SANTA FE ― Monday, Gov. Susana Martinez announced a crackdown on parents failing to pay child support. The annual child support bench warrant operation will run through October 15. Martinez launched the Bench Warrant Project in 2011 to ensure that deadbeat parents fulfill their obligation to pay child support.
“It’s the responsibility of parents to set their kids up for success, that’s why we have to make it clear that there is absolutely no excuse for a parent refusing to pay child support,” Governor Martinez said. “If you owe child support it’s time for you to step up and pay. Failure to pay child support will not be tolerated.”
From now until October 15, non-custodial parents (NCPs) with an outstanding bench warrant due to unpaid child support obligations may visit one of the 14 child support offices across the state and pay the full amount of the bond. When they pay the bond, the warrant gets quashed or canceled without fear of arrest. However, those who fail to pay the bond risk arrest by New Mexico State Police or local law enforcement at any point.
During the roundup, police will actively seek out parents who have not paid their bench warrant.
“Our goal is to ensure the children of New Mexico receive the financial support of their parents to help build a better future for their family,” Human Services Department Secretary Brent Earnest said. “Children and their parents with custody need the support they are owed, and this project helps deliver that support for New Mexico’s children.”
There are 782 active bench warrants owing, in total, a bond amount of over $2 million. During Fiscal Year 2018, New Mexico collected approximately $140 million in child support, providing services for more than 109,000 children in more than 72,000 cases. The list of the outstanding bench warrants can be found here.
The Child Support Enforcement offices will accept payments in the form of cash, check or money order. After full payment of the bond, an order cancelling the bench warrant will be filed with the District Court. If an individual is unable to pay the full amount of the bond set by the court, a negotiated, reduced bond payment or payment plan may be worked out in certain circumstances. The payment plan must have final approval of the court.
Martinez proclaimed August as Child Support Awareness Month to recognize parents who support their children and encourage all parents to assume responsibility for improving their child’s well-being. Those with questions may contact CSED toll free at: (800).288.7207 in-state or (800).585.7631 out-of-state. A list of the CSED offices across the state can be found on the HSD website here.