Child Support

Who has to pay child support?
Both parents of a child have a duty to support their child. Child support is set according to each parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.

Why is it important to establish child support?
When the parents of a child do not live together and share income, one household may have less income than the other household. Child support evens out the income between the households so the child can live a lifestyle that reflects the income of both parents.

Why should I pay child support to my child’s other parent?
There are two main reasons a parent should pay child support: 1) by paying child support to the other parent you are ensuring that your child is not deprived of things they need such as food, clothing, housing, etc.; and 2) if you do not support your child, the other parent or the State may come after you at a later date resulting in a large debt that could take years to pay down.

Can a parent have visits with their child even if he or she is not paying child support?
Yes. Visitation and child support are completely separate issues.

How do I get the other parent to pay child support?
There are two ways to get child support from your child’s other parent. You can file a petition with the District Court on your own, or, you can ask the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) to pursue child support for you. Usually, when you file a petition to establish paternity, custody and timesharing, child support will also be determined.

Do I qualify to receive child support services through CSED?
The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) is a government program to collect support from parents. Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help establishing a child support order or collecting support payments can apply for services through CSED. People who have received cash-assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are automatically referred to the child support agency for services and the services are free. In order to receive TANF benefits you must cooperate with CSED to establish paternity and child support from the other parent. If you apply for help from CSED and you are not receiving TANF benefits you will be charged a fee.

CSED will only help to establish paternity and set child support. If you want the Judge to make decisions about custody or timesharing you need to file separate motions on your own.

To start the application process, contact the CSED office nearest you.

How is the amount of child support calculated?
New Mexico’s Child Support Guidelines provide a range of amounts based on:
• The amount of time the child spends at each parent’s home
• Both parents’ gross monthly income (before taxes are taken out)
• Comparative percentage of each parent’s income
• Related expenses (child care, health and dental coverage), and
• The number of children involved.

Under certain circumstances the court can adjust child support upward or downward from the amount that would normally be paid under the guidelines. To find out how much you must pay or would be owed, you must fill out the necessary forms through CSED or use the Child Support Calculator.

What financial information must I provide to establish the amount of child support?
Both parents must provide the following information to help the Judge decide who has to pay child support and how much support must be paid:
• Federal and state tax returns
• W-2 statements
• Internal Revenue Service Form 1099s
• Cost of work-related daycare
• Medical insurance premiums for the child
• Wage and payroll statements

What happens if my pay is cut or I lose my job?
File a Motion to “Modify Child Support” as soon as possible. You must continue to pay the child support to the best of your ability until changes take place. The Judge will require proof that you are continuing to search for and apply for jobs.

What happens if I don’t pay?
If you are ordered by a judge to pay child support and you don’t pay the child support, there can be negative consequences.

First, your wages can be “garnished” – money will be taken out of your paycheck before you get paid.
Second, you will be charged interest on the amount you have not paid.
Third, your driver’s license can be suspended until you pay off any back child support.
Fourth, the judge can find you in “contempt of court”, impose a fine or even put you in jail.

How can I be sure I will receive child support payments?
If the other parent has a history of not paying child support, or if you receive child support through CSED, you can have the child support withheld from the parent’s wages. Under “wage withholding”, the support payment is directly taken out of the parent’s paycheck just like taxes, insurance premiums and other items are.

What if the other parent has left the state?
CSED can help you get child support even if the parent has moved to another state. Contact CSED and provide any information you have about where the parent is now. If the other parent is located, the case can be transferred to the other state. If you do not have information about where the parent has moved, CSED can send a request to the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS), for help locating the other parent.

DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website shall be construed as legal advice nor does the information provided constitute the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. We take no responsibility for errors.