Child Support Enforcement Division
Please consider the following a gross simplification of the role of the Child Support Enforcement Division in New Mexico. Additionally, some of this information is older, and it may not be accurate. Particular items, like how CSED works internally and controls the docket, may simply be rumors that I have heard.
The Child Support Enforcement Division(CSED) has frustrated a lot of people in New Mexico. The Federal Government has mandated that each state have a Title IV-D (called "4D") agency. The Federal Government wants to ensure that it is the children's parents who are supporting the children, rather than everyone else through their tax dollars. CSED helps ensure that appropriate parties are paying support.
Individuals receiving funds through the state Human Services Department, such as TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families), are required to assign their right to child support to the state. The state then collects the child support that comes due, provides the TANF benefits, and passes through a small amount of the child support (usually $50). If child support has not yet been established, then CSED works to have it put in place.
CSED will also help an individual to get child support established even if they are not receiving any benefits, but there is at times a waiting list and it can be a while before you receive assistance. CSED will sometimes be allowed some portion of their attorney's fees from the opposing party in these cases.
CSED uses some of its Federal grant money to have Child Support Hearing Officers put in place in the larger communities. These officers are State employees and report through the judiciary branch of government, but there salaries come from CSED. At times you will see a push to have all child support recipients apply for aid through CSED. I believe, but am not sure, that this is because CSED will receive more funds if the money is actually processed through them. Here in Albuquerque, I have heard that the each of the four Domestic Relations Judges is allowed to transfer 20 support cases a month to the Child Support Hearing Officers. If the Hearing Officers are not too busy, they will occasionally have other issues presented to them. CSED likes the Hearing Officers because it allows the cases to be heard sooner, but CSED can control the Docket. Control of the Docket means that CSED actually determines when a matter will be heard and sends out the notices of hearing. To their credit, I have never heard that CSED has abused this authority by refusing to hear a matter.