How is Child Custody Determined in New Mexico?
Going through a child custody case can be stressful and scary for any parent. Many family courts in the United States determine who gets child custody by considering what the best interests of the child are. New Mexico follows the same system when determining custody and favors joint legal custody whenever possible. This doesn’t mean time will necessarily be split 50-50. Joint custody means both parents work together to make legal decisions involving the child and are involved in their life. The schedule of when a child is with his or her parents is determined on a case by case basis.
Judges in the state of New Mexico consider many factors like the physical and mental health of everyone involved, the wishes of the child’s parent/parents, the wishes of the child, along with many other factors. New Mexico typically avoids children testifying in court and prefers a private testimony in a judge’s office when necessary. These factors will help a judge come to a decision, but this doesn’t mean that your original parenting plan is set in stone until your child turns 18. New Mexico law also requires the court to consider the child’s wishes beginning at the age of 14. The court does not have to do what the child wants, only consider his or her wishes.
How Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement?
You can modify your child custody agreement if there are material and substantial changes that have occurred since the previous custody order was entered . Examples may include , your children getting older, several years passing from the time the parenting plan was created, or if a significant life event has occurred.
As life changes so do your needs and your child’s needs. What was relevant when you first made your parenting plan may not reflect where you’re at in life -today. If your parenting plan no longer works with your current circumstances, you can request a modification. There are two ways this can happen, (1) both parents agree to modify custody orders (2) the court can review the request and make a decision if both parties cannot come to an agreement. You can also request mediation services through the court clinic or a private mediator if you feel that will work best for your situation.
Then the Child Support Worksheet will need to be completed to modify your child support agreement if applicable.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Represent Me in My Child Custody Case?
Technically you don’t need to hire an attorney, but it could be wise to do so depending on your circumstances. Child custody cases can be complicated and stressful to navigate. A skilled child custody attorney can help you get through the process and minimize the stress. The attorneys of New Mexico Legal Group work diligently to ensure you get the best representation and outcomes possible when it comes to your child custody case.
If you need legal assistance and support, start by calling the child custody lawyers of New Mexico Legal Group at (505) 843-7303 for our Albuquerque office or (575) 339-2100 for our Las Cruces office. You can also submit a free case evaluation on this page.