Child Support Negotiation: What to Know

Some degree of “negotiation” over child support is possible in New Mexico, and it can be better than relying on the determination by the court if you get a good agreement. Your attorney can help ensure you are getting the amount of child support you are entitled to. In the meantime, consider what you need to know about the process in this state so you are truly informed going into your negotiations.

Honesty and Transparency are Crucial

You and your former spouse or partner must be honest about expenses and income. This is the only way to know how much money is available for your child. For example, if your side business has grown more successful in the last year, let your former spouse or partner know. Both of you should volunteer information instead of waiting for each other to ask.

Transparency and honesty can also help with the negotiation process as people tend to be more willing to compromise when they feel they are getting the whole truth. The opposite is also true; your spouse or partner is more likely to be difficult if they discover you have lied about an asset or expense. The court does not take one person hiding assets or being dishonest about expenses very well, either, so the move is simply not worth the risk.

Every Expense Should be Considered

In accordance with family law in Albuquerque, every potential extra expense of your child should be included in the child support agreement. Don’t just add regular expenses, such as child care costs. Consider expenses that are not as regular, such as the co-pay for your child’s doctor. Future expenses, such as soccer team costs, need to be accounted for, too, as these are likely to increase as your child grows.

The Guidelines Should be Reviewed

You, and ideally your spouse or partner, should know and understand New Mexico’s child support guidelines. You will need the court’s approval for your agreement, and for that, the agreement should fall under the guidelines in most cases. However, it is important to note that deviations from the guidelines apply in some cases. If you or your spouse or partner, for example, have a very low or high income, a deviation may be called for. This also applies if your child has unique needs, such as a disability. Your attorney will be able to help you determine whether the support agreement should deviate from the guidelines in your case.

A Touch of Realism is Needed

You may not be able to give your child the post-divorce or separation life you want for them, but that is okay as long as you can take care of their basic needs. Your finances are likely to take a hit after you separate or divorce, and your child support may simply not cover that new gap. Make a new budget and stick to it instead. Be realistic about how much child support you need for your child, and don’t drag out the proceedings by insisting on an amount the other parent will never be able to afford.

In addition, always keep in mind that the child support is meant for your child and not you. Knowing and reminding yourself of this can help keep the feelings you have about your spouse or partner–and vice versa–from affecting the support negotiations.

While calculating child support seems like it should be an easy task given state guidelines, many things can impact this amount. Work with your attorney to ensure your child is receiving the amount of support they are entitled to.