Albuquerque Family Lawyers
Family law has a variety of different legal services that you need to consider when you're seeking a divorce. These may include child support, child custody, divorce any many more.
Our Albuquerque family lawyers have created a guide to provide you with some legal information about family law to give you a better insight on what to expect.
A divorce will be the first step you will need to take before approaching the other aspects of family law. A divorce is a legal action enacted between two people to legally dissolve a marriage. It has a long list of variable traits that can make any divorce complex and confusing. Our Albuquerque family lawyers are experienced and will explain, support and resolve and family legal issues you may have.
It is required that you have lived in New Mexico for the past six months before you're able to file a divorce here. Before you file for a divorce you may need to consider the grounds for divorce, which includes:
- Cruel and inhumane treatment
Our divorce attorneys will work closely with you to build a case that suits your needs and build the foundation for your desired results.
Past Criminal Behavior and Other Factors
Albuquerque family court will look over the past histories of both parties thoroughly before coming to any decisions regarding the case. This also includes past crimes and the culpability of either party. When married, both debts and any crimes committed are generally considered to be the responsibility of both parties. In order to avoid suffering partial repercussions of your spouse’s crimes and debts, a case will need to be prepared.
Marital misconduct can factor into a court’s decisions as well. You will need to bring up the other party’s’ role in undermining the marriage in detail for the record. That may include cases of adultery, addiction, or poor financial decisions that put a strain on you, the marriage, or your family as a whole. If there were any incidents of domestic violence, that will become an important element of your case.
Any history of domestic violence can and will be brought up and heavily factor into the court’s decision. This is particularly important if the case of domestic violence pertains to children and any finances, as well. A divorce case immediately becomes more complicated when this kind of history is brought up, and this cannot be mitigated easily without legal help.
Click here to learn more about divorce law.
When a marriage is dissolved, the aim of the court is to provide the children with the best possible outcome. This means that the court will take a close look at both parties and decide how suitable either parent is to raise the child. The court will examine income, living arrangements, and any history of past incidents of the law or abuse. The court will determine the time the child spends with either parent or if full custody will be granted.
If joint custody is awarded, the result is a scenario where both parents are allowed to arrange a mutually acceptable schedule. This also means that decisions regarding the child’s upbringing must be discussed between the two parents. Otherwise, sole custody may be granted where one parent is given the ability to make decisions regarding the child with no input required from the other.
Click here to learn more about Child Custody.
Child support is a legally-binding financial arrangement where the court determines that one parent will provide funds to the other for the child’s expenses. The finances of both parties are weighed before the court calculates how to ensure the best outcome for the child. For example, in a full-custody case the non-custodial parent will have to pay the custodial parent.
In a joint-custody case, finances are split more evenly between the two parents, but one parent may find that they’re still ordered to make payments to the other.
Click here to learn more about Child Support.
Guardian Ad Litem
In any case that involved determining how a child or children will be handled through a divorce, separation, or any issue that takes their welfare into consideration through a court process, it is likely that a court-appointed person called a Guardian Ad Litem will be involved.
This person will take all aspects of the living situation into account to determine where the child will be best supported as a full-time home, whether they are being properly cared for by the custodial parent, whether or not there is any drug use or abuse that is affecting the child’s safety, and ultimately determine the level of contact the child should have with their parent.
How Will I Work With a Guardian Ad Litem?
If a Guardian Ad Litem has been assigned to your case, you may answer questions for them about your relationship with your child, or they may simply observe your interactions with your child or children at a predetermined time.
They may ask your children questions, speak with family members, and research your history of criminal incidents, drug abuse, and anything else that will factor into determining the safety of the child.
What Factors Are the Guardian Ad Litem Looking For?
The most important thing that the Guardian Ad Litem is involved for is to determine that the “best interests of the child” are being met. This includes factors such as parental responsibility for their school attendance, medical attention, and overall wellbeing at home.
In addition, they will take the parent’s drug use or abuse into account, possible alcoholism, addiction, or abusive tendencies. Overall, anything that will indicate that the child will be in a healthy and stable situation with the parent is what the GAL is looking for.
Can I Dispute the Guardian Ad Litem’s Findings?
If you work with a Guardian Ad Litem and disagree with the findings they arrive at following their investigation, you can work with an attorney to dispute their findings and explain things from your own position.
In this case, you will certainly want the help of an attorney to ensure that you are addressing all legal issues that you disagree with fully and completely, in order to get the outcome you feel is most appropriate.
Kinship guardianship, also known as kinship care, is a form of child protection and can be a great option for family members — or in some cases, close friends — to take custody of a minor.
There are many different requirements that must be met, and proven in New Mexico family court, in order to have your request approved by a judge. The court system (rightfully) puts an extensive burden of proof on the family member requesting custody, in order that they are positive the child is better off moving.
What Is Kinship Guardianship?
In some cases, members of a family may think that a child or children are not getting the proper care they need from their custodial parent(s). In these cases, family members such as grandparents, godparents, or even close family friends, may petition a court for kinship guardianship. If approved, the family member or close friend will take guardianship of the child.
How Can I Be Approved For Kinship Guardianship?
There are a series of things that need to be considered and addressed through this process:
1. Parents Have a Right To Raise Their Children
First and foremost, the New Mexico courts know and support the legal argument that a parent (or parents) have a right to raise their own children. With this as the foundational point of the entire process, you must be able to prove that the parents are unable to exercise this right while giving the child the care they deserve.
2. Children Have a Right To Safety and Support
While parents have the rights to raise their children, this right comes with the understanding that they must provide adequate support and safety to the child in their custody. This is the right that you will be focusing on when making your argument for taking custody.
3. It Must Be Proveable That The Circumstances Justify Kinship Guardianship
In order to prove that the child needs to be placed in a different home, you must be able to achieve the following:
- The custodial parents consent to the change in custody; or
- The parents have lost their rights to custody
- The child (but not parents) have lived with the person requesting guardianship for at least 3 months
- The custodial parents are unable to provide the support necessary for the child
- The person requesting guardianship is fit to take on the responsibilities of raising the child
Should I Apply For Kinship Guardianship?
This is a question that can only be answered with specific knowledge of your situation. If you believe that a child in your family is being mistreated, or is otherwise not receiving the necessary care from their parent(s), contact us today to discuss your options. The decision to seek kinship care is a very important, and oftentimes stressful decision to make but is extremely important when the safety of a child is at stake.
There are a few different reasons that a family member hires a paternity lawyer. For some people, they need to establish paternity with the father to build a case for child support payments and other assistance. Sometimes, fathers themselves need to establish paternity so that they can build a legal case to begin to visit and spend time with their child.
Most of us know people who are divorced or who have already dealt with parenting and paternity issues. Asking trusted friends and family members about what they wish they had known at the beginning of their case can help you begin to build a list of what to look for in a lawyer. After doing some research, you will want to meet personally with an attorney to see if it’s a good fit and if they can provide you with what you need.
Building Your Case
Even before approaching a paternity lawyer in Albuquerque, you may want to begin gathering information related to your paternity case. Many kinds of evidence can factor into a court case so you will want to prepare your lawyer with as much material as possible.
Past support (or lack of support) and interaction with the children in question can influence the way the court views your or the child’s other parent. Many paternity cases also involve DNA tests, a scientific way to establish paternity that can often lead to settling other matters.
Discussing your case with your lawyer will help you determine whether or not a DNA test is necessary for your family.
Using an Attorney as Your Paternity Negotiator
One of the reasons someone hires a lawyer is for the attorney’s exquisite negotiation skills. You and your spouse (or the other parent of the child) may have an extensive, emotional history. You may feel that you are at an impasse. This is where a paternity attorney comes in: they can represent you and negotiate with the other party’s lawyer to accomplish a solution that works for both of you.
You may be interested in a prenuptial agreement if you are engaged and have an interest in fairly and legally protecting your wealth. The prenuptial agreement helps protect the rights of both spouses: it’s a legal document that establishes clear lines for both of you.
A good prenuptial agreement attorney can help identify and explain all the benefits that come with this kind of document. The document not only ensures the safety of existing assets, but it anticipates the possible division of future assets accrued in the course of the marriage. Some of the key points commonly listed in prenuptial agreements include the following:
- The debt obligations to which each spouse will be held
- The rights to the property for each spouse
- Retirement benefits, pensions, and life insurance proceeds
- How the division of property will take place should a spouse become deceased or in the event of a divorce
Click here to learn more about prenuptial agreements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Family Law?
Family law refers to any legal proceedings that are matters of a family. Most common, family courts handle issues of divorce and all of the factors that come along with it, including alimony, custody, child support, and asset division.
Family law courts and family law attorneys work to arrive at decisions and agreements that are positive or fair for families, as opposed to simply arriving at a legal decision that does not take children, spouses, or other family members into consideration.
Do I Need a Family Law Attorney?
If you are dealing with any sort of family issues that will require legal decisions and agreements, it is likely in your best interest to hire a family law attorney. Legal Solutions of New Mexico offers an initial consultation specifically to answer this question.
In your initial consultation you will be able to speak with a family law attorney from Albuquerque to discuss the specifics of your situation, and understand the approach they suggest based on their experience with family law.
Can I Collect Child Support?
If you will have majority custody of your children, it is likely that you will qualify for child support from your spouse. Child support payments ensure that the children do not lose financial support because of the divorce. Child support includes things like school tuition, sports and activities, medical payments, and more.
During the process of meeting with your family law attorney, you will go through all available information and financial documents to determine a fair and reasonable amount of child support that you are entitled to, or determine an amount that is reasonable for you to pay.