Child Custody and Timesharing

Litigation of child custody and timeshare (the time a parent has with the child) is difficult and emotionally trying.

Child custody and timeshare litigation can arise in dissolution of a marriage and for many years after divorce. In most custody cases, parents must agree upon a timeshare arrangement that is reasonable both for the children and the parents, or the court will determine an arrangement. Decisions made during child custody cases will have significant impact on your children.

The presumption in New Mexico is that parents share joint legal custody over children, which means the parents share decision-making of the important matters in the child’s life. Parents generally share equal timeshare, unless reasons exist that this arrangement will not work or is not in the best interests of the child.

Some of the most contested Court cases pertain to child custody and timeshare.  The standard for custody and timeshare determinations is the “best interests of the child,” which is quite susceptible to different interpretations depending upon each parent’s point of view.  This issue can give rise to prolonged and expensive litigation with the appointment of expert psychologists, counselors, and a Guardian ad Litem (the child’s lawyer), if the issues warrant such appointments.  If parents cannot agree on the custody and timesharing of a child, then the Court, with the assistance of counselors at Family Court Services, and/or one or more the professionals detailed above, will make the decision for the parents.  Parents generally are much better served working through and resolving custody and timesharing issues together (keep the control in their hands), than allow a Court to decide. Moreover, children suffer during a custody battles.

Bristol Family Law makes every effort to assure that children do not suffer and that our client has time with his/her children.  Our priority is protecting the interest of the children involved in this difficult process, while helping a parent make the most informed decisions.  Our goal is to negotiate an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.  If this is not possible, we are fully prepared to present the most effective argument to the Court.

Child Support

Child support is computed pursuant to the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines.  The guidelines are strictly followed by the Court, except in very limited situations.

Child Support is based upon the time a child spends with each parent, each parent’s gross income, and child related expenses–such as monthly medical, dental, and vision insurance, daycare expenses, and other extraordinary child expenses.

If one parent has a child over 65% of the time, the court will use worksheet A to reflect primary physical custody with one of the parents.  If not, the court will use Worksheet B which reflects a more equalized time-sharing between the parties.

If you want to calculate child support, use the Child Support Calculator and follow the steps discussed on the webpage.  Assuming you have entered the correct information, the Child Support Calculator will produce a figure that may be close to what a Court would determine.

Contact us to discuss child support and to determine the amount of child support for setting initial child support or modifying an existing child support order.  Additionally, if a parent ordered to pay child support has failed to make child support payments as ordered, contact us to discuss how to seek judicial intervention to obtain child support.