Any parent who has gone through divorce or had to establish child support through the courts knows how contentious the process can be. However the amount entered into your Parenting Plan or Custody Agreement is not set in stone.

Child Support Agreement on Desk

Under New Mexico state law, the courts retain jurisdiction over the issue of child support until a child turns eighteen or until a child turns nineteen in the event they are still in high school. The court‘s ongoing jurisdiction in the matter means that after an initial child support order has been entered, either party can petition the court for a modification of child support up until the child is no longer a legal minor. The party seeking a change in child support would file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the court stating the grounds for the modification.

Can I Modify Child Support?

In order for the court to modify the amount you receive or the amount you pay in child support, you must establish that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. That means one or both parties' income has increased or decreased significantly. Generally, the court will allow a modification of child support if more than one year has passed since the entry of the previous child support order and if the present circumstances would cause the monthly child support obligation to change by 20% or more.

For example, if your ex made $45,000 per year when the original order was entered, and they now make $80,000, your monthly child support payment would probably increase by more than 20%, so you more than likely qualify for a modification of child support. Similarly, if you had a different job and made substantially more when the order was entered than you do now, you can likely lower your payments to reflect your new circumstance.

Because child support is based on the gross income of both parties, the child support guidelines require both parties to exchange income information annually so that they can determine whether or not there has been the material and substantial change in circumstances necessary to modify support. Thus, all child support orders are required to include a provision that the parties will exchange financial discovery for the preceding year. In New Mexico, this discovery usually includes: complete state and federal tax returns; W-2 statements; IRS forms 1099; statements of amounts paid for work-related daycare; proof of amounts paid for dependent medical insurance premiums; and, paycheck stubs or statements for the four (4) months preceding the request.

How To Change My Child Support Payments

If you think there has been a substantial change in either your or the other parent's financial circumstances, contact a New Mexico family law attorney to inquire about filing a motion to modify. Prior to filing a Motion to Modify Child Support, the petitioning party should run the child support worksheets. If the child support obligation would go up or down by 20%, then a modification is in order. In the absence of a material change, then the motion will likely be denied. Anyone who thinks that they may be entitled to a modification of an existing child support order should be well advised to contact an experienced child support attorney prior to filing a motion.

Genus Law Group sole focus is family law. Unlike most law firms, we only handle divorce, custody and child support cases, so you know we have the resources and experience needed to get you the best outcome in your case. If you have any questions or need help modifying your child support payments, contact our Albuquerque custody and divorce lawyers at 505-317-4455 or chat with someone through our website chat function now.

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