You’ve probably heard plenty of stories about someone getting screwed by paying too much in child support or not being paid enough. One or both parents often feel like they have gotten the short end of the child support stick and that the other parent got a leg up by playing or cheating the system somehow. While child support can be one of the most contentious issues in divorce, It’s really not a game where one parent “wins” and the other “loses”. In New Mexico, child support is actually determined in a very simple and transparent way. Find out how it works by one of Albuquerque's best child support attorneys.
New Mexico Child Support Laws
In New Mexico, Child Support is governed by statute and based on the principles of need and ability to pay. The most pertinent statute on child support, known as the child support guidelines, is found at NMSA 40-4-11.1. It provides two worksheets that calculate child support, worksheet A and worksheet B. Worksheet A is used when the child resides with one parent primarily and the noncustodial parent has the child less than 35% of the time over the course of a year. Worksheet B, on the other hand, is used in shared custody situations. Essentially, this means that the more time a parent spends with a child the less in child support is paid.
How is it Calculated?
As you can imagine, child support can get complex when applied to individual cases. For example, how is time calculated if you decide to meet the 35% threshold? Some calculate this time based on overnights, while others look at an entire 365-day calendar. Additionally, it’s important to note exactly what factors are used to determine child support. Child support in New Mexico is calculated using the gross incomes of each party, meaning the income that each party earns before taxes. While this may appear straightforward, consider how do you handle overtime? Work-related benefits like gas reimbursement, company expense cards? What about a self-employed person? Remember, according to NMSA 40-4-11.1, all income is to be considered, including rental income, dividend income, and investment income. In addition to the calculation of income, the guidelines also consider costs associated with medical insurance for the child, extraordinary expenses (ie: medications), and private school costs or daycare expenses. Once you realize this, you’ll understand that child support is essentially a mathematical calculation based on income and support contribution, not a legal argument or loophole.
Are there exceptions?
Cases involving high-income couples (couples who make more than $30,000 combined per month) are treated differently. In these cases, many factors and standards come into play that can significantly impact the final child support calculation and should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The final exception to the standard A and B child support worksheets is known as a “deviation”. New Mexico law allows for a deviation from the statutory guidelines for good cause. This is usually done when there is a substantial hardship arising from the application of the guidelines. For example, a couple may stipulate a lower or higher child support amount in exchange for concessions on different aspects of the divorce. In the end, every child support case is different so if you have questions, contact Genus Law Group today to set up a consultation to discuss your concerns and find the best child support outcome for you and your family.
If you have questions about your child support payments, contact our experienced Albuquerque child support attorneys at (505) 317-4455 or speak with someone now on our live chat function. You can view our Family Law practice area to find more great free information about your New Mexico child support, divorce, or custody case.