New Mexico law states that both parents must provide support for their children. Child support in New Mexico is calculated mainly by how many days the child is with each parent per year. If the child spends the vast majority of the year with one parent then likely only the other parent will pay child support.

How Do You Petition for Child Support?

To begin receiving child support, either parent must fill out an application and file it with the New Mexico Human Services Department. The process will be smoother if the applying parent has as much information as possible about the other parent, including the other parent’s employer and social security number. 

If the mother of the child is filing the application the father of the child must be determined if it is not already determined via birth certificate or record. If it is not determined it may be established by either the father voluntarily submitting a document declaring his paternity, or through genetic testing.

What If You Don’t Pay Required Child Support?

If one parent fails to pay required child support the other parent may file a motion for contempt. This allows a New Mexico court to declare the non-paying parent in contempt of court. Being found in contempt allows for the court to use various measures to extract payment. Some of these are ordering the non-paying parent’s property to be sold, lower the non-paying parent’s credit score, and the non-paying parent be jailed. The consequences of non-payment can also include prosecution for a felony or misdemeanor.

It’s important to note that, unless the parents agree to otherwise, all child support in New Mexico is paid with wage garnishment. Whatever the income source is, the amount owed for child support is done automatically even if the paying parent is not behind on support. So in New Mexico, wage garnishment (unless it was setup differently in the beginning) is not a punishment but instead a standard practice. 

What Can the Other Parent Do if You Don’t Pay Required Child Support?

If the non-paying parent does not receive the required payments they may go to the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division and request various methods of extracting the payment from the paying parent. The methods include jailing the parent that is behind support payments and affecting their credit score. 

How Can You Stop Paying Required Child Support?

Once a child support order is in place it must be followed. If a parent wishes to change it, then they must contact their caseworker at the New Mexico Human Services Department. But it can also end when the child is emancipated, either by court order or by reaching the age of 18 or 19 and graduation of high school (whichever happens first). It can also end when the child joins the military, dies, or gets married. But if the child has a disability which will make it impossible for them to be independent, then child support may go on indefinitely. 

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

If you need help petitioning or adjusting a child support order, then contact a New Mexico child support lawyer and get the help you need.