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FAQs - Child Support

How is child support determined in New Mexico?

Child support in New Mexico is set by the statute known as the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines. It is a straightforward formula that looks at the gross income (before taxes and withholdings) of both parents, multiplied by the number of children. The formula tells you what the “base” child support will be. Added to the base child support is the cost of medical insurance just for the children and the cost of work-related daycare. Sometimes there are “additional expenses” put on the child support worksheet such as private school tuition, regular medical expenses (orthodontist work, prescription medication, co-pays for therapy, etc.) and the cost of car insurance for teenage drivers.

Why are there two different child support worksheets?

There are two child support worksheets in New Mexico – A and B. Each worksheet is used for different situations:

  • Worksheet A: This is used when the child lives primarily with one parent and spends less than 35% of the year with the other parent.
  • Worksheet B: This is used when the child spends approximately or actually the equal time in each parent’s care. It presumes two full homes are maintained for the child.

There is also an online child support calculator available for you to use that can help you estimate how much child support will be granted. Fill in the income figure for both parents, the amount of the child’s medical insurance, the cost of work-related daycare and any other additional expenses. In addition to this information, you will also need to put the number of days per year (it must add up to 365) the child is with each parent. This will then calculate the amount for child support.

What if my ex-works for himself?

If one or both parents are self-employed things can get complicated in determining “gross income” for child support purposes. Look at the total revenue generated minus “reasonable and ordinary” business expenses, which is not the same thing as deductions on tax returns. You will need to see the business Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Statement, business tax returns as well as personal returns, and the bank statements and credit card statements, to see how much cash flow is really available to support the child. To the extent the business is paying for personal expenses – such as a cell phone or car – that needs to be included as income for the parent for child support purposes.

What happens if I quit my job or take a lower paying job to avoid paying child support?

The law presumes a parent is working up to his or her potential. If a parent is “under-employed” or unemployed by choice, then it is possible to “impute income” to that parent for child support purposes. This is also a tricky area in difficult economic times because a parent may have been laid off from a job and takes a lower paying job just to get by. Conversely, some parents quit higher paying jobs and don’t look for a new job for the primary purpose of trying to avoid paying child support.

Can child support be garnished from the paying parent’s paycheck?

By law, child support is supposed to be automatically deducted from the paying parent’s paycheck and routed through the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Human Services Department to the receiving parent. If the parents agree they do not want to go through CSED, they can do so by giving the Court a good reason for the decision.

Can I deduct my child support payments from my income tax?

Child support is not deductible from the paying parent’s income for income tax purposes and is not included in the receiving parent’s income for tax purposes.

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