Our family law attorneys treat every case like it’s our only case. We offer the outstanding representation of a large firm with the affordability and personal attention of a boutique law firm.
WE represent clients through all complexities of divorce, including high net worth and celebrity divorces. if your divorce is simple, We handle those, too — at a much lower cost than other law firms.
Child support is usually calculated pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines. Our attorneys can help you establish, modify, or enforce child support, including the collection of unpaid support.
Our family law attorneys have successfully helped many clients establish, modify, and enforce parenting time and legal decision-making.
Custodial Parent Relocation
Many divorced parents have questions about traveling out of the state with their children either on a short trip or a permanent relocation. Depending on the child custody arrangement, parenting plan in place, and length/ nature of the trip, the parent may need to get permission either from the other parent or the court before taking a child out of New Mexico.
There are many reasons for taking a child out of state including vacations, holidays, and visits to extended family. Other reasons may be different in nature, like a permanent move resulting from a job offer or wanting to be closer to family in another state. In other situations, parents take their children out of state to deprive the other parent of contact with a child.
In New Mexico, parenting plans will usually discuss a vacation and holiday schedule that specifies which parent the children will be with during these times. If the parenting plan specifies that the children will travel out of state for vacation or holiday, then the parent does not need further permission unless the trip will be longer that specified in the parenting plan. Although most plans will require the travelling parent to provide an itinerary of travel dates, times and locations to the other parent and provide a way for the other parent to contact the children while they are travelling.
If a parent wants to take a child out of state because of a change in residence, the parent cannot make this decision unilaterally unless he or she has sole legal custody. Even then, the parent who wishes to relocate may need the court‘s permission if the proposes relocation will interfere with, or eliminate, the other parent‘s visitation with the child. Given New Mexico‘s preference for joint legal custody, most New Mexico parenting plans clearly state that the children will reside in New Mexico and cannot be moved out of state without approval from the other parent or a court order.
A parenting plan should include provisions to be followed when one parent wants to relocate. A typical example of such a provision is when parents live less than 60 miles apart, notice of any planned relocation out of state or more than 100 miles from the other parent must be sent to the other parent at least 60 days in advance of moving. If parents cannot agree on the move, they must submit to mediation and draft a new parenting plan that must be approved by the court. If the parents cannot agree in mediation, then the parent wishing to relocate will need to file a motion with the court asking for permission to move out-of-state with the child.
Taking a child out of state without informing the other parent or in violation of a court order or temporary domestic order is considered custodial interference and is considered a serious offense in New Mexico. Parents that are found guilty of custodial interference face possible findings of contempt, fines, jail time, and awards of attorney fees and costs. Beyond family court sanctions, custodial interference is a felony that falls under New Mexico criminal kidnapping statutes. Parents found guilty of custodial interference face serious criminal penalties including up to 18 months in prison for each count.
New Mexico is a community property state meaning that we look at the assets and the debts and allocate them in a way that makes sense to the parties and we try to divide the assets 50/50. It is also equitable distribution state though. If it does not make sense to divide the assets 50/50, we come up with a better solution. Our goal is to help you make the best possible financial decisions for yourself and for your family moving forward.
While going through a separation or divorce, it is important to receive a financial agreement that is equitable and takes into consideration your current circumstances. Division of marital property can be a point of contention between married couples if they are not able to effectively communicate with each other or if they want different things. IBF Law can help you figure out the best approach to reaching a settlement. We will protect your rights and financial interests throughout the legal proceedings.
Spousal maintenance can be awarded during divorce or legal separation. Because it is entirely discretionary and carries significant consequences, this is an issue where it is imperative to have the absolute best divorce attorneys on your side.
Courts are given broad authority to award and modify spousal support in New Mexico both during the divorce and after.
The consideration is made on a case by case basis, with the courts looking at what seems just and proper given the circumstances of the case, and by examining several aspects of what constitutes the “need” of a party for spousal support and the “ability” of the other party to pay spousal support.
The Supreme Court in Chavez v. Chavez, 82 NM624 (1971), recognized that there is a right to support that each party in a marriage is able to enjoy and take comfort in, and the awarding of spousal support is a continuation or substitution of that enjoyment or comfort.
New Mexico spousal support is not meant to be a penalty against the paying party, and in fact, the award of spousal support is to be made without regard to fault or marital misconduct.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are written contracts where couples agree how to resolve many of the issues that ordinarily arise in the event of an eventual divorce or legal separation. An effective prenuptial agreement can save both parties tens of thousands of dollars in future litigation costs.
New Mexico has adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA), like the majority of states. The UPAA streamlines prenuptial agreements and sets forth requirements that every agreement must follow.
Prenuptial agreements in New Mexico must abide by basic contract principles. Foremost, any prenup must be in writing and signed voluntarily by both spouses. An oral prenuptial agreement won’t be upheld. Additionally, both spouses must be at least 18 years old and of sufficient mental capacity to enter into an agreement. If a marriage is declared void, any prenuptial agreement entered into by the couple will be void as well.
A prenuptial agreement won’t be enforced if one spouse can prove that:
he or she didn’t sign the agreement voluntarily
the agreement was severely unfair (unconscionable) when it was signed; and before signing the agreement
the defrauded spouse wasn’t provided a full and accurate picture of the other’s assets and liabilities
the defrauded spouse didn’t voluntarily waive in writing his or her right to disclosure of the other spouse’s finances, and
that spouse could not reasonably have had adequate knowledge of the other spouse’s finances.
Legal paternity is not always established at birth, even when the father’s identity is known and undisputed. Legal paternity also does not always depend on a biological relationship. Our attorneys can help you establish paternity.
A Parentage case (also known as a Paternity case) is a legal action filed by an unmarried mother or unmarried father to establish who is the legal father of a child(ren) and to define their legal responsibilities toward the child(ren).
In order to get child support or a custody and visitation order, unmarried parents must first establish paternity. This is done by filing a Petition to Establish Parentage, Determine Custody and Time-Sharing and Assess Child Support.
How Paternity is Established
A child born during a marriage or within 300 days following the mother becoming divorced or widowed, is presumed to be the child of that husband. When a child is conceived outside of marriage, paternity will need to be established either voluntarily or by court order through a paternity action.
By voluntarily acknowledging paternity, parents can avoid the headache of filing a paternity case. Parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment before a notary and agree that they are the parents of the child. Once the completed Acknowledgment is filed with the Department of Health, the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate. It is very hard to change a Voluntary Acknowledgment once filed, so parents can submit to genetic testing before signing if they want to be sure.
If parents can’t agree on who the child’s father is, a paternity case can be filed in the New Mexico court. The child’s mother, the man who believes he’s the child’s father, a guardian or the department of social services (if the child is receiving state assistance) may file a paternity case in New Mexico.
If the mother is unsure which of two or more persons is the father or the alleged father still denies paternity, the court may require the mother, child and alleged father to submit to genetic testing. An alleged father that won’t submit to genetic testing may be deemed the father by his noncooperation.
Third Party Rights & Visitations
Under New Mexico Law, non-parents can petition the family court to establish legal custody or visitation rights with a minor child. Our attorneys have successfully handled many third party cases, including grandparents visitation cases.
New Mexico’s Kinship Guardianship Act indefinitely but temporarily transfers all parental rights and obligations to a child to the caregiver. The Act allows a caregiver to obtain legal custody of a child by suspending, but not terminating, parental rights. Much easier to obtain and faster than an adoption, a Kinship Guardianship can be requested for reasons including an abusive relationship, drug or alcohol abuse, abandonment, neglect or even the extreme youth of a parent. It can be useful to both child and parent in that it lets a child be cared for (without reliance on the foster care system) while the parent seeks help, but permits the parent to come back into the child’s life when the parent is ready and able. It is an important distinction to note that with a Kinship Guardianship, a parent does not have to be proven, and is not labeled, “unfit”.