Child Support Lawyer in Las Cruces

Protecting Your Rights and Your Children’s Future

In New Mexico, the court will determine child support using several factors, including the combined income of both parents. In order to determine the child support obligation of a parent, the court will first determine parentage or the amount of time that a child will spend with each parent. From there, the court will see if there should be a deviation from the child support guidelines. It is in both parties’ best interest to work with a qualified Las Cruces child support lawyer throughout the process.

If you need assistance establishing child support or assistance during divorce proceedings, Aranda Law Firm is here to help. Call (575) 386-5100 today to schedule a confidential case review.

What Is Parentage?

Determining parentage is one of the first steps in a child custody proceeding. The court must determine paternity in order to award child support or make a decision about custody and visitation. Parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity if they both agree that they are the parents of the child. If one or both parties do not agree, they should not sign the Acknowledgement and should allow the court to establish paternity.

Once parentage is established, the court will decide custody and visitation rights. While the court will favor joint custody, it may not always be awarded in that manner. Additionally, while joint custody allows both parents to make decisions on behalf of their child, it does not mean that physical custody is split 50/50. The court will always defer to what it believes is in the best interest of the child when making child custody or support decisions. It is important to seek proper representation from a child custody lawyer.

How Is Child Support Determined?

Child support is determined by several factors, beginning with the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines. This is a baseline that can be deviated from based on the individual circumstances of the case.

In addition to the guidelines, a court will look at the following:

  • Gross income of both parents
  • How many children the parents have
  • Time spent with each parent
  • Who is responsible for the child
  • Childcare obligations
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Court-ordered child support to another parent


Even if joint custody is awarded, the court may still order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. Speak with a Las Cruces child custody lawyer to learn more about this.

What If My Income Has Changed?

If your income has changed significantly since the initial child support order was issued, you should request a modification. A modification must be done through the court. You cannot stop paying child support or alter the amount you pay without a new order. The court will take into consideration your changed circumstances and may issue a new order reflecting the lower income.

When Do Child Support Payments Stop?

Under state law, child support payments stop when the child reaches 18 unless they are still in high school. If they are still in high school, they may receive child support payments until they are 19 years of age.

What If the Court Awards Joint Custody?

Child support may still be awarded, even if there is joint custody. The court will look at several factors when determining the amount of support that should be paid each month. The custodial parent is the parent who receives the child support payments, while the non-custodial parent is the one who pays the child support. 

Joint custody may mean that both parents share responsibility for decision-making on behalf of their child, but it does not mean that the child spends equal time with each of them. Additionally, because the court believes that financial obligations should be shared, they will look at income discrepancies between the parents when ordering support payments. A Las Cruces child support lawyer can assist you in making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Does Paternity Have to Be Established to Receive Child Support in New Mexico?

New Mexico law requires that paternity be established in order to receive child support. Paternity can be established by both parties signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity, or it can be established through the courts.

What If I Am Unemployed or Lose My Job?

If you are unemployed or lose your job, the court will take your changed income circumstances into consideration when ordering or making a modification to child support obligations. However, if the court finds that you are willfully unemployed or underemployed, the court may determine child support based on your earnings and employment potential, not your actual income.

The court will use the following criteria when determining your earnings and employment potential:

  • The available job opportunities
  • Your employment and income history
  • Your job skills and education
  • Your age and health
  • Your criminal background
  • Childcare obligations for children under six or who are disabled


The court provides resources to help you secure employment if you are unemployed or underemployed. It is important to ensure that you do not lie about or alter your income to avoid support obligations or to receive more than you should be allowed under the state guidelines. 

Should I Hire an Attorney for My Child Support Case in Las Cruces?

While you are not legally required to retain an attorney for your child support case in Las Cruces, it is strongly recommended. A child support lawyer in Las Cruces can serve as an advocate for you throughout the proceedings. They can work to ensure your rights and interests are protected. If you need assistance with family law matters, call Aranda Law Firm at (575) 386-5100 today.

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