Everything you need to know about New Mexico child support laws, updated for 2020.
New Mexico Child Support guidelines dictate the nature of interactions you will have with your former partner and child. However, the state’s legislature revises these laws periodically.
For parents in the state, questions such as how much money will I pay? Is my support order fair? Will my ex pay? And so on can make life much more stressful than it needs to be. To help calm your nerves, here are all the crucial bits you must know about upkeep in New Mexico.
How to apply for child support in New Mexico
To apply for child support in New Mexico, either visit Income Support Division offices (a branch of HSD) or apply online here. Note that because of COVID-19, HSD services are limited from 10 a.m. to noon daily.
HSD or Human Services Department is the body tasked with child support enforcement through the CSED (Child Support Enforcement Division) in New Mexico. Contact them via this number; (800)283-4465.
What to remember:
- The work of the CSED is to establish and enforce child support orders.
- CSED assists parents with paternity establishment.
The general idea is to apply for support, then wait for a representative from the HSD to contact you. Alternatively, you could hire an attorney to guide you through the process.
How is child support calculated in New Mexico?
To calculate child support in New Mexico, the courts employ an interactive worksheet that requires the user to input accurate information. I say that because accuracy is dependent on your input.
If you prefer the manual option:
What is important to remember is that at the core of New Mexico child support guidelines is the State Schedule of Basic Support. What is that?
Alt=rich snippets when searching for New Mexico basic child support schedule
The Schedule of Basic support is a chart that lists the base obligation of the parents. The judge uses it after child support calculations to determine parental financial responsibility towards the child.
If the combined incomes of both parents surpass the schedule’s cap, it is up to the judge to decide a fair amount.
Factors that influence child support orders in Mexico
Included in your child support orders are child-rearing expenses such as food, shelter, work-related child care costs, dental insurance, extraordinary medical expenses, educational expense, long-distance travel, or any other relevant consideration as per New Mexico child support guidelines.
The court also considers the following factors when awarding child support or support modifications:
- The reasonable needs of the respective spouses.
- The parent’s current and future earning capacity.
- Duration of the marriage.
- Legal agreements the parents made during divorce or separation.
NMSA (New Mexico support statutes, rules, and regulations) 40-4-11.1. What to remember:
- New Mexico child support guidelines are based on the income shares model and percentage of income formula; thus, it is the duty of both parents to provide support.
- The courts consider the income(s) of both parents.
- If the non-custodial parent earns more than the custodial parent, he or she pays more.
- Parents can make college or university support agreements voluntarily.
- CSED can help parents collect upkeep from caregivers in other states via the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).
How do I modify child support in New Mexico?
According to the judicial branch of New Mexico, parents can request an increase or decrease in support payments if there is; a material and substantial change in the parent’s financial circumstances. What do they mean?
First, a substantial change in circumstances is when a parent’s obligation increases or decreases by 20%. That could be due to new work, job loss, or any other situation that affects the parent’s income.
For example, if the non-custodial parent finds a better paying job, the receiving parent can petition the court to modify support. But remember, New Mexico is a 50-50 ‘community property’ state. Meaning, the courts favor joint custody. Because of that, non-custodial parents can request a modification if the current support order is not working for them.
To make modifications to your support orders, you must contact your caseworker here. He or she will guide you through the process.
You will need:
- A completed financial affidavit.
- Child care expenses.
- Proof of income and expenses.
- Payroll and wage statements.
- Federal and state tax returns.
- Illness or disability documentation.
- Health care premiums.
The courts also provide mediation programs through Court Clinic services. That means if your support order has become a burden, you can request for modification via mediation by completing a Court Clinic Referral order.
If mediation appeals to you, call 505-841-7409.
Can the court or CSED deny child support modification requests?
Note that the priority for the judge is the best interests of the child(ren). Therefore, if a support order modification is not in favor of the child’s interests. Then the judge will deny your request.
That raises the question, what are grounds for child support modification in New Mexico?
- A 20% increase or decrease in either parent’s income.
- Changes in parenting time.
- The child’s age.
- Increase or decrease in daycare or education costs.
- Incarceration or unemployment.
The list is not limited to the listed factors, so consult with a family court attorney in your area.
What happens if you do not pay child support in New Mexico?
The CSED takes its job seriously, which means the tools it uses to force parents to pay are relatively harsh.
CSED employs the following standard collection actions:
- Income withholding: the CSED or court can issue income withholding orders prompting the delinquent parent’s employer to collect child support from salaries, wages, bonuses, or income.
- License revocation: the CSED can revoke or suspend the delinquent parent’s occupational, drivers, or professional license.
- Passport denial: through the state department, the CSED can suspend or revoke the payor’s passport.
- The CSED can also intercept state, local, or federal taxes.
New Mexico’s top 5 most wanted program
Previously, New Mexico had a 25 most wanted list that featured the names and pictures of delinquent parents. However, State legislature replaced that program with the bench warrant program.
What that means is, the most wanted nonsupport fugitives are listed and published on an excel sheet here. The linked sheet lists the names, docket, arrears owed, bond amount, zip code, and the parent’s state.
If your name is on there, it means that you are subject to arrest during any encounter with law enforcement. Here is a snippet.
What to remember:
- Contempt of court charges can result in immediate jail time.
- The judge can order support back to birth.
- Willful failure to pay child support may result in federal punishment under the dead beat program.
What is the dead-beat program?
The deadbeat program dumbed down is a nationwide effort to track delinquent parents. Once eligible, the agency posts the delinquent parent’s face and information on the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General Website. See snippet.
If convicted, the punishment ranges from restitution for owed child support, fines, jail time, and a coordinated effort to find you by federal, state, and local agencies.
But remember, the decision to prosecute a child support case on the federal level lies with the justice department. So, we advise you to consult with a family court attorney in your area.
When does nonsupport become a felony in New Mexico?
NM STA 30-6-2. Reads;
“Abandonment of dependent consists of a person having the ability and means to provide for a spouse or minor child’s support and abandoning or failing to provide for the support of such dependent.”
“Whoever commits abandonment of dependent is guilty of a fourth-degree felony.”
A fourth-degree felony in New Mexico carries a $5000 fine and up to eighteen months in prison.
Do not forget that honoring your obligation can prevent enforcement action.
When does child support end in New Mexico?
According to New Mexico child support guidelines, upkeep ends when a child turns 18 or 19 if he or she is in high school.
It is also worth noting that after the child is 18, he or she can petition the court to force the paying parent to pay child support arrears. Also, the law does not allow parents in the state to waive their parental obligation.
For parents worried about college or university tuition, the law allows you to enter a contractual agreement voluntarily. Remember, once you sign. The agreement becomes legally enforceable. Thus, failure to pay is breaking the law.
The point is, read all agreements carefully before you sign. That includes your child support orders.
Can I move out at 16 in New Mexico?
New Mexico’s Emancipation of Minors Act 32A-21-1 to 32A-21-7NMSA dictates that for a child to win emancipation, he or she must be at least 16 years, living independently from guardians, and can manage his/her affairs.
Note, in New Mexico, after emancipation. The court cannot reestablish dependent status. hence, your parents no longer have any financial obligation towards you. Also, you cannot drink or use tobacco until you attain the legal age.
Overall, New Mexico child support guidelines determine your parental financial obligations. So, consult with a family court attorney for better clarity.
More New Mexico Laws