What is Domestic Violence in New Mexico

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

It has been reported that in homes where domestic violence occurs there is a 45% to 60% chance of co-occurring child abuse.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody in New Mexico

Domestic Violence is a factor that the court considers when making a custody determination.  NM law puts the burden of proof on the accuser that an incident of domestic violence has occurred.  Furthermore, even when there is proven evidence of domestic violence between the parents, NM law still presumes that joint legal custody and significant visitation between the alleged abuser and the child is in the child's best interest.  However, if you can prove that the abuse is part of a pattern that affects the children and that their best interests are best served by sole custody arrangements, you may be able to use this the modify you custody agreement. Our experienced Albuquerque family law attorneys are committed to the safety of you and your children.  If you are a victim of domestic violence we will go to work immediately to advocate and assist you with a safety plan to ensure the safety of you and your children.

Supervised or Restricted Visitation

If sole custody is awarded many times the court will likely still grant the other parent with significant visitation rights.  Supervised or restricted visits are often ordered if the court believes that a child's physical or emotional health is in danger.  The visitation can only occur in a supervised setting with a professional or appointed person present who will observe parent-child interaction and ensure the child's well being.

Order of Protection

Only in extreme cases of abuse will the court order no visitation between a parent and a child. This is because the court values both parents being in their children’s lives unless the most extreme circumstances are at play.  In such circumstances, an order of protection or restraining order may be needed.  Orders of protection usually forbid an individual from contacting the other person via telephone, text, email, or social media and forbid the individual from being within a certain physical proximity to the other person.  The order excludes the abuser from the child's daycare, school, work and home.  An order of protection also allows the police to arrest the abuser if he/she violates the order.  A first time violation is punishable by up to 365 days of incarceration.  Repeat violators could face a 3rd-degree felony charge and/or up-to 3 years of incarceration.  

Domestic violence matters should be openly discussed with an experienced New Mexico divorce or custody attorney. The attorney will become the voice of the victim throughout the court proceedings and may eliminate the potential for an abuser to continue their pattern of control. Unlike the other big family law firms in Albuquerque, Genus Law’s sole focus is family law. That means all of our skill, training, processes, and experience are geared towards getting you the best result possible on your New Mexico divorce, custody or child support case.

If you need help, chat with someone online now by using our online chat function or by calling our office at 505-317-4455.

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond