Divorce and Custody
Divorce and custody law deals with the legal aspects related to the dissolution of a marriage and the determination of child custody arrangements. These laws provide a framework for resolving issues such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, and parental responsibilities in the event of a divorce or separation.
When a couple decides to divorce or separate, child custody becomes a significant concern. Custody refers to the legal and physical responsibility for the care, upbringing, and decision-making for a child. It encompasses two main types:
- Legal Custody: Legal custody determines which parent or guardian has the authority to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and general welfare. It can be awarded as joint legal custody, where both parents share decision-making responsibilities, or sole legal custody, where one parent has the exclusive authority to make such decisions. In New Mexico, joint legal custody is presumed.
- Physical Custody: Physical custody relates to the child’s living arrangements and designates with whom the child primarily resides. It can be awarded as sole physical custody, where the child lives with one parent for the majority of the time, or joint physical custody, where the child spends substantial time with both parents.
The legal standard for physical custody determinations in New Mexico is the best interests of the child. Factors considered may include the child’s age, physical and emotional well-being, relationship with each parent, stability of the home environment, ability of the parents to provide care, and any history of abuse or neglect.
In divorce or custody proceedings, it is advisable for parents to reach an agreement on custody and visitation arrangements through negotiation or mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented by each party. Courts may appoint and consider reports from custody evaluators, guardians ad litem, and parenting coordinators.
Child support is another crucial aspect of divorce and custody law. It is the financial support provided by one parent to the other for the upbringing and care of the child. The amount of child support is determined by guidelines established by New Mexico law, taking into account factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children involved, the amount of time spent with each parent, medical insurance costs, and work-related daycare costs.
We are experienced in New Mexico Divorce and Custody Matters at Ashton Horton Mullins. Schedule a consult today!