While our Farmington Child Support Lawyers receive many questions about financial obligations of support toward a spouse and/or children, many obligated parties express confusion about when their obligation to pay child support and spousal maintenance will terminate. The basis for termination of each type of support is impacted by different factors. Because the rules that dictate the end of one’s obligation to pay each type of support are very different, it can be confusing for those obligated to make these payments. We have provided an overview of key facts that parties paying alimony and child support typically want to know about terminating these obligations.
The duration of the alimony payments may be determined by a prenuptial agreement, but this is not true for child support.
Prenuptial agreements may address a wide range of financial issues, including but not limited to the characterization of specific assets, division of property, and assigning of debts incurred during marriage. However, waivers of alimony and/or the establishment of the amount or duration of spousal support payments is one of the most common issues determined in a prenuptial agreement. While a fixed termination date for spousal support payments may be included in a prenuptial agreement, parents have no ability to waive or limit child support through use of such an agreement. The legal right to receive child support belongs to the child, so parents do not have the authority to impair a child’s right to receive financial support from both parents.
Child support does not necessarily terminate when a child turns the age of 18.
New Mexico child support terminates at 18 or at 19 if the child is 18 but has not yet graduated high school. However, the parties can negotiate an agreement for financial support of a child to continue beyond this point, such as agreements to contribute to college tuition. A New Mexico family law judge typically will enforce such an agreement.
Without an agreement, the duration of spousal support is more difficult to determine without legal advice.
Alimony comes in several different forms in New Mexico so it can be difficult to predict when your spousal support obligation terminates until you know what type of alimony will be awarded. Some forms of alimony are intended to be fairly short term, such as rehabilitative alimony or transitional alimony while others have more remote termination dates like long term alimony which may be indefinite in duration. Long term alimony generally is limited to a marriage of long duration (i.e. 20 years or more). If you have questions about the potential amount or duration of alimony, you should seek legal advice because there are many factors that may impact this determination.
The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.
If you have questions about family support obligations, our experienced New Mexico family support attorneys may be able to help. Jay Goodman & Associates offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 989-8117 to learn about your rights and options.