Custody in New Mexico

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Learn More About the Custody Process

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU! One of the most common client complaints we get is that they don't understand the New Mexico courts and legal process and how to navigate the system. Mistakes are costly, and will prevent you from getting the types of results you want. The decisions you make today will affect you in the years to come, so you need to have an expert on your side. Let us help advise you, guide you through the bureaucracy, and manage all of the deadlines and paperwork.

When you schedule your No-Cost, No-Obligation Consultation with Excelsior Law of NM, here is what you can expect:


  1. A Thorough Examination Of Your Case.
  2. Help Identifying Your Goals And Setting Reasonable Expectations.
  3. Gaining An Understanding Of The Process, An Estimate Of Time And Costs, And A Plan of Action.


Our Clients Leave Their Consultation Feeling A Sense Of Relief, Knowing That Their Case Is In Experienced And Capable Hands. Take The First Step Towards Finding A Solution For Your Divorce.


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It’s important to note that New Mexico law allows for joint custody in most cases. This means that both parents share legal custody and decision-making authority for the child, even if physical custody is awarded to one parent. Child custody is typically resolved through the legal process outlined below:

  • One of the parents files a petition with the court requesting custody. The other parent will then have the opportunity to respond to the petition.
  • If both parents are amicable, they may work together to create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share custody and visitation and avoid court. Sometimes the parents hire a mediator to help with this process.
  • If the parents are unable to come to an agreement due to personality conflicts or disagreements with time-sharing, a court hearing will be scheduled. The court will consider various factors in determining custody, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s physical and emotional needs, the ability of each parent to provide for the child, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.
  • The court may consider the child’s wishes if they are of sufficient age and maturity to express their preferences.
  • After considering all of the evidence, the court will issue a custody order that outlines the terms of the custody arrangement. The custody order will typically include details such as which parent will have physical custody of the child, the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent, and how major decisions about the child’s welfare will be made.

The court will make a determination based on “the best interests of the child”. This legal standard is based on the idea that the primary concern in any legal decision regarding children should be what is best for the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs. In general, the court’s goal is to ensure that the child’s needs are prioritized and that they are placed in a situation most conducive to their health, happiness, and development. 

How Custody Will Affect Your Family:

  • It gives legal protection to the child and both parents. It creates a legally binding agreement that outlines the responsibilities and rights of both parents, ensuring that both parties adhere to the agreement.
  • New Mexico courts determine child custody based on the best interests of the child, and establishing custody helps ensure that the child’s needs are met and that they are placed in a safe and stable environment. It creates a routine and reduces the stress and anxiety that often comes with uncertainty.
  • The parenting plan outlines the responsibilities of each parent, including decision-making authority, visitation schedules, and financial obligations. This helps to prevent future conflicts and promotes cooperation between parents.
  • If one parent does not adhere to the custody agreement, the other parent can take legal action to enforce it. This ensures that both parents follow the agreement and that the child’s well-being is protected.
  • Among other factors, the amount of time each parent spends with the children is taken into consideration in the calculation of child support.

Check out these videos to learn more about the Custody Process:

Custody: The Best Interests of the Child

Custody: The Child's Preference

Custody: Relocating Out of State

Custody: Creating a Parenting Plan

Custody: Expense Reimbursement

Custody: 3rd Part Custody Evaluators