The term “Father’s Rights,” is actually a bit misleading when it comes to divorce, custody, and visitation in the state of New Mexico. Mothers and fathers have the exact same rights when it comes to divorce and custody. As a father, however, you do need to be aware that some biases exist in the court system that can create an unequal outcome in your case. Genus Law’s Albuquerque and Las Cruces Custody and Divorce Attorney’s know the court system in New Mexico and what strategies and arguments can maximize the outcome for New Mexico fathers. Find out how custody and visitation are determined in New Mexico and what you as a father have to be aware of. 

What NM Dads Need To Know


The first thing to remember about father’s rights in New Mexico is that just because men and women are treated equally under the law does not mean that you will get an equal timeshare or custody agreement. Nor is an equal agreement required under the law. This is partly due to an older court precedent called “the tender year's doctrine” which followed the idea that mothers should have custody of very young children. While this principle has long been abolished, its momentum carries on to the courthouses of today. Many New Mexico family law judges still favor giving mothers full or primary custody of children under the age of 3. This leaves many fathers feeling like the court is biased against them, and in some ways that’s true. 


It’s important to keep in mind that family court judges apply the legal standard of “best interests of the child” when determining custody and timesharing agreements. That means merely asserting equal parenting rights before the court will more than likely not overcome the court’s belief that it is in the best interests of a young child to be with their mother. That means you and your lawyer must present a case that proves the child’s best interests are best protected with you and not your ex. 

Child Support and Alimony are addressed separately. 


What New Mexico Fathers Can Do


Even with older children, securing a 50-50 timeshare agreement can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why it’s so important to remember that if you want to maximize time with your children in any custody case, you must be able to establish that your proposed custody arrangement is in the best interests of your children. This means the more involved you are with the day to daycare and education of your children, the better off your custody prospects will be. That means, as early as possible, even before your divorce starts, you should be doing things like daycare, helping with homework, being involved in picking up and dropping the children off for school, sporting events, and other activities. If you are separated, it is even more important for you to have some daily involvement in your children’s lives. Many fathers act like “weekend dads,” and then are shocked when the court doesn’t award them 50-50 custody.


One of the most common arguments made against a father having more time with the children is that the parties have difficulty communicating. There are, however, many tools that are now available that utilize technology to help parties co-parent their children effectively. One of these commonly used in New Mexico is called Our Family Wizard, which can help coordinate communication with the parties and can also be used to show the court compliance or non-compliance with court orders. You should always consider these sorts of tools when putting together a parenting plan or making a proposal to the court or the opposing party. Whatever tools you choose to use, it’s important to remember that clear, frequent and effective communication is key to your custody case, regardless of how good or bad your relationship is with the other parent. 


While these tips will certainly improve your custody case, it’s important to address the specific dynamics of your situation in order to ensure the best possible outcome. If you are not getting the custody and timesharing you want with your children, or you fear losing it during your divorce case, contact Genus Law Group today to set up your case strategy session with Albuquerque's best divorce and custody attorneys.  Our Albuquerque Custody and Divorce Lawyers will discuss your case and concerns with you, provide you your options, and recommend a strategy to best achieve your ideal outcome. Call our Albuquerque divorce lawyers at 505-317-4455, or our Las Cruces divorce lawyers at 575- 215-3500 or chat with someone now using our online chat function. 

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