How New Mexico Courts Determine Custody
In the state of New Mexico, the courts will get involved if the parents of a child cannot agree on terms of visitation and custody. The court’s primary concern when determining child custody is the best interests of the child and if it is believed that you pose a danger to your child, the court may deny visitation or allow minimal supervised visits. Other factors that contribute to child custody in New Mexico include the parent’s desire for custody, relationships, adjustments to home and school, and the parent’s ability to parent among other things. Any history of domestic violence or child abuse is a major factor for New Mexico courts when determining custody. This is why it is crucial to consult an attorney early on in your case.
Defining Domestic Violence in New Mexico
In New Mexico, domestic violence is called “domestic abuse.” According to the statute, domestic abuse includes any of the following incidents “by a household member against another household member:”
- Physical harm
- Criminal damage to property
- Severe emotional distress
- Repeatedly driving by a residence or workplace
- Bodily injury or assault
- Criminal trespass
- Telephone harassment
- Harm or threatened harm to children
- A threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury
Domestic abuse in New Mexico extends to include stalking and sexual assault by anyone, regardless if they are a household member.
Do Domestic Violence Accusations Affect Custody Differently Than Domestic Violence Convictions?
Being convicted of any caliber of domestic abuse in New Mexico will affect your child custody rights even if the abuse was not directed towards the child. When a judge is determining what is in the best interest of the child regarding custody, however, they will weigh any instance of domestic abuse, alleged or proven. This is why it is so important to get an experienced attorney involved in your case as soon as possible. Often, based on what occurred between the parties, a counter-petition may need to be filed against the accuser.
If you have questions about how being accused or convicted of domestic violence impacts your child custody rights in New Mexico, it is crucial to consult with a qualified attorney to make sure you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case. New Mexico Legal Group is the premier divorce, family law, and criminal defense firm in the state prepared to fight for your rights. For our Albuquerque office please call 505-405-8267 and for our Las Cruces office please call 575-888-8578 or get started with a free case evaluation.