New Mexico has adopted the Child Support Guidelines set forth at NMSA 1978 § 40-4-11.1(B), and the courts assume that the guidelines are correct.
There is a rebuttable presumption that child support should be paid in the amount established by the guidelines, which means the court has little discretion in determining the amount of child support to be paid.
New Mexico child support is calculated based on the income of the parents and the custody and visitation schedule that results from the divorce. Child support laws in New Mexico are enforced in order to spread out the responsibility for the financial care of the children based on how much time each parent is responsible for the children.
Two scenarios usually occur. In the first scenario, one parent has “primary physical custody” or is the “custodial parent” and the other parent has visitation that amounts to spending less than 35% of the children’s lives as the responsible or caretaker parent.
In the second scenario, the parents share an equal or nearly equal period of time as responsible or caretaker parents (at least 35%) and are joint custodians.
While each scenario calls for somewhat different analyses by the court, in either scenario, as a rule of thumb, the parent who spends the smaller percentage of time in visitation or responsible caretaking time is likely going to end up paying child support because that parent is not physically around as much as the other parent to provide for the children’s well-being.
The amount of that child support will take into consideration the income of each party, including any spousal support that a parent pays or receives.
For purposes of the New Mexico child support calculation, income is defined by § 40-4-11.1(C) as the actual gross income of a parent if employed to full capacity or potential income if employed or underemployed.
What constitutes attributable income is also defined, as well as what things are excluded from income, when imputation of income can occur, and the nature and extent to which child support can be modified, will be examined in greater depth in future articles on this website.
If you are a man facing divorce in New Mexico, you should contact a New Mexico child support lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. Cordell & Cordell Albuquerque divorce lawyers are licensed to practice throughout the state and are available for consultations should you seek additional information or possible legal representation. Please call 1-866-DADS-LAW to schedule an appointment. Be sure to check out our New Mexico Resources page for additional information.