Enforcement of Child Support in New Mexico

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We get many calls from New Mexico parents who have not been receiving court ordered child support.  The non-custodial parent is unwilling and sometimes unable to pay court ordered support. This is a very difficult situation for the custodial parent.  The situation, as evidence by the growing caseload of the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division, appears to be getting worse with the current economy.

Unfortunately, I am often unable to give these struggling parents much good news.  Often the amount of monthly court ordered child support is pretty low.  Though there may be arrearages, the total amount to be recovered is still relatively low.  The dilemma is one of costs and benefits.

It would seem that the enforcement of support would be relatively straightforward.  In theory, it is.  The delinquent parent will be made to pay arrearages.  The delinquent parent will also be ordered to pay ongoing support.   The court might even threaten the delinquent parent with contempt.  On rare occasions, the person might be taken into custody.

It May Not Be Cost Effective to Hire a Child Support Lawyer

Unfortunately, getting to this ruling can take a significant amount of attorney time, and the courts are reluctant to award attorney fees in family court especially in Albuquerque.  Even when they do award attorney fees, they generally award only a small fraction of the actual fees.  The award of attorney fees is almost a mere symbolic gesture.  The parent who has been forced to hire an attorney to enforce the court ordered child support may gain a legal victory in the court ordered enforcement of child support while actually expending more money in attorney fees than is recovered through the enforcement proceeding.

Consider Other Options for Collecting Unpaid Child Support

As a result, I advise parents who are in this situation to carefully consider the possible attorney fees versus their potential recovery.  I then advise those parent’s whose child support levels do not suggest hiring an attorney to be persistent with the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division. Though CSED may be slow to get started on a case because of the huge caseload carried by the attorneys and caseworkers, once they lock on to a case, they are extremely aggressive, and very effective.

If you are in this position, stay on your Child Support Enforcement caseworker.  Make sure your case does not get lost in the massive pile of cases at CSED.  Once your file makes its way to a CSED attorney, you are in very good hands.

Collins Attorneys

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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