★ Child Support
In New Mexico child support calculations are governed by statute. The most pertinent statute on child support, known as the child support guidelines, is found at NMSA 40-4-11.1. In New Mexico child support is based on one of two types of worksheets. Worksheet A and B are the two types of worksheets that are relevant in a divorce, paternity or custody case. Worksheet A is used when the child resides with one primary parent 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 with there is a shared custody situation. This means that the more time a parent spends with a child the less in child support is paid.
Many confusing and challenging issues arise regarding child support. For example, how is time calculated to decide if you’ve met 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 the main factors comprising child support. Child support in New Mexico is calculated using the gross incomes of each party. This means the income that each party earns prior to the deduction of taxes. This may sound simple to calculate but consider how do you handle overtime? Work related benefits like gas reimbursement? What about a self employed person? Additionally, NMSA 40-4-11.1 indicates that 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 health/dental insurance for the child, extraordinary expenses (ie: medications) and private school costs or daycare expenses. Matters of child support get really complicated when it involves high wage earners. What this means is that if the combined gross monthly income of the parties exceeds $30,000 per month there are special rules on how to handle these cases that are full of confusing and outdated standards. However, the majority of cases do not deal with these rules and must usually focus on the basics outlined herein.
One last consideration when it comes to child support is this: deviation. The 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. Developing good cause requires the skills of experienced attorneys, like those of the Justice Legal Group.