What is child support based on in New Mexico, and how can child support money be used? I get this question all the time.
Here’s the scoop: child support is not optional. It must be paid. It’s a formula. You put the numbers in the computer and out comes the amount of child support that’s going to be paid.
What kind of numbers go into the computer? First of all, your gross income. This is the amount of money you make not after you take out taxes and insurance payments, but actually your gross income. If you’re not working, the court’s going to pretend that you’re working a full time job at minimum wage. That’s called imputing your income.
After the court looks at what your gross income is, they’re going to look at what insurance payments are paid for your children, what school payments are paid for your children, what activities or daycare expenses are paid for your children. The court’s then going to put those numbers into a program, and based on the number of children you have, the person who is the non-custodial parent, the one who spends the least amount of time with the children, is going to be ordered to pay that amount of child support.
What is a person supposed to use this money for? Only expenses for the child: things like rent, clothing, groceries, extracurricular activities. You can never ever use the money on things for yourself. Don’t ever use it to buy things like cigarettes or alcohol, or god forbid, to ever go gambling.
It’s always a good idea, also, to keep receipts, both if you’re paying child support and if you’re getting child support. You keep a receipt of the money that you’ve paid, and if you’re receiving the child support, you keep receipts on what you’ve spent the money on. That’s so that in case any questions arise at a later time, you’ll be able to actually prove that have either paid the child support or used that money for the correct purposes.