Uncontested Change of Child Custody and Support in NM
September 26, 2014 8:30 AM   Subscribe

How do I go about getting an uncontested change of child custody and support in the state of New Mexico?

YANML - I realize that. Part of my question is: should I get a lawyer or someone who can handle the paperwork for both parties?

My wife and I have met with her ex-husband and his wife and have agreed to change the child custody. I'm preparing a memo of understanding today that will outline what all parties have agreed to. All parties would like to make it official to the court.

I don't want to get into much backstory because there really isn't a need for one. There is particular child custody situation and all parties with legal authority to make it change have agreed to a solution. Further, all parties do not want to get lawyers involved.

I can find resources on going about an uncontested divorce. Is it the same process? These two are already divorced and remarried. Their is already the current child custody arrangement on the books and I'm wanting find the right paperwork to change it.

Thanks for your time!
posted by nickerbocker to Law & Government (5 answers total)
You can do this yourselves, by and large. But, yes, you should absolutely consult a lawyer. It is important to get these things right.

Assuming that there no contest and everyone is on-board, it won't cost a great deal to have a consultation with an attorney to make sure things are squared away and everybody's expectations are met.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2014

This is not legal advice, especially not NM legal advice.

Up to now the arrangements have been governed by the court's order issued pursuant to the divorce. The court made a determination of how the custody and support should be arranged. If you change the arrangements now, the four of you are no longer acting in accordance with what the court ordered after due consideration.

Therefore, you should use an attorney (you already know two good ones) to submit your new agreement, and get the court order modified properly.

What is the downside to keeping it to yourselves? If somehow there is a future disagreement among the four of you, the court may choose not to enforce the new agreement, where it is inconsistent with the existing court order and you have not received the court's permission to make the custody and support changes.
posted by JimN2TAW at 11:19 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

The reason to each have your lawyers look over the agreement is that it will (a) protect everyone from an agreement that doesn't say what you think it says, and intend for it to say, and (b) persuade the court that no one is being coerced or fooled. The judge could otherwise worry that one party is unfairly influencing the other one. If it has been reviewed by an attorney on each side, the judge is far more likely to rubber-stamp the change.

The attorneys should not charge much to simply review an already-drafted non-contested agreement. And in the long run, this could save you thousands of dollars, if the agreement suffers for some reason in the future and lawyers are needed to straighten it out.

I am a lawyer (not yours, and not a family law lawyer, and not in NM, so this is not legal advice) but I say this because 95% of my job is fixing the work other lawyers or unrepresented clients botched, and I make a good living off it. Most of these jobs would have cost 2-10% of what I'm charging to get right in the first place.
posted by Capri at 11:19 AM on September 26, 2014

You might run the question by staff at the self-help center at the Bernalillo County Courthouse on Lomas.

Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution, general information, and somewhat more specific information about what kind of matters they can assist you with and how to access their services.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 1:07 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I honestly think that if everything is straight-forward, you should be able to file your own paperwork with family court.

Check out any free resources (as recommended above) and go down to the court and speak with someone there, find out when it's the least busy so someone can give you attention.

If this is amicable, it shouldn't be a big magillah.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:54 PM on September 26, 2014

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