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Child Custody

New Mexico Custody Attorneys / Child Custody Lawyers

Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in Albuquerque

New Mexico child custody disputes are one of the most difficult aspects in New Mexico family law. When children are involved, there are certain rules that parents must follow regarding the child’s best interests. The child custody attorneys at The Family Law Firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico will expertly guide you through all of the complicated aspects of your child custody dispute. Our skilled attorneys help you to prepare your best child custody case for court or settlement.

It is heartbreaking to lose custody of a child. However, this can be avoided by knowing your rights and understanding the child custody process in NM. The lawyers at The Family Law Firm will guide you through the process and prepare you for a custody evaluation while looking out for the best interests of you and your children.

New Mexico Custody Attorneys Child Custody Lawyers
Child Custody Lawyers Albuquerque

The Family Law Firm goes the extra mile. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you achieve your child custody goals. You and your child are not ignored while you undergo this stressful process. You will be properly instructed about the do’s and don’ts throughout the child custody process. You and your children are in good hands with the Family Law Firm.

The child custody attorneys at The Family Law Firm use Nationally and State renowned private custody evaluators that fully investigate the claims and circumstances to protect your child. As discussed below, these expert custody evaluators recommend custody and visitation based on their investigation and ultimate findings about your child’s best interests.

Albuquerque Child Custody Lawyers Ready to Serve

Are you looking for the best child custody lawyers in Albuquerque, New Mexico? Look no further than the Family Law Firm for the best and most experienced attorneys in Albuquerque. With 72 years of combined child custody experience, your NM child custody case is in great hands.

Aggressive, yet compassionate Albuquerque child custody lawyers provide knowledgeable advice and skilled representation. The Family Law Firm in Albuquerque can assist you with your goal of a fair custody, or joint custody agreement. Resolution and visitation disputes in Albuquerque child custody cases require parents to act in their child’s best interests at a time when emotions and stress are high. The Family Law Firm’s team of custody attorneys are here to help you with any child custody issue in New Mexico.

Child Custody Cases in Albuquerque New Mexico

Over one million children see their families changed through divorce each year in America. A child’s health and emotional well-being greatly depends on their parents’ communication and interaction after the separation or divorce in New Mexico. Child custody issues often pull at heart-strings and can be the most contentious cases in family law. Understanding the basics of New Mexico custody law can help you and your child during this difficult time. Are you in Albuquerque, or anywhere in New Mexico, and going through a divorce or separation? If so, you need the expert help of our Albuquerque divorce attorneys, when dealing with child custody issues in New Mexico.

What Relationship Will You Have with Your Child?

The Family Law Firm understands that your child is the most important part of your separation or divorce. The stress can be overwhelming when your child’s welfare and upbringing becomes the court’s focus. The stakes are high with child custody cases in Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. Your goal is to stay calm and remain rational. The Family Law Firm’s group of lawyers in Albuquerque will guide you through this difficult time in your life. The usual child custody case in New Mexico may involve mediation, guardian ad litem, or Court Clinic. Child Custody cases in NM also involve the process of developing a parenting plan, calculating child support based on the New Mexico support guidelines, and serious negotiations with your ex. Will you win the relationship that you deserve with your child? The Family Law Firm is here to help you achieve your child custody goals.

New Mexico Custody Cases Based on Your Child’s Best Interests

Nothing is more important than your child’s future.  Take your child’s future into your hands by reading about New Mexico child custody law.  Lean as much as possible about Albuquerque child custody laws.  Read our free eBook entitled, Understanding Child Custody in New Mexico.  Our free eBook outlines the child custody process in New Mexico.

Child custody cases have their own language and process. Take a step today and read our free eBook. Schedule a time to talk with one of our experienced NM child custody attorneys. Knowledgeable advice and skilled representation from an experienced NM family lawyer will put you on the path towards a fair and desired custody arrangement. The Family Law Firm’s attorneys represent spouses in divorce as well as unmarried parents that are seeking custody. The Family Law Firm helps clients on a wide range of family law issues, including: Custody, time-sharing, child support, child relocation, modifying a parenting plan, and more.

Legal Custody, Physical Custody, and Parenting Plans

You need a working vocabulary to effectively communicate your desired custody. There are three essential legal terms in New Mexico:

  • Joint Legal Custody;

  • Physical Custody;

  • Parenting Plan

Joint Legal Custody in New Mexico

Joint legal custody in NM means that both parents have the right and responsibility to make non-emergency legal decisions for a child. NM presumes that joint legal custody is in a child’s best interests. The primary areas of legal custody involves education, religion, health care, and extracurricular activities. These responsibilities can be shared (i.e. joint legal custody) or can be made by only one parent (sole legal custody). Joint legal custody in New Mexico means that both parents have the right to make decisions regarding the child.

Joint Physical Custody in New Mexico

Physical custody is another way of saying “parenting time.” Physical custody involves the specific day, week, weekend, holiday, or vacation time that a child spends with a parent. Joint physical custody does not mean 50-50 time-sharing. A parent can have primary physical custody (i.e. a majority of the time), but the parties still have joint physical custody (i.e. share time with the child). A parent’s time-sharing responsibilities include making routine child care decisions, feeding, sheltering, and clothing the child.

New Mexico law presumes that joint physical custody is in a child’s best interests. In other words, NM law wants both parents to spend time with the child. However, this presumption does not mean that Albuquerque courts prefer 50-50 time-sharing.

A parent is rarely denied time-sharing with a child.  A parent’s drug, alcohol, criminal record, CYFD abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or mental health problems may pose a danger to the child.  In these situations, the parent’s time-sharing may be restricted, monitored, or supervised.  Depending on the unique facts involved, supervised visitation may take place with a relative or neutral facility like APN or Neutral Corner.

Parenting Plans in Albuquerque, New Mexico

A Parenting Plan is a contract that outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities. Not all child custody cases in NM require court involvement and litigation. Parents can agree on parenting issues and include the agreement into a Parenting Plan. Once the Parenting Plan is signed by the parties and judge, the plan becomes a binding and enforceable court order. A custody hearing is necessary for parents that are unable to reach an amicable agreement regarding the Parenting Plan. A parenting plan in New Mexico should address:

  • Legal custody:

  • Physical custody/Time-sharing;

  • Specific time-sharing and exchange locations;

  • Holiday and vacation time-sharing schedule;

  • Steps to resolve disputes and alleged violations;

  • Steps for parent communication regarding the child;

  • Annual exchange of child support information; and

  • Child support worksheet.

Not all child custody cases need to be a battle. Parents should immediately begin working toward as many agreements as possible, to reduce issues and expense. The more issues that are resolved, the less issues that need to be litigated. Less uncertainty equals more stability for the child. Child custody cases are like snowflakes – each case is unique. An effective New Mexico Parenting Plan should be uniquely created for your unique case and family.

Child Custody Cases and Mediation

Mediation and Settlement Facilitation are often used interchangeably with child custody cases in Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party attempts to guide parents towards a resolution. New Mexico courts routinely emphasize the need for alternative dispute resolution through mediation, rather than trial. New Mexico parents are encouraged to work together in an effort to resolve time-sharing issues outside of court. Amicable time-sharing agreements enable parents to take matters into their own hands, rather than a judge having the final say.

At times a custody hearing is unavoidable. Not all child custody cases can be resolved amicably. Sometimes too much damage has been done to resolve matters peacefully. Child Custody litigation can be particularly stressful because the judge ultimately decides the child’s best interests – for better or for worse. A lot is at stake by placing a child custody decision in a judge’s hands. Most custody cases are resolved out of court. In fact, most child custody case in Albuquerque should be resolved out of court. Reaching an amicable agreement regarding custody and time-sharing has a host of benefits. These benefits include the child’s ability to adapt to the post separation or divorce lifestyle without unnecessary stress. Make no mistake about it – child custody disputes are stressful for the children involved.

When Child Custody Trial or Hearing is Unavoidable

New Mexico judges must decide custody issues, when parents cannot reach an agreement. Albuquerque judges consider a number of different factors, including:

  • Each parent’s stability;

  • Bonding between parent and child;

  • Status quo time-sharing;

  • Substance abuse issues;

  • Mental health issues;

  • Domestic violence;

  • Safety concerns; and

  • Any other factor impacting the child’s best interests.

Child custody issues are guided by the child’s best interests. New Mexico judges decide the child’s best interests. NM judges have wide discretion with determining custody. The judge’s ultimate decision is very difficult to successfully appeal.

Child Custody Lawyers Albuquerque

Albuquerque Judges often rely on Court Clinic, guardian ad litem, or 11-706 child custody experts to conduct an investigation and make recommendations. The ultimate recommendations will heavily influence the judge’s decision regarding the child’s best interests.

Although the court focuses on a child’s best interests – children are almost never involved with litigation. Children generally never participate with New Mexico trials. In extreme situations, the court may conduct an “in camera interview” where the judge speaks with the child. However, the court usually limits child interaction to the assigned evaluator’s investigation.

How to Modify Custody and Time-Sharing in New Mexico

Either parent may request a modification of time-sharing, based on a substantial and material change in circumstances. In other words, something major must first happen before the court will change the current order. New Mexico parents can modify time-sharing by filing a Motion to Modify Time-sharing.

Parenting Time and Child Support in New Mexico

A parent cannot deny time-sharing based on the other parent’s failure to pay child support. Child support and time-sharing are completely unrelated.


Contact us today. 1(505)-DIVORCE or (505) 245-7200. Or email us.


Family Law Firm

Trujillo Dodd, Torres, &

O'Brien L.L.C.507 Roma NW Albuquerque, NM 87102


"Thank you to everyone at the Family Law Firm office. How wonderful all of you are. I felt like I had friends with me every step of the way! If ever I know of someone in need of your service I will sing your praises and send them your way. Thank you for everything all of you have done for me."

"I want to thank every one at the Family Law Firm for sending me a lifeline and hope when there was none. My children and I are blessed to have you in our lives and there is not one day that I don't thank God for sending me angels in the form of attorneys. Thank you again for all the sweat, effort, understanding, and love you've sent our way."

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