In New Mexico, most custody cases are decided based on the best interest of a child. The law presumes and favors joint custody. But what if one parent is financially more capable than the other? What if you have a job and the other doesn’t? Or what if it’s the other way around?
When one parent files for child custody, the court will take a look at various factors that will affect the best interests of the child. These include whether each parent is capable of providing adequate care for the child throughout each period of responsibility, including arranging for the child’s care by others as needed.
When you file for custody, you will discover that joint legal custody has no bearing on how much time the other parent sees the child. Instead, joint legal custody means that both parents will have to agree when deciding the child’s religion, healthcare, schooling, residence, and recreational activities.
Financial status is not the only factor that the court considers when granting joint custody. Even when the other parent is earning less, it doesn’t automatically make him or her unfit to care for the child. The court will also take a look at whether you can provide better adequate care for your child. What makes it “adequate” will depend on a lot of factors including your age and whether or not you can devote more time to your child. The court will also take into consideration the age of the child and his wishes.
If your child is 14 years and above, the judge must consider the wishes of the child when deciding custody. The best interest of a child in custody cases is so fluid that you really need the assistance of a family attorney who has extensive experience in custody disputes.
While the family courts in New Mexico generally prefer to award joint legal custody to guarantee that children will maintain contact with both parents, it’s not without exception. There are many statutory factors that the court considers when awarding custody. These factors are intended to be considerations of outcomes that the court either wants to promote or discourage.
New Mexico courts may consider sole legal custody based on a variety of circumstances, such as:
- Domestic abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Relocation that makes joint legal custody impossible
However, it is important to note that you cannot just win sole legal custody simply because of things like the following:
- Anger after breakup
- Mere desire to make all of the decisions
- Mere belief that you’re the better parent
- Disliking your ex’s current lover