lawyer and client working with a modification agreement

Requesting Changes in Child Support Modifications

By Bob Matteucci

Back in the 1970s, David Bowie warned us that sometimes you have to “turn and face the strange” when it’s time to make some ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. It’s good advice to keep in mind if ch-ch-changes in employment, income, marital status, health, or your children’s needs necessitate a modification to the terms of your existing child support agreements

At Matteucci Family Law, Attorney Bob Matteucci helps New Mexico families who need to modify their existing child support order find a path forward while meeting their children’s needs. 

When Can Child Support be Changed in New Mexico? 

Under New Mexico law, a child support order may be modified by the court if you, your former partner, or your child is dealing with a material and substantial change in circumstances. Some examples of this include:

  • Loss of either parent’s income. Job loss, reduced hours, disability, and other factors can cause either parent’s income to drop. If the parent receiving child support experiences reduced income, the parent who pays child support may be ordered to pay more. On the other hand, if the paying parent starts making less money, that might be cause for a reduction in child support. It is important to note that a parent cannot voluntarily quit their job, work fewer hours, or work for less pay than they can actually earn, and use that as a basis for a child support modification. 
  • Increases in income can also affect child support. If the parent who receives support goes back to work, begins earning more money, or has the opportunity to do so, the court may reduce child support. 
  • Changes in the child’s expenses. The child’s expenses may suddenly change due to sickness, injury, disability, educational needs, or other factors. Conversely, the financial needs of the child may have decreased since the last child support order, potentially justifying a decrease in support. 
  • Changes to a child’s routine. In New Mexico, when a child becomes old enough to attend school and one of the parents is a stay-at-home parent, child support will be recalculated assuming the former stay-at-home parent could again be working full-time. 
  • Changes in the child’s living situation. New Mexico uses different formulas and worksheets to determine the initial child support amount, based on the child’s custody arrangement. A change in that arrangement can therefore affect the amount of child support it is fair to expect the paying parent to contribute towards the child’s care. 

And this is just a list of common examples. Literally anything that substantially impacts the child’s life can be a reason to adjust the level of child support paid or received. 

Do You Have to Go Back to Court to Get a Child Support Modification in New Mexico? 

It is necessary to go back to court to get a judge to approve any modifications to a child support order. But judges do not like taking up these cases because they like to think they go things right the first time around and shouldn’t have to make any changes. 

So your best shot at getting a child support modification approved is to negotiate an agreement with your former partner, then ask the courts to formally approve the new, mutually agreed upon plan.

If you know your partner is going to be hostile and oppose any changes you are going to have to have overwhelming evidence that a significant change has occurred and altering the existing child custody or child support agreement is absolutely necessary. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion 

When life necessitates some ch-ch-changes to your child support agreement, the Matteucci Family Law team is here to lend a hand.

Whether you and your child’s other parent are on the same page, or you disagree about the necessity of a change, Attorney Bob Matteucci can help you persuade the court to take up your case and do what is needed.

Please contact Bob today to learn more and to schedule a confidential consultation.

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