Gov. Susana Martinez
SANTA FE — For the fourth year in a row, Gov. Susana Martinez has announced a crackdown on parents who aren’t paying child support.
The child support bench warrant operation starts this week and continues through the end of the month.
“You have to contribute to the upbringing of your children – there are no excuses,” Martinez said. “We are committed to standing up for New Mexico’s children and ensuring that parents are upholding their responsibilities. If you owe child support, now is the time to fulfill your obligation. Otherwise, law enforcement will hold you accountable.”
Through Aug. 31, parents with an outstanding bench warrant due to unpaid child support obligations may visit one of the 14 child support offices across the state, pay the full amount of the bond, and get the warrant quashed or canceled without fear of arrest. However, at any point during the amnesty, they risk being arrested if they are stopped by New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and local law enforcement partners.
NMSP and local law enforcement agencies also will conduct a round up portion of the bench warrant program, where they will actively seek out parents that have not taken care of their bench warrant.
If an individual is unable to pay the full amount of the bond set by the court, a reduced bond payment or payment plan toward the amount of past due child support may be negotiated, with the consent of the parent to whom the support obligation is owed and the approval of the court that issued the warrant. Non-custodial parents with a written job offer may also request to negotiate a lower bond payment with wage withholding payments.
The child support program works to ensure that non-custodial parents are fulfilling their obligations to their children and custodial parents. During Fiscal Year 2015, the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) set yet another record in child support collections with a total of $140.1 million. Each of the past four fiscal years, New Mexico has broken state records for child support collections, with CSED collecting $137.1 million in FY 2014, $132.2 million in FY 2013 and $129.6 million in FY 2012. Thanks to innovative programs like bench warrant amnesty, New Mexico was recognized by the national Child Support Enforcement Association in 2012 as the nation’s most improved.
A list of all parents having outstanding bench warrants issued throughout the state is posted on the HSD website here, and will be kept up-to-date throughout the program. There are more than 700 bench warrants issued by New Mexico courts related to child support cases.
Those with questions about any of the Child Support Awareness Month activities may contact CSED toll free at 800.288.7207 in state or 800.585.7631 out of state.
Governor Martinez proclaimed August 2015 Child Support Awareness Month to recognize all New Mexico parents who support their children, and encourage all parents to assume responsibility for improving the economic and social well-being of their children. The Governor’s proclamation declaring Child Support Awareness Month is available online here.