There are many decisions that must be made during divorce or paternity proceedings. One of the most contentious can often involve establishing child support. Issues inevitably arise concerning responsibility, fairness and the best interest of the child.
The Worksheet is Statutory and Mandatory
A child support worksheet can help put some of these questions to rest. The New Mexico Child Support Worksheets are statutory and mandatory. They are with rare exceptions non-negotiable. ParentS would do well to calculate the worksheets on their own at the family law section of www.nmcourts.gov.
In addition, most judges will not sign a Final Decree of Divorce without the child support worksheets attached. It does not matter that the parties wish to handle child support informally. The New Mexico family law court judges generally will not allow it.
Two Different Worksheets Depending Upon Time-Sharing
There are two basic worksheets used for calculating child support. Worksheet A involves primary physical custody, which is where one parent has the child or children over 65% of the time. Worksheet B relates to those parents with a more equal time-sharing arrangement.
The basic child support worksheet begins by considering each parent’s gross monthly income. This is income from any source, including wages, bonuses, commissions, tips, pensions, annuities, disability benefits and the like. A complete list of qualifying income and exemptions (which are few) can be found in the New Mexico Statutes, NMSA §40-4-11.1.
Once gross income is determined, the worksheet will factor in expenses related to the children. Allowable expenses are limited in nature and do not include many expenses that parents would like to see incorporated into the child support worksheets. Basically, the expenses are limited to healthcare/dental premiums and childcare expenses. Other expenses such as travel necessary for time-sharing, private school, clothing, extracurricular activities and the like are typically addressed in the parenting plan outside of the worksheet.
The Numbers are the Numbers!
Finally, the gross income figures along with the allowable expenses are entered into the appropriate Child Support Worksheet A or Worksheet B. Worksheet B will also require the time-sharing allocation to be entered. Once all this is done, a child support figure is computed using the formulas, or more commonly a software program such as the one at the New Mexico Courts website.
The software will spit out a figure and that is the child support that will be paid! Acceptance of this fact early on by both parties will avoid a lot of conflict, stress and unnecessary attorney fees.