In New Mexico, the amount of child support is determined based on the principle that a child should receive the same level of support he received while his parents were married or still living together. This requires both parents to contribute to the total obligation in proportion to their incomes, based on a formula established by state law. Once ordered, the child support obligation lasts until the child reaches the age of majority.
It is not necessary for you to wait until your divorce is final to obtain a child support order in New Mexico. Instead, the court allows you to file a motion for temporary child support right after you file for divorce. Support can be ordered along with other immediate requests, such as temporary custody. The court will use the model set forth by law and worksheet for calculating temporary support orders.
Child support in New Mexico is calculated based on the income shares model. This model first combines the monthly incomes of both parents to produce a total household income. The total household income then corresponds to a support amount based on the number of children. The parent ordered to pay support is responsible for a payment amount in direct proportion to the percentage of his contribution to the household income. For example, if the custodial parent earns $1,000 per month and the noncustodial parent earns $2,000 per month, the noncustodial parent would be required to pay two-thirds of the total support obligation based on that parent's higher income.
As part of determining child support in New Mexico, certain additional expenses may be factored into the calculation. These extra costs are defined by statute and include extraordinary medical expenses, health insurance premiums and work-related child care costs. Although these expenses increase the total obligation of child support, the amount the noncustodial parent will pay is based on his share of the combined household income. For example, if your child has a heart condition requiring $300 per month in out-of-pocket medical care and the noncustodial parent contributes two-thirds of the total household income, he will be responsible for $200, or two-thirds, of the excess medical expenses.
In New Mexico, child support must be paid through a wage withholding order if either parent is receiving public assistance. The wage withholding order requires an employer to deduct the monthly support amount from the paying parent's income and forward it to the other parent. If neither parent is receiving public assistance, a wage withholding order is usually still issued unless both parents and the court agree to an alternative arrangement.
Duration of Support Order
Temporary and permanent child support orders generally remain in effect as long as the child is a minor. In New Mexico, if the child has graduated high school, the child support order will terminate at age 18. If the child is 18, but has not yet graduated high school, the order will terminate at age 19. Unless the parents have made a separate agreement, there is currently no provision in New Mexico law requiring support beyond this age, including paying for a college education.