If you receive a Family Court Summons for a Child Support Enforcement Proceeding, you must respond in person or if you live out of state by telephone (with approval of the court). The case will be decided by a judge based upon sworn testimony and documents that are accepted by the court as evidence. The Petition or motion will allege that you have failed to pay and comply with a child support agreement or court order. No matter why the Petition is brought and whether it is true or false, you must be prepared to defend yourself. Your defense might challenge whether the agreement or order is valid, whether or not you paid the obligations, whether or not there is proof that you did not pay and whether the failure to pay was willful. There are other defenses but they cannot all be listed here.
Always pay your child support obligations by check or money order and keep the proof of payment. If you must pay by cash, you MUST get a receipt for payment because otherwise you will not have any proof of payment. You must bring your proof of payments to court as it is the best defense against a non-payment claim. If you are offsetting against your child support obligation you must also provide the proof that you are owed money by the petitioner and that you have claimed a credit. This sort of evidence must be in writing. If you make your support payments to the Child Support Enforcement Bureau, they will have no record of your offsetting and will only have a record of payments required and payments made. If you have experienced a change in your financial circumstances and your income is reduced, you may need to file a motion for a downward modification of your child support obligation. The importance of this cannot be overstated because it may make the difference in proving whether your failure to pay child support was willful and under NM law child support is retroactive to the filing of the motion. Defenses to paying child support get complicated quickly so it’s best if you discuss the matter with one of our child support experts. To contact us email us at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com or call us at 505-880-8737.