Determining the Best Interests of the Child - New Mexico

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-1-3

The Children's Code shall be interpreted and construed to effectuate the following legislative purposes:

  • First, to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of children coming within the provisions of this code, and then to preserve the unity of the family, whenever possible
  • To provide judicial and other procedures through which the provisions of the Children's Code are executed and enforced and in which the parties are assured a fair hearing, and their constitutional and other legal rights are recognized and enforced
  • To provide a continuum of services for children and their families from prevention to treatment, considering, whenever possible, prevention, diversion, and early intervention, particularly in the schools
  • To provide children with services that are sensitive to their cultural needs
  • To provide for the cooperation and coordination of the civil and criminal systems for investigation, intervention, and disposition of cases, to minimize interagency conflicts and to enhance the coordinated response of all agencies to achieve the best interests of the child victim
  • To provide continuity for children and families appearing before the family court by assuring that, whenever possible, a single judge hears all successive cases or proceedings involving a child or family

The child's health and safety shall be the paramount concerns. Permanent separation of the child from the child's family, however, would especially be considered when the child or another child of the parent has suffered permanent or severe injury or repeated abuse. It is the intent of the legislature that, to the maximum extent possible, children in New Mexico shall be reared as members of a family unit.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-28(A) 

In proceedings to terminate parental rights, the court shall give primary consideration to the physical, mental, and emotional welfare and needs of the child, including the likelihood of the child being adopted if parental rights are terminated.

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