suddenly change the visitation schedule, cancel vacation plans, or withhold visitation indefinitely without explanation. Contact our child visitation attorneys in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to learn about your available options now.
Deciding on a Parenting Plan That’s in the Child’s Best Interests
When determining a workable time-sharing arrangement, the court will consider it in light of the overall parenting plan that will result from the court’s decree.
Before deciding on a time-sharing arrangement, the court will consider the distance between the parent’s and the child’s obligations, especially school and important extracurriculars. Because of this consideration, courts will rarely grant a perfect “50/50” split between parental residences. Instead, the court will evaluate a workable plan that can satisfy many of the child’s and parents’ wishes while providing minimal disruption.
Parents who live a great distance from one another are less likely to share the time spent with the child equally. Their arrangement may involve certain weekends or periods where there is a lull between school semesters and other activities.
During divorce proceedings, parents must be able to anticipate objections to their preferred time-sharing arrangement from the court and the other parent. They must be capable of demonstrating how their preferred arrangement is not only workable but in the child’s best interests.
Requesting a Modification to Time-Sharing and the Parenting Plan
Once the court has decreed a time-sharing arrangement between parents, a parent can request to have the plan modified.
A modification request is more likely to be granted if the modification is relevant to a recent change in circumstances, such as a parent moving closer, farther away, or having a major change in their working schedule. The decree may also be modified if both parents agree that the plan as originally determined did not work out in the child’s interests.
When there is a dispute from one parent during a modification decision, that decision will have to involve the consideration of many factors, including the child’s own wishes. The court may assign a licensed therapist to the case to interview the child, the parents, and other parties close to the child in their life. Disputes may involve lengthy consideration periods, fact-gathering, and other cumbersome processes. Because of this risk, parents have a vested interest in coming to an amicable agreement through mediation or negotiation before the modified agreement is presented to the court.
Fighting for More Time With Your Children With the Assistance of Child Visitation Attorneys in Albuquerque, NM
When going through a divorce, or trying to modify an existing time-sharing parental arrangement, it can be beneficial for a parent to be represented by an attorney experienced in matters of family law. Albuquerque’s Second Judicial Court District, Family Court looks for specific factors when testing whether an agreement is in the child’s best interests, whether it can be practically applied, and what level of disruption the agreement might have in the child’s life.
New Mexico Financial & Family Law can evaluate the details of your situation and help you determine a proposed time-sharing arrangement that has the highest chance of satisfying the court’s criteria. Let us assist you in turning your wishes into goals and giving those goals the highest chance possible of success.
Schedule a no-obligation consultation appointment to discuss the details of your case and begin talking about the factors that could play the biggest role in successfully achieving your goals. Call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.