Top 10 Things NOT to Do When You Divorce
are the top 10 tips onwhat to avoid when filing for divorce.
1. If you’re a woman, don't get pregnant.
If you’re a man don’t get anybody pregnant.
Having a new baby during the pendency
of your divorce is problematic. Not only is not healthy for you or the baby,
but it can be off-putting to the Court should the judge find out. Likewise, if you’re
a man, don’t get anybody pregnant. Although New Mexico is a no-fault state, the
Court won’t be happy to hear that Dad has a new family in the making before he’s
In my fifteen years of experience, I have found that courts (not always to be sure) try to make child custody decisions
based on what is in the child’s best interest; simple as that.
Typically, the judge weighs a number of various interrelated factors. While the factors vary from state-to-state, they may generally include:
- The strength of each parent-child relationship. This is called "bonding". Sometimes a judge will hear evidence about the parent-child bond through a therapist's testimony;
If your custody case is OUTSIDE of Bernalillo County, chances are, at some point someone will mention an Advisory Consultant. In Bernalillo County, oftentimes families/parties are referred to the Court Clinic. The Court Clinic plays an integral part in custody decisions in many cases. However what happens when you don't live in Albuquerque?
If your case is in Valencia County, Sandoval County, or Cibola County you don't have access to a court clinic to help determine custody arrangements. Instead when parties reach an impasse they may be ordered to meet with an "Advisory Consultant".
One question people ask me is whether they need an attorney to represent them in their child custody and/or family law matter. Short answer...Nope! You do not need a lawyer to represent you.
In the United States and New Mexico specifically, you do not need a lawyer to represent you. You have a right to represent yourself in court. You can go to court, file pleadings, and argue your case. Many people do. I know this because they hire me to fix the mess.
Truth be told, many people have represented themselves in court and some folks have done pretty well for themselves.
do Child Custody and Child Support Laws Come From?
ask all the time, where do child custody and child support laws come from? Are
the laws in each state completely different? Are these laws even
constitutional? Let’s find out.
law in the United States comes from several sources. Primarily, family law is a
state affair and much of the laws governing child custody and child support are
state statutory law. These laws are found in each states’ codified statutes
and/or codes. In New Mexico, we have Chapter 40 of the New Mexico Statutes
to Do If the Other Parent Isn’t Paying Their Child Support Obligation
First, Get It
all fifty states, child support obligations are created by court orders. You
probably got your child support order as part of a divorce or previous child
custody/child support case. Even if you didn’t go to court in person—which can
happen in cases where the parties reached an out of court stipulated agreement,
there should still be something in writing. That’s your starting point. Even if
you’d rather resolve the issue out of court, a court order gives you something
to legally enforce.
Most people would agree that parents
should be financially responsible for their children at least to the best of
their abilities. Child support amounts can be modified if situations warrant. In
most jurisdictions and New Mexico is no exception, child support can be
modified whenever there is a change in circumstances. The parent alleging the
change in circumstances has the burden of proving that there has been a
"significant change in circumstances."
In New Mexico, anytime there is a
significant change in custody, you should have an attached child support
Gets to Claim the Kids for Taxes?
The issue comes up often. Who
gets to claim the kids for tax purposes? It’s an important question because the
answer equals big money. There are many tax benefits with respect to claiming a
qualified child as a dependent. For the calendar year of 2015, claiming one’s
child as a dependent reduces one’s taxable income by approximately $4,000.
Another possible tax benefit is the Child Tax Credit, which is worth up to
$1,000 for each child under the age of 17; bear in mind there aree certain eligibility
requirements that are based on the parent’s adjusted gross income.
What do you do when the "baby's momma" doesn't want to let you have visitation? I get this question a lot from guys who are dads but aren't married to the mother of their child(ren). In fact, I was just in Court dealing with this common situation just yesterday.
Oftentimes couples believe they can work things out without formalizing anything. I will ask a client if they have an actual parenting plan drawn up with the other parent. Most times they do not. People simply assume they have inherit parenting rights.
The Best Interests of
the Child Standard
The underlying goal for any children’s court judge or family
court judge is to determine what’s in the best interest of the child or
children. They do this in every child custody decision, every child support
determination, and in CYFD abuse and neglect cases. Parents believe their
ideas, goals, and plans are in their child’s best interests. Lawyers draft
motions and advocate for what they believe is in the best interests of
child-client or in the best interests of their clients’ children.