Times are tough all over right now. Countless parents are losing their jobs at no fault of their own. They are simply victims of a very tough economy. Unfortunately, many of these people still have child support payments that do not reflect their economic reality.
If you are reading this, you may be in this unfortunate position. So what do you do? You immediately file a a Motion to Modify Child Support in the court with jurisdiction over the matter. Time is of the essence for several reasons. First, you clearly are in the same position now as you were when child support was established. You simply may be unable to pay current court ordered support. Secondly, and more importantly from a legal perspective, the Court will only modify support from the date of filing of the Motion. In other words, the longer you wait to file, the more your will overpay in support each month. Months where you have overpaid previous to the filing of the Motion will not be adjusted.
If you are in this position, you very likely may also be unable to afford an attorney. Fortunately, child support modification is fairly straightforward. In most states, including New Mexico, child support is calculated by a statutory formula. You simply plug in the numbers and out comes a support figure. Most states have child support calculators such as New Mexico’s at www.nmcourts.com. You can do a quick calculation to see what you are facing.
The New Mexico District Courts have Pro Se forms which allows you to file on your own. You do not have to have an attorney though one is helpful. Frequently, these issues will be worked out in the halls with the Child Support Enforcement Attorney prior to the hearing. You need to provide all the financial documents called for in the Notice of Hearing at least 10 days before the hearing. The other side should do the same. If you have provided these in advance, there is a pretty good chance that you can work the matter out without a hearing. However, this is not always the case particularly if the other party is unreasonable or irrational. But if you have prepared, and provided all your documents in advance, then you should have the matter resolved at the first hearing. More importantly, if the numbers justify it, you should receive the modification you are seeking.
Best of luck. If you do decide you need to hire an attorney, feel free to contact by phone at 505.242.5958 or visit our website at Collins Family Attorneys.