Can You Not Pay Child Support?

By Bob Matteucci

In most situations, one parent pays child support to the other. There are some situations, however, when neither parent pays child support. A New Mexico family law attorney can evaluate your specific custody situation and calculate the amount child support would be. 

Custodial Arrangements That Impact the Payment of Child Support

The parent who is awarded primary physical custody of the children will receive financial support from the other parent in almost all cases. New Mexico child support laws take into account factors like how many overnights the children are with each parent. If one parent is raising the children 80 percent of the time, buying their clothes, food, and day-to-day expenses, the State of New Mexico believes that parents should receive a sufficient amount of child support to cover most of the children’s expenses. 

On the other hand, when parents have similar income and share approximately equal time with the children, as in a week-on/week-off parenting time schedule, as per the New Mexico State Child Support Guidelines Calculator, neither parent pays child support or, the child support payment will be small. 

Income Factors That Can Affect the Obligation to Pay Child Support

As a general rule, the parent that spends less than 50 percent of the time with the children or makes more money than the custodial parent will pay child support. The best interests of the child and the overall requirement of fairness justify this result.

In rare cases, the custodial parent will pay child support to the non-custodial parent. If the custodial parent earns a significantly higher income than the non-custodial parent and the non-custodial parent spends almost 50% of the time with the children, the custodial parent may pay some child support to benefit the children during the non-custodial parent’s time with the children.

A Negotiated Settlement That Does Not Involve Child Support

In almost all cases, the child support amount adopted by the Court is calculated using the New Mexico Child Support Guidelines calculator. The calculator takes into account each party’s income (or potential earning capacity), the amount of time each party spends with the children, healthcare insurance premiums, daycare costs and extraordinary expenses (private schools and special needs expenses are examples). It is important to remember that child support is paid regardless of if the parents were married or not.

In the case of a divorce, parties may decide to increase spousal support which in some cases will reduce the child support paid. However, in many cases, if the marriage is short-term, neither party will pay the other spousal support. A New Mexico family law attorney can talk with you about your child support options in your divorce. Contact Bob Matteucci today.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.