Ten Divorce, Custody, and Child Support Myths
1.It is OK to deny visitation if the other parent does not pay child support.
False. This situation comes up when the noncustodial parent falls behind in paying child support, and the custodial parent decides that the delinquency justifies shutting the other parent out of the children's lives. In the eyes oft he Court, child support and child visitation are separate issues. Child support is not payment for the privilege of visitation.
2.Adultery is a ground for divorce.
False. New Mexico is a no-fault state. Any married person can ask for a divorce “just because”.
3.A spouse can deny the other spouse a divorce.
False. In the days before no-fault divorce, one spouse could make it all but impossible for the other to end the marriage. This is not the case anymore. Anyone can get a divorce!
This does not mean that divorce is easy. In the vast majority of cases, one spouse wants to end the marriage and the other does not—at least in the beginning. And sometimes the reluctant spouse stalls the process of a divorce out of spite.
4.The mother automatically gets the kids.
False. Mother does not automatically get the kids. However, in many cases, the divorcing spouses agree the children's best interest is with the mother. In contested cases, where both parents seek custody, the court decides the question by also deciding what’s in the best interests of thechild.
5.A parent with a mental illness or a drug using parent will never get custody oftheir kids.
False. In NewMexico, parents even in state custody have rights. Just because one parent may suffer from a mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction, the Courts in many cases will not keep a parent from their children. There might be certain restrictions however. Also due to the changing nature of Medical Cannabis, the lawful use of marijuana may not face the Court at all!
6.You can take a smaller property settlement to avoid paying child support.
False. Property settlements and child support are separate issues. In New Mexico child support is decided based upon certain guidelines and judges are prohibited from deviating much from those guidelines except in the most exigent of circumstances.
7.Most contested divorces are settled at trial.
False. In many contested cases, lawyers prepare for trial even as they continue to search for a settlement. This is part of their strategy. Reputable divorce lawyers always try to work for a settlement rather than a trial because going to trial escalates the cost of a divorce astronomically. Few people havethe money or the stomach for it.
8.A divorcing woman can always count on alimony.
False. In most cases, most women do not get alimony at all. New Mexico provides for different types of spousal support however there are no hard and fast rules. Secondly and most importantly alimony is not even considered unless the couple have been married for several years.
9.If a parent terminates their parental rights they can avoid paying child support.
False. Even in cases where on parent terminates their legal rights to parent their children, they cannot avoid paying child support.
10. My kids can talk to the judge or testify in court.
False.The Court is not really interested in the wishes of the children. And the Court will not in most cases have the children address the Court. However, the Courts will often times appoint attorneys to represent the children. These attorneys are called guardian ad litems. They get to know the children and act as a voice for them.