There are many issues and decisions that couples face when they get divorced. However, few of them cause as much stress, arguing, and tension as issues of child custody and visitation. In this series we’ll take a deep dive into child custody and child visitation issues in New Mexico. We’ll discuss jurisdiction, paternity, custody, visitation, how these agreements are made and modified, and more.

Establishing jurisdiction in a child custody case

From a legal perspective, the first step in any child custody or visitation case is establishing which court has jurisdiction over the case. These types of cases are handled by family courts, which are state courts, so it’s important that the right state court is responsible for the case.

Father and son at the lakeshore. Child support in new mexico

The New Mexico court system has jurisdiction if one of these conditions are met:

  • The child or children is younger than six months old and was born in New Mexico
  • The child is older than six months but has continuously resided in New Mexico for the last six months or longer.

Establishing Paternity

When a child is born to a married couple, New Mexico law presumes that the husband is the father of the child. Likewise, if a woman gives birth within 300 days of getting divorced or becoming a widow, the law presumes that her ex or deceased husband is the father of the child. When a child is born to an unmarried woman, or a married man or woman has a child outside of their marriage, then paternity must be established.

Acknowledgment of paternity

When a child is born under one of the conditions described above, the simplest way to have the biological father legally recognized and to have his name added to the child’s birth certificate is via an acknowledgement of paternity form.

Check back soon for Child custody and child visitation issues in New Mexico – Part 2. In the meantime, check out our page on child custody issues in New Mexico.