Child Support in New Mexico
Our child support lawyer at NM Divorce & Custody Law LLC believes in protecting children and their rights before, during and after the parents break-up. In New Mexico, parents/guardians have two options regarding child support: negotiate an agreement on their own, or have it decided by the court. Our child support lawyer is able to negotiate terms for you and your child and if necessary can take the request for support to court.
Child support in New Mexico is set by the statute known as the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines. It is a straight forward formula that looks at the gross income (before taxes and withholdings) of both parents, multiplied by the number of children. The formula tells you what the base child support will be. Added to the base child support is the cost of medical insurance just for the children and the cost of work-related daycare. Sometimes there are “additional expenses” put on the child support worksheet such as private school tuition, regular medical expenses (orthodontist work, prescription medication, co-pays for therapy, etc.) and the cost of car insurance for teenage drivers.
There are two child support worksheets in New Mexico – A and B. Each worksheet is used for different situations:
- Worksheet A: This is used when the child lives primarily with one parent and spends less than 35% of the year with the other parent.
- Worksheet B: This is used when the child spends approximately or actually equal time in each parent’s care.
There is also an online child support calculator available for you to use that can help you estimate how much child support will be granted. Fill in the income figure for both parents, the amount of the child’s medical insurance, the cost of work-related daycare and any other additional expenses. In addition to this information, you will also need to put the number of days per year (it must add up to 365) the child is with each parent. This will then calculate the amount for child support.
If one or both parents are self-employed things can get complicated in determining “gross income” for child support purposes. Look at the total revenue generated minus “reasonable and ordinary” business expenses, which is not the same thing as deductions on tax returns.
The law presumes a parent is working up to his or her potential. If a parent is “under-employed” or unemployed by choice, then it is possible to “impute income” to that parent for child support purposes. This is also a tricky area in difficult economic times because a parent may have been laid off from a job and takes a lower paying job just to get by. Conversely, some parents quit higher paying jobs and don’t look for a new job for the primary purpose of trying to avoid paying child support.
By law, child support is supposed to be automatically deducted from the paying parent’s pay check and routed through the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Human Services Department to the receiving parent. If the parents agree they do not want to go through CSED, they can do so by giving the Court good reason for the decision.
Child support is not deductible from the paying parent’s income for income tax purposes and is not included in the receiving parent’s income for tax purposes.
Contact a Knowledgeable New Mexico Child Support Lawyer
Parents confronted with the break-up of a family involving children need a knowledgeable New Mexico child support lawyer to help them navigate the complex NM child support laws, and ensure arrangements are fair based on income and need. NM Divorce & Custody Law LLC cares about you and your children. We will work with you and your former partner to determine which worksheet should be used, any hardships that should be reviewed and how legal status can change when children are in the picture. Contact us today and let us help you and your family through this difficult situation.