Fathers and mothers are equally important to children. It may not seem like it when court systems seemingly favor mothers in proceedings. There is no law or statute in the State of New Mexico written for fathers, but there is no special law for mothers, either. New Mexico’s legal system uses the word “parent” so as to appear blind to the label of “father” or “mother.”
When you are seeking legal representation for matters related to your children, we are ready to help.
Our Albuquerque lawyers will fight for the father’s rights in the following cases:
Our legal representation extends to modifications in child custody, visitation, and support. We understand that you want to do your best for your children, and we are here to help you with that.
Father Considering Legal Representation?
Here’s a list of points to consider if you’re a father in New Mexico needing legal representation:
- Don’t let your bias cloud your view and keep your emotions in check. So called “Father’s Rights” attorneys aren’t always the best choice. And it could be that a female attorney is better qualified and will fight more aggressively on your behalf. Intelligent, experienced female attorneys can be strong and passionate about winning your case! You’ll know one when you meet one. So interview attorneys before choosing.
- Male or female, choose an attorney that has a minimum of 5 years’ experience with cases just like yours. Ask them about this experience. If they don’t have it, move on.
- Ask about the attorney’s success in court and with negotiating. Winning your position while also avoiding court can save you significant money. Your attorney must have masterful negotiating skills especially if your “ex” has an attorney.
- Find an attorney that carefully listens to your side, and then gives you straight-up advice. No cloudy double talk – real strategies and the truth. If you want someone to tell you what you want to hear – it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll choose the wrong lawyer.
- Ask about what they think your chances of winning are and how much it costs. If the answer is fuzzy, reconsider choosing that attorney.
- Don’t plunk down your money without what’s called a Letter of Engagement. This is a written document that outlines what the attorney will, and will not do for you. Choose another attorney if this isn’t provided.
- Ask how your money is handled and how you are invoiced. If they don’t regularly provide written invoices and/or reports on the work being done on your case, this probably isn’t a good match.
FAQ’s for Fathers or Dads
What if you didn’t know your girlfriend was pregnant and you’ve never even seen the child – do you owe for child support?
It’s very possible that you do. This might be a case where proving paternity is the first order of business. Then if it’s physically established that the child is yours, you’ll have to pay child support. The question is: Do you have to pay back child support and how far back?
What if the mother of your children has falsely alleged abuse or domestic violence to gain the advantage?
Sadly, this happens. And it’s horrible to live through. False accusations of this kind can begin with a police report, you receiving a temporary order of protection notice from the court, or a combination of actions.
Once you receive a temporary order of protection you’ll have a short time to respond. Don’t ignore this or wait to the last minute. It’s very important that you treat this seriously. Unfortunately, at this juncture it doesn’t matter if she’s falsely accused you. You have to defend your position either with, or without, an attorney. I’d advise hiring an experienced attorney. You get one shot and you need to know what to say and not say in court. If you’re representing yourself, it’s easy to get twisted, angry, or even tongue-tied. Get a professional to represent you. Often, you can be cleared at the first hearing and then it’s done.
Following a false accusation that is resolved in your favor, there are probably other issues you’ll need to address. Again, get solid legal advice. It’s worth noting that some family lawyers don’t do domestic violence or defense against orders of protection. Find an attorney that is familiar with this and all other matters related to your case.
If you never knew you had a child and discover that now you do – do you now have a right to visit the child?
If you’re the real bio-father, you have every right to be in your child’s life. And that includes regular visitation and decision-making. The mother can’t lawfully keep you out of the child’s life unless there is some safety reason for doing so. And even if you’re behind on child support – she cannot keep the children from you. The two issues are not linked in the State of New Mexico. If she’s blocking your access, court may be your only option.
If you object to having your children moved away, even within the state – she does not have the right to arbitrarily do this against your objections. But you have to ask yourself the question: Are you objecting just to punish her and would it actually be beneficial to the kids to move? Sometimes the “ex” gets re-married and the new husband accepts a job out-of-state. Maybe the schools are better there for the kids. You should think about what’s best for the kids – not you. But, in most cases your consent is needed.
Nothing is “automatic” when it comes to your rights as a father. You would have to legally terminate your parental rights in order for another person to adopt your children. And that can’t happen without your written consent. Sometimes this is best for the children. But only you can make that decision. The new husband cannot override your parental rights.
The mother of your children cannot retaliate against you by cutting off your visitation or communication with your children. New Mexico judges are very supportive of a father’s right to be in their children’s lives. Unless there is some compelling reason why the children should not be left alone with you, she cannot lawfully block visitation. You probably need a good, experienced attorney to advocate for you if this is happening.
If you’ve exhausted every avenue with your “ex” on your own – get a good attorney. Sometimes going to court is the only way. Family court is very different than other courts. Choose an attorney who practices exclusively family law with a minimum of five years’ experience.
Yes. If you and your “ex” are willing to work out the details and agree – you can draft your own written plan. There are samples on the internet to get you started or a good family law attorney can help you. A Parenting Plan is just a written agreement between both parents on how certain things will be handled. It can also change over time and probably should as the children grow older and their needs change.
Can your “ex” move the kids out-of-state (or the country) without your consent? Can she travel out-of-state or the country with the kids?
The mother of your children can not usually just “pick up the kids and go”. As the other parent, your consent is typically required. But much depends on whether you have an existing agreement or Parenting Plan that permits might permit this. Regardless, if you as the father believe that any move might not be in the best interest of your children, challenge it.