Child Support –
Child support was at one time determined by a hodgepodge of laws which created wide disparities in child support amounts. Federal law now requires that all states create guidelines which the courts must use to determine the amount to be paid in child support. These formulas are based upon the income levels of both parents, the number of children, and perhaps a few other factors. If one parent makes markedly less than the other, the ratio changes. But the level of support never declines below a certain level. If there are special circumstances, the court will listen and perhaps make adjustments to the amounts. If you are currently married, child support begins on the date of divorce. Our child support attorney in Albuquerque can get you the information and help you need. Your initial telephone consultation is free of charge, so call us today.
Child Support Enforcement –
Enforcing child support is largely a matter of tracking down a delinquent parent and asking the court to deduct child support directly from their wages. The employer sends a portion of the parent’s wages to a state agency, which then distributes the funds. Other ways to enforce child support include seizing property, revoking of driver’s license and placing liens on homes and businesses. The parent who avoids child support can be found in contempt of court which could lead to a fine or a stay in jail. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 has made it a federal crime for a parent who lives in a different state than their children to not pay child support for one year or to fall $5,000.00 behind in payments. Punishment can include fines and imprisonment.
Child Support Modification –
Child support modification in New Mexico is governed by statute, specifically NMSA 1978 §40-4-11.4. The courts in New Mexico will only hear a Petition or Motion to Modify Child Support once a court issues an order regarding child support. Once there is a child support order setting a monthly child support obligation or an order that indicates that there will be no child support, then one or both parties may want to modify the child support amount. The court usually will not entertain such a request until one year has gone by since the last child support order. There has to be a “material and substantial change in circumstances” warranting a modification in child support. Usually that means a change in income or custody, in which our custody lawyer can help answer questions and provide information. The court requires evidence of such a change before granting a modification in child support.
Alimony/Spousal Support –
The term alimony means the same thing as spousal support. New Mexico has a temporary spousal support provision which determines who gets support and how much until the divorce is final. The courts may use guidelines established by the state to determine how much spousal support will be paid after the divorce. In New Mexico, certain factors are considered such as age, need, ability to pay, education, work history, health and marital assets to be divided. In most cases, the spousal support lasts for a certain period in order to give the spouse a chance to get back on their feet. In the case of a long term marriage, or where one spouse is ill, New Mexico can establish a permanent spousal support arrangement, especially if it is created in conjunction with a divorce agreement. It is in the interest of any spouse who has been out of the workforce for a number of years to get spousal support while they get retrained.