Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


New Mexico Divorce Custody


Similar to the child custody guidelines as laid out in other states of USA, NM divorce custody cases are settled after taking into consideration the best interests of the child. Welfare, safety and security of the child are given the highest priority while awarding custody of the child to the contesting divorced parents. Following factors are considered while awarding child custody:
  • The actual needs of the child are first determined by the courts. What are the educational, emotional, religious and medical needs of the child? Which parent is most likely to meet these needs? The parent who is capable of meeting the requirements of the child is generally preferred for custody.

  • Sex of the parents is not considered important while awarding child custody. According to NM divorce custody guidelines, both the parents have equal chances of getting the custody of the child if they can prove in the court of law that they can meet the requirements of the child.

  • If a child is fourteen or older, then NM courts deem it necessary to address the issue of custody to him/her, regarding parental preferences.

  • The actual wishes of the child and the interests of the parents are analyzed together to ensure that custody is awarded to the child who bonds the most with the child.

  • While deciding NM divorce custody rulings, courts try to award joint custody to both the parents. However, by joint custody, it does not mean that the actual time of the child is split into half. This being practically impossible, physical custody of the child is awarded to one parent, while the other parent gets the visitation rights and thus, has access to the child. Courts may award joint legal custody, where both the parents have equal authority to decide upon educational, religious, medical and related issues of the child.

  • Preference to joint custody is more so, if the parents are willing to cooperate with each other regarding child care. If the parents are found disputing with each other over visitations, parenting plans etc, then courts may ask them to involve child custody mediators. With the help of a third neutral part in child custody mediation, the parents are able to formulate a focused parenting plan which keeps the child’s priorities at the highest.

  • For all practical purposes, physical custody of the child is awarded to the parent who has been the “primary caretaker” of the child and offers to provide a stable family unit and community (which the child is used to) to the child. The non custodial parent may have visitation rights and also access to day-to-day routines of the child. Of course, this scenario emerges if the divorced parents are geographically closely located. In other circumstances, the child’s vacations, weekends, summer times and other holidays are scheduled so that the other parent gets to interact with the child.

  • Physical custody of the child is awarded to the parent who is more likely to encourage bonding between the child and the other parent and does not indulge I the very common “parental alienation syndrome”.

  • NM divorce custody guidelines specify that the parent who gets the custody of the child must be mentally fit and physically capable of raising the child.

  • Whether the parents get joint custody of the child or sole custody, the non-custodial parent has complete access to the child’s medical, academic records or any relevant documents.

  • NM child support laws are based on “income shares model” where both the incomes of the parents and their other sources are pooled together, and a proportion of it is assigned as child support figure. Special needs of the child in terms of medical or educational requirements are considered while calculating child support amounts.


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