The phrase “best interest of the child” is used throughout New Mexico laws, particularly in those relating to child custody, child abuse and neglect, parentage, and even grandparent visitation. Most people encounter the term in relation to child custody, where it has a very specific, well-defined meaning.
Dissolution of a marriage is normally a contentious matter that frequently involves parties who are at serious odds with one another. Unfortunately, when children are involved, their interests are sometimes lost in the acrimony. Fortunately, however, the courts bring children’s interest to the forefront. The main thing that affects children in a dissolution is where they will live after the matter is final. Each parent may be awarded what is known as joint custody, or one of the parents may be awarded custody and the other given visitation rights.