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New Mexico Child Custody Laws

When a couple has a child but is no longer married or living together, a legal determination of where the child lives and how much time is spent with each parent must be made. Family courts across the country handle these child custody matters. This is separate from child support, but because the amount of child support owed varies based on time taking care of a child, some parents fight unnecessarily about money rather than what their child needs.

This article provides a brief overview of child custody laws in New Mexico.

How Is Child Custody Determined in New Mexico?

New Mexico courts decide custody based on the “best interests of the child." This is the same standard as most states. What's different in New Mexico is at 14 years old, a court considers the desires of the minor rather than determining custody based on the best interest standard.

The factors the court looks at to determine custody for a child under 14 are:

  • The parents' and child's wishes as to custody
  • The interaction and relationship between the child and both parents, any siblings, and any other person who significantly affects the child's best interest (grandparents, parents' current partners, etc.)
  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved

Child Custody Laws in New Mexico: At a Glance

The following chart further details child custody laws in New Mexico.

Code Sections

§ 40-4-8 et seq. of the New Mexico Statutes

Year Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Adopted


Joint Custody an Option?


Grandparents' Visitation Rights Recognized?


Child's Own Wishes Considered?

Yes, if the child is 14 years old or older (opinions of younger children are given the court's discretion)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Get Legal Help with Child Custody

If you and your child's other parent are separating, you might not agree on how the custody arrangement should look. There are many factors to consider in these determinations, but the court's primary concern will be the best interests of the child. One of the best ways to get a handle on the process is to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Lawyers can seek to secure visitation rights

Get tailored advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


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