In New Mexico, parents are held financially responsible for providing for the care of their children's needs. As such, the issue of child support is governed by mandatory state guidelines under the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines These guidelines include a formula based on a number of factors that help ensure children involved in either paternity or divorce proceedings receive the proper financial support. Each parent is required to report their gross monthly income using a child support worksheet that can be found in the family law section of New Mexico Courts website. This worksheet is generally non-negotiable and most judges will not issue an Order Adjudicating Parentage/Order Establishing Paternity or Final Decree of Divorce without it. After reporting gross income, credits are given to each parent for certain allowable expenses. Allowable expenses are restricted in nature, typically only covering childcare expenses and healthcare premiums, including medical, dental and vision care. In order for childcare to be considered allowable, the expense must be incurred during time that a parent is either working or is out looking for a job. Extraordinary expenses related to mental or physical health care that are over $100 and uninsured are also allowed. This would involve things like counseling sessions or orthodontics. These types of expenses would be converted to monthly figures or handled outside the worksheet in the Parenting Plan or other Court Order. The New Mexico Child Support Guidelines also provide credits for extraordinary educational expenses, as well as communication and transportation costs related to long distance time sharing or visitation. However, these items are typically addressed in a parenting plan, not the child support worksheet. Likewise, additional expenses, which are not the same as allowable expenses, are not directly considered on the worksheet, nor are they defined by statute. However, these too may be addressed in a Parenting Plan or other Order outside the child support worksheet. Keep in mind, the child custody and/or time-sharing arrangement will determine which New Mexico Child Support Worksheet to use. Worksheet A is used when one party has primary custody. Worksheet B is used when there is shared custody. Once the parties determine the appropriate worksheet to use, all allowable expenses are entered into the worksheet along with gross income figures for both parties, and when appropriate time-sharing ratios. From these statutory entries of income, expense and time-sharing, the monthly child support figure will be determined. Unless there is a very good reason to deviate which there seldom is, this is the child support! Collins & Collins, P.C. Albuquerque Attorneys DISCLAIMER
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