Child Custody/Paternity

Child custody concerns the way you and the other parent will make major decisions about the lives of your children and where they will live. Custody is often the most contested element of any divorce proceeding.

Many times, when a child is born, the parents are not married. In those types of cases, the parent who does not have primary custody still has a duty to support the child. If the couple does not marry, only a court order determines which parent has what rights to the care, custody, control and support of the child. In this situation, a child custody order is the only way your time with your child can be protected and enforced.

“Legal custody” of the child refers to which parent has the right to make major decisions in the lives of their children. Idaho courts presume that parents will share joint legal custody of their children which means they share the same amount of responsibility in deciding education, healthcare and other issues. Legal custody is decided on a case by case basis and in some cases, the court may award one parent sole legal custody of the children.

“Physical custody” of the child refers to the amount of time children spend with each parent. The standard by which the court will determine child custody is what is in “the best interests of the child.” In order to minimize the trauma of divorce and an unhealthy custody arrangement, the parties should always remain focused on this standard and take into account the age of their child, their emotional well-being and the present and former relationships with each parent.

Only certain people can bring a custody suit and there are timelines with important considerations in each case. A consultation with a family law attorney is necessary to determine the right approach.