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Idaho Child Custody Laws

When the parents of minor children break up, parents must share the responsibility to provide care and financial support of the children. The two main parts of this are child custody and child support. Child custody determines where the child lives primarily, who makes major decisions (about education, health, etc.), and what visitation the non-custodial parent and maybe even grandparents will have.

The second issue is child support or the responsibility to financially provide for a child. It’s important to understand that, while they are related, these are separate issues and you can’t stop letting a child visit the other parent just because the parent is late on child support.

Best Interests of the Child

Most states use the standard of the “best interests of the child” to determine child custody. Idaho also uses this standard. In Idaho, the factors considered by the judge include:

  • The wishes of the parents and child as to custody
  • The interaction of the child with his parents and siblings or grandparent if living with him or her in a stable relationship
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  • The character and circumstances of everyone involved, including disability and adaptive technologies to allow a disabled parent to care for a child
  • The need to promote stability in the child’s life
  • Any domestic violence involved, whether committed in the presence of the child or not

To protect members of the Idaho National Guard, if called into active duty, that change isn’t a substantial and permanent circumstance that permits reducing the guard member’s previously awarded child custody and visitation privileges. For more information, see the Military Child Custody article.

Child Custody Laws in Idaho

The following table details the main child custody laws in Idaho.

Code Sections Idaho Code Title 32: Domestic Relations, Chapter 7: Divorce Actions and 32-1005: Custody of Children After Separation of Parents
Uniform Child Custody Act Idaho adopted the first version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act in 1977 and then enacted the updated Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act or the UCCJEA in 2000.
Joint Custody Yes, parents can share joint physical custody or where the child resides with both parents at different times. In addition, parents can share joint legal custody or decision-making rights as to the child’s health, education, and general welfare.

Note, if one of the parents has been a habitual perpetrator of domestic violence, then joint custody is presumed to not be in the best interest of the child.
Grandparent Visitation Rights Yes, grandparents and great-grandparents can be granted reasonable visitation rights if it’s shown to be in the best interest of the child.

Grandparents may also have rights as a “de facto custodian” if they took care of a child both financially and physically without a parent present for at least six months if they child is under three or one year if the child is over three.
Child’s Own Wishes Yes, a child’s wishes about who takes care of him or her are considered.

If you need to establish or are looking to modify a parenting plan, then you should talk to an experienced Idaho child custody lawyer about what to do next.

Note: State laws change frequently, so it’s important to verify these child custody laws by contacting an attorney or conducting your own legal research.

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