We help clients determine the best way to reach a child custody agreement that is beneficial for the family. When our clients understand all of the options available, it increases the chances of them arranging a child custody agreement that best suits the needs of the children. If the child custody issues became contentious, however, we are prepared to fight aggressively on our clients’ behalf.
Las Cruces Child Custody Lawyer
New Mexico Legal Group handles child custody cases throughout New Mexico with a dedicated office in Las Cruces.
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What Parents Must Think About
Legal Custody of Children
Legal custody of the children refers to which parent has the right to make major decisions in the lives of their children. New Mexico courts presume that parents will share joint legal custody of their children, meaning they share the same amount of responsibility when it comes to making decisions about the children’s education, healthcare, and other aspects of their lives. Joint custody arrangements require a collaborative effort between the parents. Legal custody, however, is determined on a case-by-case basis, and in some situations, the court may award one parent sole legal custody of the children.
Physical Custody and Visitation
Physical custody is completely separate from legal custody and refers to the amount of time the children spend with each parent. These time periods are usually called “periods of responsibility,” and they vary greatly depending upon the circumstances of the parties and the age of the children. If the children are with one parent a majority of the time, that parent is typically referred to as the “primary custodian,” or “primary parent.”
Factors To Consider When Determining Child Custody
The standard by which the court will determine child custody is what is in “the best interests of the child.” In order to minimize the trauma of divorce and an unhealthy custody arrangement, the parties should always remain focused on this standard, taking into account such things as the age of the children, their emotional well-being, and their present and former relationships with each parent.
Estimating Your Child Support Payments
In New Mexico, parents have the option of reaching a child support agreement on their own or to have it decided by the court. Ideally, child support obligations of each parent are fairly based on their financial circumstances and adequately cover all of the child’s needs. New Mexico has its own set of guidelines when calculating child support. You can use this CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATOR when estimating you potential payments. We represent people who are trying to establish child support or need legal assistance in getting a child support order enforced.
New Mexico Child Support Guidelines
The guidelines used to calculate child support are based on Worksheet A of the basic child support schedule when one parent has child visitation and the other parent has primary custody. Worksheet B of the basic child support guidelines are used when both parents have joint custody of the child. The worksheet serves as a guideline but the court should be notified of any extenuating circumstances or special situations if the amount of child support payments appears to be inadequate.
Expenses Child Support Covers
The financial contributions of each parent are established to help the children maintain a standard of living comparable to both parents. We work closely with clients to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the expenses associated with raising the children and providing for their welfare. Some of the expenses covered by child support are:
- Educational expenses such as private school tuition and school supplies
- Medical and dental services
- Expenses for recreational activities
- Travel costs
Factors Used To Calculate Child Support
An experienced child support attorney knows how to accurately calculate child support based on New Mexico’s guidelines. The factors used to assess the child support payments include:
- The parent’s gross income
- The number of children
- Health insurance costs
- The number of days the children spend with each parent
Child Support Enforcement
If you are receiving child support payments inconsistently, or have not received any child support payments at all, there are measures that can be used to assist you. If a parent is violating a child support court order or agreement, the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division can initiate wage garnishment, revoke the non-paying parent’s professional license and/or driver’s license, place liens on assets, or garnish income tax refunds.
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Need Legal Assistance From a Las Cruces Child Custody Attorney?
Call New Mexico Legal Group at 575.339.2100 or get started with a free case evaluation.