Filing for custody during a divorce is often an emotionally tumultuous experience. This is especially true when sole custody is being sought. In this case, a parent will need to make the case as to why he or she is the best choice to provide care to the child.
Even when filing for divorce with children involved, New Mexico law allows people to represent themselves during the process. We support couples seeking divorce on a pro se basis by providing access to essential forms and information.
The Difference Between Legal & Physical Custody
While sole and joint custody are pretty self-explanatory, many people don’t consider other types of custody that may come into play. Legal custody involves the ability to make decisions on behalf of a child. The parent with legal custody gets to make decisions about where a child goes to school or what type of medical is provided.
Conversely, physical custody refers to where a child spends the majority of his or her time. It also involves who is responsible for providing the majority of childcare. Both legal and physical custody can be sole or jointly held. In fact, most New Mexico courts prefer to afford joint custody unless there is an issue that prevents them from doing so.
How Child Support Is Determined
When sole custody is afforded, the other parent may be ordered to make child support payments. Both parents’ incomes are taken into consideration when calculating the proper amount of child support.
Income evaluations can be based on net income, which is post-tax, or gross income, which is the amount earned before taxes are assessed. The number of children involved will also be considered, as will any costs that are related to healthcare or special needs.
When there are changes to either parent’s financial situation, the child support order may be modified. This can result from a loss of a job, financial hardship, or the sudden influx of money to the custodial parent.
How to Prepare Your Custody Case
We provide information on what you’ll need to prepare for you custody case. While each case is bound to be different, the following are a few common items necessary to file:
- Legal documents, like property deeds or prenuptial agreements
- Contact information for both spouses and any children involved
- Location of where the marriage took place
- Tax returns
- Banking information
- Information verifying income
You’ll also need to file the necessary forms with the court. By answering our questions, we’ll know which documents you need to initiate divorce.
Our child support calculators are good starting point to answer your questions. We also offer divorce and custody calculators to deepen your understanding of the process.