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Legal Servces

What Does New Mexico Child Support Cover?

In New Mexico, divorcing parents are directed by statute to divide between them the essential expenses of their children in proportion to their incomes such as:

  1. Housing, basic food, basic clothing, medical and dental expenses, and other customary expenses such as recreational activities which parents agree upon.
    The legislature recognizes that the cost of raising children is not limited to those items covered by the basic child support obligation.
  2.  

  3. Extraordinary expenses such as expensive summer music camps, educational summers abroad and private school depend upon what the status quo was in the marriage, the needs of the children and the ability of parents to pay for these expenses. Often negotiation rather than litigation is the more productive method of addressing such expenditures.

If extraordinary expenses are listed on the Child Support Worksheet (one of the documents in the divorce): that expense is a fixed amount, it requires the parents to share it proportional to their incomes, and it is easier to enforce. Any extra expense not listed on the worksheet: can be shared in any proportion the parents agree upon, can be shared as the cost is incurred (not a fixed amount monthly), requires on-going communication between the parties, and is not as easy to enforce.

 

Most parents include in their agreement a clause to the effect that any extraordinary expense for their children which is not on the worksheet must be agreed to by both parents ahead of time (except emergencies).

 

Whether parents are on a Child Support Worksheet A or B depends upon the parenting plan schedule and the time allocated between the parties. The formula for calculating child support for less than 35% of the time with one parent puts the parents on a Worksheet A. The formula for Worksheet B calculates the amount owed depending upon the exact percentages between 35% to 65% of the time with one of the parents. In other words, if the timeshare plan is between 1% and 34% with one parent and 99% and 66% with the other parent, Worksheet A applies. More typically, the scenario is 25-30% with one parent and 70-75% with the other under a Worksheet A. Worksheet B is typically 38%-50% with one parent and 50-62% with the other parent.

 

The gray line is 32%-37% and this is where the calculation under a Worksheet A and a Worksheet B become more problematic in terms of fairness because Child Support Worksheet A typically allocates more child support to the parent who has the child more time than does Child Support Worksheet B. Concerns about actually following the timeshare plan are often voiced by the child support recipient spouse and it is essential that the parents negotiate in good faith and focus on the best interests of their children.

 

New Mexico Child Support Worksheets: http://www2.nmcourts.gov/cgi/prose_lib/csw2008.htm

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